An industrial chemist is an applied scientist. Some are responsible for engaging in research and others manage processes within the chemical industry. They are interested in improving the production, efficiency and safety of chemicals and materials. Industrial chemists assist chemical engineers in transforming small-scale chemical discoveries into mass-produced goods by analysing compounds and substances to find their precise chemical or physical properties. Industrial chemists may also develop or improve products, formulas, analytical methods, and processes.
Depending upon their level of education and career interests, an industrial chemist may work in a variety of different possible settings, and perform a range of work functions. These functions may include conducting research, teaching, or working in a lab for a company or other organisation.
Typically, Industrial Chemists will:
- Use quantitative and qualitative analysis to determine physical properties of a substance
- Share specialised knowledge with chemical engineers and other professionals
- Analyse samples of raw materials and finished products in order to ensure government and industry standards and regulations are met
- Record test results and provide insight and analytical feedback
- Work to develop new testing and production methods in order to improve efficiency and product quality
- May conduct lectures and instruct students
Typically, educational prerequisites for entry-level positions in industrial chemistry, such as laboratory assistant and research assistant, include having an undegraduate degree in chemistry or industrial chemistry.
Having a masters or doctoral degree in chemistry or industrial chemistry is typically the educational prerequisite for becoming an industrial chemist who works in independent research, applied research, consulting, laboratory supervisory positions and lecturing positions. Having a bachelor degree with an industrial chemistry specialisation may also qualify you for a job in independent research or applied research. To become an industrial chemist, you will need to be knowledgeable in such areas as organic and inorganic chemical processes, chemical engineering processes, environmental chemistry, industrial polymer chemistry, as well as have experience in advanced laboratory work.