What's Your Skillset?
Chemistry degrees are an excellent choice for students who are interested in a career in the environmental, pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food and beverage industries. The skills learned in chemistry programs — which include problem solving, mathematical analysis and the application of scientific methods — are highly valued by many employers in both the public and private sectors.
Areas of Study for Chemistry Degrees
In simple terms, the study of chemistry involves understanding the molecular and atomic properties of matter. There are four major areas within the science of chemistry:
- Organic chemistry examines the nature of molecules that are based on carbon.
- Inorganic chemistry explores the study of elements separate from carbon, including metals.
- Analytical chemistry is the study of a substance to identify its components.
- Physical chemistry examines the fundamentals of molecules and atoms, including bonding and attractive and repulsive forces.
Most colleges and universities offer degrees in chemistry, as do a large number of institutions that specialize in online chemistry courses. Many people who are interested in pursuing a degree in chemistry enjoy distance learning chemistry, which allows them to study while at another job or while remaining home with family members.
Specific areas of study for a chemistry degree vary by institution; in general, students pursuing chemistry as a major will take classes in the following subjects:
- Analytical chemistry
- Computer science
- Inorganic chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Physical chemistry
- Probability and statistics
Almost every chemistry course will have a laboratory component, as will many other science classes. In general, there are two to three hours of laboratory time expected for each hour of classroom instruction.
Prospects for Chemistry Graduates
Prospects for careers in chemistry are varied, and a bachelor's degree in chemistry is also excellent preparation for graduate study in the areas of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, business and other applied sciences.
Chemistry career opportunities include product development, analysis of materials, pharmaceutical research, technical sales, defining standards for drugs and foods, evaluation of patents and teaching at all educational levels. According to recent salary research, the salaries offered to graduates with degrees in chemistry are some of the highest among all recent college graduates. Many graduates of chemistry programs are employed in areas that involve laboratory research, especially those who have earned higher degrees in chemistry.