What can I do with a chemistry major?

Chemistry is a practical field with exceptional job prospects; click on any profile name to read more. 

Chemistry Alumni (reload page for a new list of chemists)

  • Colleen Loftus

    Graduate student at Arizona State University

    The support from the staff as I was making decisions was super helpful. They gave me tips and tricks of the trade from deciding between industry and graduate school, to actually applying and preparing to start classes.

  • Cassie Freeman
    Chemistry (math/biology double minor)

    Quality Control Technician at Kalsec

    My Alma education helped me discover my love for chemistry and drove me toward my current career path within industry. The courses I took have lead me to think critically and have pushed me to do things out of my comfort zone. I also have gained leadership skills and confidence for my personal and professional success.

  • Mercedez Morgan

    Chemical Lab Technician at Vertellus

    My Alma Education has helped me so much! When I graduated and was looking for a job the experiences as Alma helped to find out what field of chemistry I wanted to be involved in, more analytical and working with instruments directly, as well as helped me get the job! Alma provides a lot of growth and when I tell people where I graduated from they are always amazed!

  • Zach Vandeveer

    3rd year medical student

    Alma is a fabulous place to go to undergrad. Many of my Doctors in medical school know of Alma and the reputation it has. Alma provided much more than a prestigious education. It also provided me with I have lifelong friends, connections, and networking opportunities that continue to amaze me. The small-town environment and the athletics during my career at Alma were some of the best memories I have made to date.

  • Trevor Quast
    Chemistry & Anthropology double major

    Senior Laboratory Technologist @ DuPont

    One of Alma College’s values is “Critical Thinking”. In R&D, critical thinking is an important skill to have because of its use in everyday life in the lab, whether it is trying to solve why a reaction is going wrong or “how can we make the process better, more efficient, etc”. My Alma education and hands-on laboratory work has helped me have the courage to give valuable input in conversations, meetings, and trials.
  • Collin Rankin

    Quality Assurance Manager for The Korex Corporation (Wixom)

    A broad understanding of chemistry and testing instruments has helped me excel my career. Communication skills as well as an ability to troubleshoot and solve complex problems has also been crucial to my professional development. Of course these were learned/refined during my undergraduate experience.

  • Charley Hengesbach

    Research chemist for MSU Bioeconomy Institute

    My Alma education, I believe, directly corresponded to me getting this internship and now this job. Since I was able to participate in research at Alma, that experience is what made me a good candidate for the internship at MSU. Also, there have been multiple people from Alma that have done internships at this MSU Holland location, and it’s very important coming from an institution that has a good track record in the workplace.
  • Kirstyn Cotton

    Attending Wayne State’s Law school

    My Alma education shaped my path to law school because my professors at Alma pushed me to study a major that would help me stand out when applying to law school.
  • Olivia Harkins
    Double major: Chemistry and Art & Design
    Clinical Laboratory Technician at Lynxdx, a covid testing facility accredited by the College of American Pathologists

    My Alma Education helped me prepare for the “real world”. As a collegiate athlete at Alma, I was able to excel in learning how to balance work, life, and leisure. As I will be pursuing graduate school to become a Pathologist Assistant, Alma helped me create a notable resume through a liberal arts education, numerous work and volunteer opportunities, and fantastic professors whom I use as references. Both peers and superiors at Alma College help you achieve your full potential!

  • 2010
    Chemistry (math minor)

    Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Olivet College

    Attending Alma College helped me prepare for my future in academia due to many opportunities to work both in research and in the classroom. I was fortunate enough to spend 6 semesters and 2 summers working with Dr. Turk on an independent research project. This was great preparation for graduate school with designing and revising experiments as well as working with the many instruments that Alma has available to students. I also was able to work as a lab assistant for general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry during my time at Alma College. This helped prepare me for when I started working in academia and designing my own courses.

Salary and Career Options

Salaries depend on degree earned and level of experience. Chemists with a BS degree can expect to earn between $60,000 and $90,000; with an MS or Ph.D., this number can jump to between $90,000 and $120,000.  Entry-level chemists should expect to make less, to start. This annual employment survey, conducted by the ACS, shows unemployment is down and salaries are holding steady. ACS members also enjoy an unemployment rate that is currently half the national average. While chemists with different degrees may work on the same projects together, a higher degree (PhD vs. MS vs. BS) allows greater autonomy & responsibility.  An excellent database of job openings in the chemistry field (academic, governmental or industrial) can be found on the Chemical & Engineering News Jobseekers website, maintained by the ACS.

Career Options After Obtaining a Chemistry Degree
Medicine: Because of the underlying molecular basis of disease, chemistry and biochemistry provide excellent preparation for medicine; these majors have a high rate of acceptance to medical schools. 
Law: Many chemists who go on to law school do so because they have a particular interest in patent law, but other areas of law are certainly possible, too.
Engineering: Many students prefer to get a strong undergraduate education at a small liberal arts school, then move to larger schools to pursue a bachelor’s or higher degree in engineering.
Management / Business: A chemistry or engineering degree, followed by an MBA, provides excellent training for management-level positions in a wide array of industries. In addition, some chemists go into sales of pharmaceuticals or instruments, and many PhD chemists gravitate into management positions on the job.
Education: College-level chemistry teaching usually requires a Ph.D. in chemistry; high school-level teaching requires a bachelor’s degree with a broader array of science and education courses.
Technical Writing: Technical writers are often needed by industries and law firms, partly to deal with patents. There are also smaller numbers of positions in the news media.
Chemistry Research, Development and Industry: Far from working alone in a windowless lab somewhere, most chemists work in interdisciplinary teams with many other people. Chemists impact almost every aspect of modern life, playing a variety of roles from developing better materials for automobiles to designing new drugs to cure life-threatening diseases.
Pharmacy, Forensic Science: There seems to be an endless list of career options for chemists.  Our majors often pursue careers in pharmacy and forensic science, each requiring specialized education beyond the bachelor’s degree.  Talk to your advisor or someone in the Department of Chemistry to learn more!

Here’s just a sampling of all the career possibilities in the chemistry field.

Agricultural Chemist Food Scientist Pharmacist
Computational Chemist Geologist Physician
Consumer Goods Developer Green Chemistry Polymer Scientist
Crime Lab Analyst/Forensics Lawyer  Professor
Dentist Laboratory Technician Radiologist
Drug Discovery Materials Scientist Renewable Resource Specialist
Environmental Assessment Microbiologist Research Chemist
Environmental Engineer Perfumer/Flavorist Teacher
FDA/EPA Inspector Personal Care Product Development Toxicologist
Fire Protection Engineer Pharmaceutical Chemistry Veterinarian