Why a Degree in Chemistry?
Chemistry, the study of living things and how they interact with one another, is a subject with various sub-categories to explore. So, too, are the job opportunities a chemistry degree can afford. While a degree in chemistry can lead to jobs in education, biotechnology, forensics, and government policy, there are three areas, in particular, where jobs are in high-demand, including research to discover cures for, or better understanding of, diseases, synthetic drug manufacturing, and unregulated food and drug testing.
In addition to the various job opportunities available, students pursuing a chemistry degree have many academic options available to them, as well. Students may pursue an associate's degree or further their education and acquire a PhD. This variety allows those majoring in the subject to either enter the workforce quickly, within two years, or to deepen their research and further their education with an upper-level degree.
What Skills Will I Learn While Studying for the Chemistry Degree?
While studying for a degree in chemistry, students will be exposed to and be prepared for important field-related competencies, including:
- Combine, divide, and categorize chemical compounds.
- Learn how to dispose of and handle chemicals properly.
- Problem-solve using the scientific method.
- Understand the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data.
- Use instruments specific to the field of chemistry.
How are Chemistry Courses Taught?
Chemistry courses include laboratory work and traditional classroom lectures. Online programs are available, complete with virtual lab opportunities.
At the undergraduate level, there are several introductory courses students must take, including organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and physical chemistry. Chemistry courses require a large amount of time spent in the lab, regardless of whether students are seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Degree in Chemistry?
Chemistry degrees can be obtained in two to eight years, with degrees available at the associates to the doctorate level. An associate's degree in chemistry will prepare students for work as a chemical technician while a four-year bachelor's degree will provide more in-depth learning and more hands-on lab work, preparing graduates for more job opportunities in the fields of chemistry, agriculture, engineering, and health.
Students pursuing a Master's degree in chemistry will continue to deepen their understanding of the chemistry-based subject matter they learned at the bachelor level, but they will also have the opportunity to choose an industry with which they may want to focus. There are degree programs available that do not require the completion of a thesis, however, for most Master's programs in chemistry, a thesis is required. Many students pursuing a Master's in chemistry do so on their way to earning a PhD in the subject.
Pursuing a PhD in chemistry allows students to focus on one specific course of study. This can include physical chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and analytical chemistry. Students will participate in independent study, as well as coursework, lab work, and teaching. Many doctoral programs in chemistry require students take only one or two courses per semester so they may dedicate the bulk of their time to research and time in the lab.
How do Online Degrees in Chemistry Work?
An online degree in chemistry functions much like a traditional degree in chemistry. Coursework involves lectures, independent research, and lab work, and the lab work may be completed in a variety of ways. Students may conduct virtual labs, or complete and return a lab kit sent in the mail.
What if I Have Questions about the Online Chemistry Degree Format and Process?
Since an undergraduate degree in chemistry can prepare students for an advanced degree or careers in a variety of fields, it is important the school is accredited. An accredited school ensures rigorous coursework, knowledgeable and talented instructors, and increased job placement. The American Chemical Society is an excellent resource to assist students in finding an accredited school, online or otherwise.
What Will I Need to be Successful Studying Online?
Choosing to get a degree online is beneficial for those who already have a full-time job, do not live within close proximity to a four-year college, or for parents who lack day-care for their children. Courses, therefore, can be taken on a part-time basis or with more flexibility than with a traditional degree program. Online degree programs do require more self-discipline and organization in order to be successful.
Chemistry Online Degree Course Examples
Courses taught online toward an undergraduate degree in chemistry include:
- General Chemistry
- Earth Science
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemistry of Living Systems
- Chemistry for Teachers
- Physical Chemistry
- Kitchen Chemistry
What Kinds of Jobs Can I Do with a Chemistry Degree?
Those with a chemistry degree can explore a range of jobs in their field, a few of which include:
- Chemical engineer $102,160
- Toxicologist $75,766
- Chemical technician $47,280
- Analytical Chemist $76,280
- Forensic scientist $57,850
- Pharmacologist $82,240
- Food chemist $62,910
- Science writer $40,000
What are the Benefits of Having a Degree in Chemistry?
A chemistry degree offers many opportunities for students, post-graduation, both in and out of the lab. However, a degree in chemistry, whether afforded at the associate's or the doctorate level, provides students with skills to help them succeed in no matter what industry they decide to pursue. Students acquire interpersonal skills, presentation skills, writing and research skills, as well as learn skills specific to chemistry.
How Can I Get More Information on a Chemistry Degree?
More information on both an undergraduate and graduate chemistry degrees is available at the following sites: