An organic chemist is in charge of developing new products for a particular industry such as pharmaceutical, agriculture, research, and/or other consumer based industries. He or she may modify current products, develop new products for organic use, or test products. Organic chemists may also develop research studies and/or create laboratory manuals. These chemists must have a vast knowledge of laboratory equipment, must repair equipment, maintain equipment, and oversee laboratory staff. He or she must know how to design tests, create reports, must be well versed in all chemistry practices, must follow laboratory protocol, and must be able to work independently.
An organic chemist is required to hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, material sciences, biology, organic chemistry, or other related field. Specialized training or previous work experience with chemical modification, synthesis processes, and/or chemical characterization is highly recommended. Organic chemists are required to complete an internship and to obtain a license to practice and/or conduct research. Other recommended skills include: the ability to work unsupervised, computer skills, analytical skills, reporting skills, testing skills, and laboratory skills. This field is expanding and has a current project growth rate of 18% for the next five years.
The typical average salary of an organic chemist is about $60,000 per year. Individuals working in the pharmaceutical industry, and those who work for research and development firms have the highest earning potential.