Chemistry Degree Information
Students may opt for a Bachelors of Science in General Chemistry, which will give them a broad overview of different areas of chemistry as well as touching on other areas of science and mathematics. To optimize their career opportunities, students may also move to a Master of Science or doctorate. For these degrees, the student will specialize in a specific area of chemistry such as organic chemistry or analytical chemistry. Those who are not ready for a bachelor's degree in chemistry may start by earning an associate degree in chemistry and using that as a springboard to the next level.
Students are generally expected to complete their bachelor's degree in chemistry in four years. Undergraduate chemistry students will take course in basic chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Students will usually also participate in chemistry labs where they will attempt to apply what they have learned in classes.
A bachelor's degree in chemistry can provide a strong background for many careers. Chemistry B.S.s can go on to pursue medicine, chemical engineering, teaching or pharmaceutical research. The more challenging chemistry related positions will require a higher degree, one that will need to be specifically tailored towards your intended future career path. You can get a masters degree in a variety of different areas in chemistry if a career in chemistry is your goal.
Master Of Science
Some of the Master of Science degree options in chemistry include a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry, which will give students a mastery in understanding the composition of matter, how to break down compounds and analyze them for their constituent properties, a Master of Science in Organic Chemistry, which teaches students to study compounds containing carbon and hydrogen, the primary elements of life and a Master of Science in Nuclear Chemistry, where students study radioactivity and radioactive elements.
Doctoral degrees are available in most of the sub-disciplines of chemistry. Doctorates in chemistry can lead to positions with the U.S. Government in both civilian and military positions as well as to high-level positions in major companies, particularly those who work in chemical research such as BASF, Dow Industries and DuPont.
Choosing A Degree
High school students who studied and did well in chemistry may choose to continue their studies with an associate's or bachelor's degree in chemistry. Chemistry degrees may also be appropriate for those who did well in biology, physics or other sciences and those with an aptitude for mathematics. Students who are considering a career in medicine may also benefit from a degree in chemistry.
A bachelors degree in chemistry will allow the student to qualify for some entry-level chemistry positions and to teach high school chemistry. It can also provide the framework for a higher degree which can lead to many successful careers such as teacher, medical professional, chemical engineer, chemist and/or researcher.
Careers stemming from a chemistry degree can be quite lucrative. The American Chemical Society (ACS) estimates that the average salary for bachelor's degrees in their organization is around $62,000, and that an individual with a master's degree from an accredited institution can earn around $72,300. Doctors in chemistry can earn $90,000 or more.
Getting Your Degree Online
Online chemistry degrees are available through continuing education online programs for associate degrees, bachelor degrees, master's degrees and even doctorates. When these degrees are earned from accredited distance learning institutions, they should carry the same weight as an offline degree. Televised courses and consistent online support allow students to get a complete chemistry education program from their own home on their own time.
Getting Your Degree Offline
Students who earn associate, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees from top brick-and-mortar colleges and universities will often find themselves in high demand upon graduation. Chemistry is a heavily research based discipline and students will often find themselves participating in chemistry labs. Attending a land-based university greatly facilitates the process of performing laboratory experiments in chemistry. Students who choose to take courses at a physical college or university should take the time to research a number of different programs to find the best one for their particular needs. The right professors, laboratory equipment, course curriculum and even fellow students can make all the difference in determining the future of your chemistry career.
Chemistry Degree FAQs
What Are the Educational Requirements for a Career in Chemistry?
A career in chemistry is going to require a bachelor's degree at the very least, if not a master's or doctoral degree. Since many jobs in chemistry deal with laboratory research, most companies will not hire anyone unless they have the minimum bachelor's degree. Many students choose chemistry as an undergraduate major before attending medical school.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for Online Chemistry Classes?
Chemistry is best suited for individuals who work well in teams and have not just a solid understanding of science, but also business and marketing. Chemists must have great communication and research skills, as well as excellent attention to detail and a keen interest in how materials interact with each other.
What Can I Do with a Chemistry Degree?
Chemistry can lead to numerous other careers. Aside from becoming a chemist working in research and development, you can also choose a more specific field of chemistry, such as analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry or materials chemistry. Many chemistry students go on to become doctors and nurses, while others go into other fields of science or teach.
What Is the Job Outlook for Chemistry?
The job outlook for chemistry is expected to grow. However, there will be plenty of competition for all jobs as chemists vie for positions in chemical manufacturing industries. Those with a master's degree or doctoral degree will have better job opportunities.
Why Would Someone Take Online Chemistry Classes?
Taking classes at a traditional university is not always manageable, as some people cannot change their schedules or have other obligations outside of the classroom. Online classes, however, will allow you to study chemistry without having to rearrange your schedule to fit school.
Study materials post online, along with homework and tests. You may still have to attend a traditional university or college at some point, considering a degree in chemistry requires lab work. Make sure you take accredited online chemistry classes that are transferable to another college or university.
Chemistry Student Guide
Chemistry is the study of how molecules interact with each other. It is the study of the elements, of particles and reactions. The world does not function without chemistry and an understanding of chemistry leads to greater control over ones environment. Chemistry is a broad field, and chemistry students may specialize in physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biological chemistry or other areas that involve the way things can combine and interact.
Comprehensive textbooks are a vital element of an education in chemistry. While your chemistry education may require books that have a specific focus on certain areas of chemistry, some general guideline chemistry books will be extremely helpful. You may want to consider studying texts such as General Chemistry by John W. Hill, Ralph H. Petrucci, Terry W. McCreary and Scott S. Perry, Fundamentals of General, Organic and Biological Chemistry by John McMurry and Mary E. Castellion and General Chemistry, Principles and Modern Applications by Ralph H. Petrucci, William S Harwood, Geoff E Herring and Jeffry Madura. Other chemistry texts will be available at your schools library or through your schools website.
Chemistry Articles And Databases
The amount of information and literature available on the subject of chemistry is vast. During your studies, you will be learning about and applying cutting edge research in chemistry and chemistry related fields, and you will need to find a number of chemistry articles to do so. These can be found in journals geared to the specific branch of chemistry you are studying. You will also need a complete database of chemical compounds and substances. An ideal choice for this is PubChem (pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). PubChem allows you to search for over eight million compounds, substances and structures by name, keyword or synonym. Another option is the NIST Chemistry WebBook (webbook.nist.gov/chemistry/).
Online Chemistry Journals
Many of your chemistry articles will come from accredited chemistry journals. Some of the publishers of chemistry journals that you can get information about online are the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Abstracts Service, BioMed Central and the Society of Chemical Industry. Visiting the websites of any of these can give you access to a wide variety of chemistry journals.
Other Chemistry Research Tools
BIoMed Central (BioMedCentral.com, is the publisher of 185 open-access peer-reviewed journals and a great source of chemistry information. For basic chemistry knowledge, including everything you need to know about the elements of the periodic table, try WebElements.com.