Last Updated on August 30, 2023
Business majors and chemistry majors may not seem like the most common of pairings, but some business students choose to spend their four years studying both. If you are one of these students, you have probably wondered how you can combine your two interests and get a meaningful paycheck. Fortunately, there are a number of jobs that combine chemistry and business. The following guide will help you find the best job for your specific situation.
Chemistry and business are two fields that often don’t cross paths. Individuals with degrees in chemistry often head for careers in science or pharmacy. On the other hand, individuals with business degrees may pursue careers in finance, accounting, sales, and marketing. Here are six jobs that combine chemistry and business:
Jobs That Combine Chemistry And Business
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s chemistry with business emphasis bachelor’s degree is a perfect fit for those interested in business careers in the chemical industry and other technology-driven enterprises.
One of only a few programs like it, the unique major combines the study of chemistry with the study of business, providing you with a solid foundation in the chemistry field and a rudimentary understanding of the principles of commerce. During your studies, you’ll explore chemistry-related topics like chemical properties, atomic structure, chemical bonding, thermodynamics, acid-base reactions, oxidation-reduction reactions and stoichiometry. In addition, courses in accounting, economics, information systems, communication, marketing and management will introduce you the world of business.
You’ll also have access to incredible, experiential learning opportunities that quickly take your education to the next level. This may include working on groundbreaking research alongside expert faculty members and renowned community partners, like Mayo Clinic Health System. Or traveling to regional and national conferences to present your work and co-authored research publications. Or using an incredible array of modern instrumentation — including the same state-of-the-art tools found in the industry today.
Because the program is rooted in research and real-world learning, graduates of the chemistry with business emphasis leave UW-Eau Claire with an impressive range of knowledge, skills and experience — as well as a rare combination of technical and business expertise. This is especially attractive to industrial employers and allows our graduates to pursue a variety of interests and passions.
You may go on to careers in chemical and pharmaceutical sales, as well as a wide range of positions that involve both diagnostic lab work and maintaining customer relationships. No matter your dreams, a degree in chemistry with a business emphasis from UW-Eau Claire will serve you extremely well.
Innovative instruments and facilities. The chemistry department at UW-Eau Claire is home to a comprehensive suite of state-of-the-art instrumentation for chemical analysis — and you’ll have direct access to it. Here you can master a number of specialized research instruments, including an X-ray diffractometer, an optical cryostat, a jet-cooled expansion system and a supercomputing cluster (BGSC) — a high-performance computing system that provides resources that are on par with (or above) what is available at most major research institutions. You’ll also be able to use specialized laboratories, including a laser spectroscopy lab, a low-temperature spectroscopy lab, a computational lab and a thermal analysis lab.
Research opportunities. The chemistry department has a long tradition of productive collaborative research partnerships between undergraduate students and faculty. These experiences often lead to published papers in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at regional, national and international meetings. Previous research projects have ranged from work on self-repairing LC displays on phones, TVs and monitor screens to mucin peptides and how they might be used as antigens against some cancers.
Exceptional career preparation. As a chemistry major, you’ll find countless internships, seminars, lectures and nationally funded summer research opportunities available to you. These experiences allow you to explore career paths, gain valuable career experience and work with experts in the chemical industry. A series of lectures by faculty and speakers from industry will introduce you to various chemical and related industries as well as career opportunities and their qualifications. Participating companies have included organizations like Univar, Ecolab, Hydrite Chemical, 3M, Boston Scientific and Nestle USA.
Award-winning, dedicated faculty. While at UW-Eau Claire, you’ll learn from expert faculty who have a wealth of knowledge in — and passion for — chemistry. Our professors have received national recognition for supporting and mentoring students, currently hold 16 patents and work tirelessly to create high-impact learning opportunities for students. In fact, over the last six years, chemistry faculty have brought in over $2 million in external grant funds, directly benefiting UWEC chemistry majors.
Our chemistry with business emphasis program will prepare you for non-laboratory careers in the chemical industry, including product development, business development, sales, marketing research, technical service and manufacturing. The degree is also excellent preparation for graduate studies in business or for careers in expanding industries, such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, nanotechnology, electronic materials, petrochemicals, polymers, pollution control, and the production of bio-based fuels and materials.
Where are chemistry with business emphasis alumni now?
- Ingredient manager, Nestle Nutrition, Wisconsin
- Sales, Stepan Company, Illinois
- Purchaser, 3M, Minnesota
- Buyer, Emerson Process Management, Minnesota
- Quality assurance auditor, Covance, Wisconsin
- Customer service, Brenntag Great Lakes, Wisconsin
- Purchasing manager, EMCO Chemical Distributors, Illinois
- Quality assurance, Nestle, Wisconsin
- Sales, Hydrite Chemical, Wisconsin
Chemistry with business emphasis careers
- Technical service engineer
- Pharmaceutical sales representative
- Quality control and quality assurance specialists
- Purchasing agent
- Business development specialist
- Marketing specialist
- Product manager
- Distribution and transportation manager
- Regulatory specialist (EPA, FDA, OSHA)
10 careers in chemistry
- Analytical Chemist
- Chemical Engineer
- Chemistry Teacher
- Forensic Scientist
- Hazardous Waste Chemist
- Materials Scientist
- Water Chemist
Analytical chemists use their skills and expertise to analyse substances, identify what components are present and in what quantities, as well how these components may behave and react with one another. This can include the analysis of drugs, food and other products to determine effectiveness, quality and to ensure they are safe for human consumption or use.
- Analytical Chemistry – American Chemical Society (US)
- Analytical Chemist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Chemical engineers are involved the the design and development of new products from raw materials. They use their knowledge of chemical properties and reactions to transform materials from one state to another, for example making plastic from oil. Chemical engineers may work in almost any industry, assisting in the production of innovative, high-end products such as ultra-strong fabrics or biocompatible implants.
- Chemical Engineering – American Chemical Society (US)
- Chemical Engineer – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Chemistry teachers work in schools passing on their knowledge of chemistry to the next generation, following a set curriculum and helping their students to pass and excel in their school examinations. As well as a degree or equivalent qualification in chemistry, you may also require a teaching qualification (such as a PGCE in the UK) in order to become a chemistry teacher.
- High School Chemistry Teacher – American Chemical Society (US)
- Secondary School Teacher – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Forensic scientists search for and analyse forensic materials found at crime scenes, for example blood and other bodily fluids, hair, or non-biological substances such as paint. They are then able to present this evidence for use in legal investigations and courts of law. Forensic scientists may sometimes be called in to speak in court as experts in their field, to explain the evidence to the jury.
- Forensic Chemistry – American Chemical Society (US)
- Forensic Scientist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Geochemists study the physical and chemical properties of the Earth, particularly rocks and minerals. They use their knowledge to determine the make-up and distribution of rock and mineral components, and how these may affect the soil and water systems in which they are found. Geochemists may help to identify oil drill sites, improve water quality or deternine how best to remove hazardous waste.
- Geochemistry – American Chemical Society (US)
- Geochemist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Hazardous Waste Chemist
Hazardous waste chemists deal with the management and safe relocation of hazardous materials (hence the common abbreviation ‘hazmat’). They use their expertise to identify harmful chemical components in the air, water or soil, evaluate the danger they present and coordinate their removal and containment.
- Hazardous Waste Management – American Chemical Society (US)
- Waste Management Officer – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Materials scientists study man-made and natural substances to determine their properties, composition and how they could be transformed or combined to increase effectiveness or create new materials. By analysing and experimenting with existing materials, materials scientists are able to enhance the way they are used and create new materials to better serve humanity’s needs.
- Materials Science – American Chemical Society (US)
- Materials Engineer – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Pharmacologists undertake the development and testing of drugs, analysing how they interact with biological systems. This is essential for ensuring that drugs are effective and safe for human use, and may involve the testing of drugs on animals or on human volunteers. Pharmacology roles are often lab-based and may involve non-standard hours in order to monitor ongoing experiments.
- Pharmacologist: Job Description & Career Information – Study.com (US)
- Pharmacologist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Toxicologists, like pharmacologists, may study the effects of drugs on biological systems but also look at the effects of other substances, both natural and man-made. They work with and develop methodologies for determining harmful effects of substances, as well as how to judge correct dosages and therefore avoid them. As with pharmacology, toxicology roles are often lab-based and involve the monitoring of experiments and interpretation of results.
- Toxicology – American Chemical Society (US)
- Toxicologist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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Water chemists, as the name suggests, are concerned with analysing and maintaining the quality and condition of water, essential for human life on Earth. This is a highly interdisciplinary field, so as well as chemistry you may also need knowledge of linked fields such as microbiology and geology. You may find similar roles under a variety of names, for example hydrologist or hydrogeologist.
- Water Chemistry – American Chemical Society (US)
- Water Quality Scientist – Graduate Prospects Ltd. (UK)
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highest paying chemistry jobs
- Medicinal ChemistSalary range: $50,000-$132,000 per yearMedicinal chemists, also known as pharmaceutical chemists, seek to discover new natural elements from plants for medicinal use and create new synthetic drug compounds. They study drug reactions and develop new therapeutic agents with synthetic organic chemistry for drug formulas. Working with a team of scientists, medicinal chemists evaluate and test new pharmaceutical products before moving the drug to chemical trials. Medicinal chemists also improve and streamline current drug processes to make production more cost-effective.
- Rubber ChemistSalary range: $47,000-$127,000 per yearAs a rubber chemist, you develop a rubber compound that meets specific design applications requests from manufacturers. The particular needs of the manufacturer dictate what materials are used in the mix to create the desired hardness, strength, resistance, and elongation. As part of your duties, you must ensure the compound is at a low cost while still meeting the needs of the manufacturer. Your responsibilities include managing proper mix time, temperature, and weight. You must also follow the compound throughout the mixing process to ensure accurate results.
- Physical ChemistSalary range: $63,500-$126,000 per yearA physical chemist studies how matter works on a molecular level and how a chemical reaction occurs. As a physical chemist, your responsibilities vary based on the industry in which you choose to work, but you often work closely with materials scientists in a laboratory, conducting research and developing uses for new materials. You can take on a career as an analytical chemist where you use various methods such as diffraction, infrared, and microscopy to assemble molecules, see how they grow, and determine how they add different properties to products. Your primary duties in this position include analyzing materials and developing ways to test and characterize their properties. Equipment you use includes analytical instruments such as mass spectrometers, electron microscopes, and lasers.
- Biochemical EngineerSalary range: $76,000-$107,500 per yearCombining both engineering skills and a scientific background, a biochemical engineer studies the nature of chemical functions and uses research to develop or improve products. As a biochemical engineer, your job duties involve consulting with scientists to evaluate technology and products, using studies to recommend changes to processes or operations, and leading experiments to improve production while minimizing waste. You also design experimental activities within laboratories to ensure compliance with biohazard regulations and maintain databases of experiment-related information. The materials you work with may be organic or lab-made depending on your field of expertise.
- Chemical Process EngineerSalary range: $78,500-$99,500 per yearA chemical process engineer’s responsibilities cover designing and developing processes for transforming raw materials into marketable products. You can hold a chemical process engineer job in an industry that processes natural gases, paper, pharmaceuticals, plastic, food, and other products. You will analyze procedures, communicate effectively with team members, apply math, science, and engineering concepts, and conduct experiments and report the results. Many types of chemical engineering careers exist in chemical production and manufacturing, mineral processing, oil exploration, sustainable engineering, and alternative energy fields. However, you can find chemical engineers with diverse duties in jobs in nearly every industry that creates a product.
- Chemical EngineerSalary range: $63,000-$94,000 per yearChemical engineers design and develop manufacturing processes for various chemicals. They can work in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, food processing, environmental health, health care, and design and construction. In this job, you can expect to research new methods for manufacturing chemicals, create these processes, estimate the cost of production, and draft and implement related safety procedures to ensure the well-being of employees who will work with those chemicals.
- Chemical Operations SpecialistSalary range: $36,000-$93,500 per yearA chemical operations specialist deals with dangerous and potentially toxic chemical materials. A chemical operations specialist may work for the National Guard or other military services. Their responsibilities are to decontaminate an area and test liquid, gaseous, or solid materials for chemical toxicity and other potential hazards. They also work on scooping or dumping materials to remove them. As a civilian, a chemical operations worker often fills or empties containers with chemicals and transports them between locations.
- Polymer ChemistSalary range: $59,000-$93,000 per yearA polymer chemist works with molecular or atomic materials to study the way these molecules form and bond. Polymers, or long strings of molecules, can be manipulated by scientists to be used in products such as nylon clothing, pharmaceuticals, plastics, paints, and Teflon-coated pans. In this career, your job duties include both creating new materials and conducting research to make existing materials and products better. You conduct various tests in a lab using different methods to find solutions. You can find work in a pharmaceutical company, chemical manufacturer, or in the energy industry. The qualifications needed for a career as a polymer chemist include a Ph.D. in chemistry and significant on-the-job training.
- Synthetic ChemistSalary range: $52,500-$90,000 per yearSynthetic chemists make chemicals for industrial, manufacturing, and even retail use. A synthetic chemist can work in a variety of fields, such as food science, pharmaceuticals, fuel technology, or cleaning products. As a synthetic chemist, your job duties are to test compounds, assess molecule reaction, and work on purification processes. Qualifications for this career depend on the specific industry, but you should at least have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a closely related subject. You should also have lab experience and strong analytical problem-solving skills.
- Research ChemistSalary range: $36,500-$83,500 per yearA research chemist experiments with different chemical compounds to discover new applications for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, electronics, and products in several different industries. In your career as a research chemist, must of your work will focus on specific scientific procedures. Your job duties include examining how chemical compounds interact, applying your findings to consumer products, and experimenting with improvements and innovations to products and scientific methods. The qualifications for this job include a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and at least one year of laboratory work experience. Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills are essential.
- Forensic ChemistSalary range: $54,000-$82,500 per yearA forensic chemist usually assists medical examiners with post-mortem toxicology and evidence, but forensic roles can extend beyond investigations into causes of death. Responsibilities include processing information and chemicals, analyzing toxicology reports, performing chemical tests on specimens, and working with a team of experts to draw conclusions based on the data. Duties can also consist of managing computer programs and processes, working with chemicals and lab tools, following laboratory safety regulations, and applying forensic science to solve mysteries. Forensic science uses science, chemistry, and minute details to draw conclusions and decipher clues.
- Senior ChemistSalary range: $61,000-$81,500 per yearSenior chemists do much of the same work as other chemists in a lab, but they have several years of research experience and often hold graduate degrees. As a senior chemist, you conduct experiments and analyze testing of elements and compounds for a company or organization. Specific job duties vary, depending on the organization and industry. For example, you may work on product development for a makeup company, test medicinal compounds for a pharmaceutical lab, or examine the safety of natural resources for a government agency. You may also supervise other lab chemists and lab assistants and troubleshoot issues with the research project or equipment. To become a senior chemist, you need a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field, though many employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees. You also need several years of lab experience to work your way up to a senior chemist position.
- Textile ChemistSalary range: $39,000-$81,000 per yearA textile chemist applies technical knowledge of chemistry to the production and manufacture of textiles, such as clothes and furniture. In this role, your job duties may focus on a specific part of the process, such as dyeing, quality assurance, or research and development of new techniques or fibers. Qualifications for a career as a textile chemist include a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and experience with textile materials. In some positions, an advanced degree is necessary. An eye for detail and analytical problem-solving skills are crucial.
- Formulation ChemistSalary range: $51,000-$80,000 per yearA formulation chemist helps in the product testing and development of pharmaceuticals or household products, like cleaners, cosmetics, and soaps. Your duties include mixing different agents or compounds and performing tests, such as UV tests, to determine product safety and potential for use. Some formulation chemists work in other industries such as the oil and gas industry where they inspect octane levels for car fuel. You might also find work as a cosmetic chemist where you test makeup and perfumes. Others work in the food industry, testing and creating ingredients and flavor additives.
- Organic ChemistSalary range: $49,500-$75,000 per yearAs an organic chemist, you can do a variety of science-based jobs depending on your desired specialization, but most positions involve analyzing carbon-based materials, from their molecular structure to chemical properties. You can do analysis on living organisms, new pharmaceuticals, and more. You may work on creating new molecules based on one found in nature and conduct research to learn the processes that work most effectively. Responsibilities include using advanced technology like nuclear magnetic resonance to study magnetic fields around atomic nuclei and chromatography tools for separating substances into their individual compounds. You spend much of your time writing reports and documenting your findings.
- Industrial ChemistSalary range: $37,500-$67,000 per yearIndustrial chemists work with chemical engineers to turn breakthroughs in chemical science into mass-produced goods. Your duties include improving existing chemical production technology, methods, materials, and processes. This career requires a number of qualifications such as education, job training, and specialized skills. You should have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a closely related field, and experience working in a lab setting. Important qualities for the job include analytical problem-solving and the ability to collaborate with others.
- Analytical ChemistSalary range: $50,500-$66,500 per yearAn analytical chemist is a scientist who works in a laboratory conducting analytical chemistry experiments for a variety of purposes. As an analytical chemist, your responsibilities and duties include overseeing experiments to analyze how chemical compounds interact. You may work under the supervision of a senior research chemist in an entry-level position, calibrating instrumentation and collecting data. You must record data accurately so that the results are as sound as possible. This kind of research is widely used in the pharmaceutical, food, petroleum, and environmental science industries, and others.
- Cosmetic ChemistSalary range: $50,000-$65,000 per yearA cosmetic chemist researches or develops cosmetics, including skincare, toothpaste, dyes, soaps, and makeup products. Their responsibilities may include researching materials, developing and testing new compounds, and writing technical reports. Their goal is to understand and improve the chemical makeup of products.
- ChemistSalary range: $42,000-$62,500 per yearChemists work with matter to uncover elements of complex substances and to create completely new chemical compounds. They seek to understand all aspects of the individual chemicals. Most Chemists specialize in a sub-discipline of chemistry, such as neurochemistry, biochemistry, theoretical chemistry, or nuclear chemistry. Chemistry has a number of specialty areas. Forensic chemists work with law enforcement to aid in criminal investigations. Biochemists focus on chemical reactions within living organisms, delving into cellular-level examination to produce everything from DNA therapies to pharmaceutical drugs. Neurochemists specialize in the study of molecules, neurochemicals, and other aspects of the biological nervous system. Nuclear Chemists concentrate on nuclear matter and radioactivity. In order to create treatments to prevent or reverse the adverse effects of radiation on the cellular level, they analyze how radiation affects living things. Theoretical Chemists explore more nebulous or lesser known chemical processes and reactions. This sub-discipline deals with topics like molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry, quantum mechanics, and statistical thermodynamics.
- BiochemistSalary range: $41,500-$61,500 per yearA biochemist plans and conducts projects in applied and basic biochemical research, prepares technical reports, recommendations, and papers, and presents findings to colleagues, engineers, and other scientists surrounding the detection of illnesses, diseases, and genetic disorders. Their findings help improve medical treatments and processes. They also manage lab teams, research the effects of substances on organisms, and isolate, analyze, and synthesize DNA, proteins, and enzymes.
- Inorganic ChemistSalary range: $37,500-$58,500 per yearInorganic chemists work in the science field to study the properties of inorganic chemical compounds, such as metals and minerals. Your duties include taking samples; using specialized equipment to research and investigate molecules, substances, and mixtures; and developing highly complex analyses of your findings. You typically work in a lab, running experiments to determine the safety and use of compounds or materials. Qualifications for a career as an inorganic chemist include higher education, job training, experience, and skills. You must have a bachelor’s or master’s in chemistry, and be excellent at analytical problem-solving, paying close attention to detail, and understanding both organic and inorganic chemistry.
- Quality Control ChemistSalary range: $40,000-$57,000 per yearA quality control chemist (QC chemist) is a specific type of laboratory chemist, whose primary duties are to measure and test lab materials and products according to industry-specific standard procedures. Jobs are typically in the pharmaceutical or manufacturing fields. As a QC chemist, you assure adherence to all federal regulations and safety procedures. In addition to performing rigorous quality assurance of samples, some QC chemists are responsible for calibrating and performing maintenance on lab equipment. Relevant qualifications for this career include a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, experience in a chemistry lab setting, and skills like attention to detail and the ability to multitask.
- Wet Chemistry AnalystSalary range: $29,500-$56,000 per yearThe duties of a wet chemistry analyst involve working with chemical samples in a lab environment. Common responsibilities are to collect samples, interpret data, and document or report results. This field is known as “wet chemistry” because most research methodologies require you to work with chemical elements in liquid form (contained in beakers, for example). Qualifications include a postsecondary degree and experience.
- Associate ChemistSalary range: $40,500-$50,500 per yearAn associate chemist works in a chemistry lab and performs material analysis, chemical tests, and other research experiments under the supervision of a lead chemist or more senior researcher. Your duties and responsibilities differ based on where you work. Associate chemists work in numerous industries, including pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical research and development, industrial production, and oil and gas exploration and refining. Depending on the field, you may have specific duties related to a specialization, such as forensic chemistry or inorganic chemistry.
- Lab Pack ChemistSalary range: $30,000-$47,500 per yearA lab pack chemist is responsible for handling hazardous waste materials. In this career, your responsibilities are to oversee the transport and disposal of lab packs, which is a method of shipping for moving and handling hazardous chemicals by placing a smaller container full of hazardous materials into a larger container. Your duties as a lab pack chemist are to ensure that waste materials are professionally and safely managed and handled to ensure no environmental contamination or health hazards occur due to dangerous chemical exposure.