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Analytical Chemist Profile

Analytical Chemist Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Analytical Chemist. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Analytical Chemist
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Analytical Chemist Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Analytical chemists analyse substances to determine their chemical composition.

They are found in a range of occupational sectors including:

• manufacturing - where they monitor the production process to make sure that quality products are produced
• pharmaceuticals - where they determine the stability and quality of drugs and look at ways they might be improved
• healthcare - helping medical staff to diagnose disease
• forensic - assisting in criminal investigations by analysing substances found at crime scenes
• public health - testing air, water, industrial waste, drugs and food to make sure they are safe.

In general analytical chemists work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Most work is done in laboratories, although more senior staff may also work in offices. Protective clothing may be worn for work.

An analytical chemist needs:

• a logical mind with good problem-solving skills
• to be able to keep meticulous records of research
• good maths and IT skills
• an interest in science, particularly chemistry.

Analytical chemists are employed by manufacturing companies, hospital and public health laboratories, government and environmental agencies, and independent consultancies and research organisations throughout the UK. Competition for jobs can be intense. It is possible to enter with an HND or HNC, but this is rare and most analytical chemists have degrees. To study for a first degree, candidates usually need at least two A levels/three H grades, and three GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3). Relevant degree subjects include analytical chemistry, applied chemistry, chemistry, environmental science, marine sciences, materials sciences and biochemistry.

Public analysts are required by law to hold the Royal Society of Chemistry qualification, Mastership in Chemical Analysis (MChemA).

Major employers have graduate training schemes. Most training is on the job.

Continued professional development is essential for analytical chemists to keep up to date with new developments and techniques. Experienced analytical chemists may be promoted to more senior positions in the industry.

What does the role encounter?

Analytical chemists analyse substances to determine their chemical composition. They are found in a range of occupational sectors including:

• manufacturing - where they monitor the production process of everything from food and drink to cosmetics and pesticides to ensure that quality products are produced
• pharmaceuticals - where their work helps to determine the stability and quality of drugs and how they might be improved
• healthcare - where they analyse body tissues and fluids to help medical staff diagnose disease
• forensics - where they analyse substances - ranging from traces of explosives to tiny amounts of fibres - found at crime scenes to assist in criminal investigations
• public protection - where they test air, water, industrial waste, drugs and food to make sure they are safe.
Analytical chemists working in this area include public analysts who are involved with environmental health and trading standards offices.

Analytical chemists use high-tech equipment and sophisticated techniques, like gas chromatography, electro-chromatography, infra-red and ultra-violet spectroscopy, to analyse substances. They record the data obtained according to strict guidelines, interpret it and present their findings in written reports. Computers and specialist software packages are increasingly being used to handle data. More senior analysts could be involved with preparing the documentation for licence applications for products like new drugs. Analytical chemists work in teams with other scientists and technicians. Depending on their field of work they could also work closely with people like production managers and other staff employed in manufacturing, doctors and pathologists, the police, environmental health officers and trading standards officers.

The work can be pressured as problems often need to be solved quickly and work completed to strict deadlines. In some junior posts the work could involve doing the same task for long periods of time.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Hours vary from employer to employer, but in general analytical chemists work Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Additional hours may be required at busy times.

Most work is done in laboratories, although more senior staff spend a large part of their time working in an office.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Starting salaries for analytical chemists are around £20,000.
• With experience this could rise to £30,000.
• Senior analytical chemists can earn up to £45,000.

What type of skills will I need?

• enjoy problem solving
• have a logical mind
• be able to keep meticulous records of research
• be able to work in a team and on their own initiative
• have good communication skills to convey technical information to people with little or no scientific knowledge
• have a flexible and methodical approach to work and be able to prioritise tasks
• have good maths and IT skills.

What type of training will I receive?

Major employers run graduate training schemes where most of the training is provided on the job. There may be short courses to offer training in the use of specialist equipment and software packages provided by suppliers.

Career Progression:

Continued professional development is essential for analytical chemists to keep up to date with new developments and techniques. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) offers a career management programme with a self-help service to support members on careers related issues. The Analytical Science Network (ASN) aims to promote analytical science and further the profession and the career development of members. Regional groups provide training and networking opportunities.

With experience it is possible to progress to more senior positions in the industry.

Some analytical chemists move into teaching in Higher or Further Education, or, with a relevant qualification like a PGCE, in schools.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Botanist
Chemist
Laboratory Technician
Local Government Environmental Health Officer
Quality Control Inspector.

Other Useful Analytical Chemist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Analytical Chemist job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Analytical Chemist Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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