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Chemistry Overview - Preparation - Specialty Areas - Co-ops and Internships - Employment - Earnings - Profiles of Chemists - Career Path Forecast -Professional Organizations 

Specialty Areas
- Agricultural Chemistry
- Analytical Chemistry
- Biochemistry
- Biotechnology
- Catalysis
- Chemical Education
- Chemical Engineering
- Chemical Information
- Chemical Sales and Marketing
- Chemical Technology
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry
- Consulting
- Consumer Products Development
- Environmental Chemistry
- Food and Flavor Chemistry
- Forensic Chemistry
- Geochemistry
- Hazardous Waste Management
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Science
- Medicinal Chemistry
- Oil and Petroleum
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical Chemistry
- Polymer Chemistry
- Pulp and Paper Chemistry
- R&D Management
- Science Writing
- Textile Chemistry
- Water Chemistry

A catalyst makes a reaction happen. In a process known as catalysis, a relatively small amount of foreign material, called a catalyst, augments the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed in the reaction. A catalyst can make a reaction go faster and in a more selective manner. Because of its ability to speed up some reactions and not others, a catalyst enables a chemical process to work more efficiently and often with less waste. Hence, catalysts are important in industrial chemistry. The most well-defined areas of industrial catalysis are petroleum, pharmaceutical, and environmental catalysis. Petroleum catalysis employs catalysts to manufacture petrochemicals derived from crude oil. Pharmaceutical catalysis uses catalysts in the manufacture of molecules that have a targeted and very specific function in the body. Environmental catalysis uses catalysts to remove toxic or waste products from manufacturing effluent.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Chemical Education
Next to parents, educators have the greatest influence on a young person's development. They act not only as teachers but also as role models and mentors. Chemical educators whether in colleges, high schools, middle schools, community colleges, or graduate schools say the aspect of their work that satisfies them the most is helping shape the lives and minds of students. It is the reason they have chosen teaching as the career in which to practice their knowledge and skills as chemists. Given the fact that responsibilities vary at different types of educational institutions, it is important to select a position with demands that match your interests. Those who enjoy teaching high school chemistry say that they like working with adolescents, who possess maturity but also have an innocence about them.

Those who teach undergraduate and graduate students say they appreciate the attributes they commonly find in these older students. At the postsecondary level, various types of educational institutions emphasize different aspects of chemistry--teaching, learning, and research. Some universities expect faculty to focus on research and publish in scholarly journals, for instance, while others emphasize teaching. To accommodate students with relatively diverse backgrounds, faculty at community colleges often teach a range of introductory and remedial courses. Educators teach problem-solving skills, stimulate creativity, provide challenges, and offer support. Teachers have different personalities, interests, and styles of teaching -- but a love of chemistry and an interest in working with young people are two common denominators for chemical educators. Individual teachers may be drawn to the level at which they teach by a real affinity for that particular age group.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, math, and physics to the design and operation of large-scale chemical manufacturing processes. They translate processes developed in the lab into practical applications for the production of products such as plastics, medicines, detergents, and fuels; design plants to maximize productivity and minimize costs; and evaluate plant operations for performance and product quality. Chemical engineers are employed by almost all companies in the chemical process industry. Their work also extends to processes in nuclear energy, materials science, food production, the development of new sources of energy, and even medicine. In addition to process and product development and design, chemical engineers work in areas such as production, research, environmental studies, market analysis, data processing, sales, and management. They affect or control at some stage the materials or production of almost every article manufactured on an industrial scale.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association
   Related Links:
Career Cornerstone Center Chemical Engineering Profile

Chemical Information Specialists
Chemical information specialists manage technical information as an occupation. With the exponential increase in the number of scientific journals, papers, and patents published today, the management of technical information is becoming an increasingly complicated task. Research scientists are often unable to keep up with the periodicals and patent literature in their own fields. The primary role of all chemical information specialists is to organize this information and make it available and easily accessible to re-searchers, students, industry professionals, and others. Opportunities in chemical information include being a scientific librarian, a technical information specialist, a market researcher or management consultant, a technical publisher, a software developer, or a computer programmer.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the American Chemical Society and the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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