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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

Chemical Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing managers meet with customers and suppliers and work with the scientists in their own firm. They often link the technical staff at a company with its markets. Whereas scientists always interact with customers on specific product issues, sales and marketing managers try to track the long-term needs of a market and focus research on these needs. Generally, sales marketing managers are assigned a product line and a territory. They spend a good deal of time traveling and meeting with customers in their territory. They also attend between six and ten trade shows each year, where they make contacts with customers and representatives from other companies. Many trained chemists work as sales and marketing representatives in the chemical industry. They may market the products of a commodity or specialty chemicals manufacturer, or they may be employed by companies that use these chemicals. These include oil and petroleum companies and service companies such as environmental management firms, hazardous waste handlers, and water treatment companies.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Chemical Technology
Chemical technicians play a vital role in a variety of industries, working with chemists and chemical engineers to develop, test, and manufacture chemical products. Their career opportunities are diverse, depending on where they work and their education, skills, and experience. Chemical technicians operate standard laboratory equipment, set up apparatus for chemical reactions, and perform chemical tests and experiments. They also test for quality, performance, or composition of chemical compounds or materials; conduct a variety of laboratory procedures, from routine process control to complex re-search projects; and help devise syntheses and analytical procedures. Other technicians act as troubleshooters; manage databases; monitor pollution levels by testing water, soil, and air; work in shipping to ensure that pack-aging of hazardous materials complies with regulations; and work in pilot plants, assisting engineers with running experiments in a miniature version of a manufacturing process. Chemical technicians work in laboratories to en-sure that processes are carried out safely, cost-effectively, and according to the highest professional standards.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Colloid and Surface Chemistry
Not a day goes by without some aspect of colloid and surface science affecting us: The biomolecular and physiological interactions that sustain life; the blue skies we see on a beautiful day; the processed foods we eat; the medicines and cosmetics we use; the soaps and detergents we use for cleaning; and other numerous everyday products and processes we take for granted.  A colloid is a state of matter characterized by a large surface area per unit volume or unit mass. Colloidal systems include solid-solid (metal alloys); solid-liquid (a suspension such as muddy water); solid-gas (smoke, airborne dust, aerosol inhalers); liquid-solid (butter, creams, ointments, lotions, photographic emulsions, paints); liquid-liquid (an emulsion such as milk); liquid-gas (fog, mist, aerosol sprays); gas-solid (marshmallows); and gas-liquid (foams). Colloid and surface scientists seek to understand the chemical and physical behavior of various combinations of gases, liquids, and solids.  

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Consultants play a combined role of journalist, lawyer, and teacher; they gather information, shape it for a particular situation, and educate their clients. In the chemical industry, consultants study products, markets, manufacturing processes, environmental regulations, and patents. With this information they assist executives in making business decisions concerning new products, acquiring other companies, or reorganizing internally. Much of a consultant's time is spent gathering information. This means interviewing business managers; studying market trends; and reviewing technical literature, commercial literature, and patents. Working alone, consultants process this information and write reports for their clients. Ultimately, a consultant's work involves interaction with people in a broad range of specializations. A number of firms consult exclusively for the chemical industry, and most major consulting firms have divisions that serve chemical processors. These firms provide specific technical and business services. Management consulting firms do some of the same work but often focus their efforts on business management and personnel. Large accounting firms are increasingly providing consulting services; and environmental management companies consult on regulations, permits, hazardous waste, and cleaner manufacturing processes.

   Related Associations:
       American Chemical Association

Consumer Products Development
Look around your home and you'll see many examples of consumer product chemistry. These include products for washing clothes, dishes, windows, floors, tile, and bathroom fixtures. There are waxes and polishes for floors, furniture, shoes, and cars. Personal care products comprise hand and body soaps, hair shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes, cosmetics, and deodorants. Chemists and chemical engineers have a hand in developing all of these products. They also design manufacturing processes for both the ingredient chemicals and the final products you see on store shelves. Many types of companies participate in developing consumer products-from multi-billion dollar firms doing business on a global scale to very small firms. Basic chemicals are usually manufactured by large chemical companies. Specialty chemicals are produced by large, medium, and small-sized chemical companies. Consumer products themselves are produced by formulating basic and specialty chemicals.

The consumer products industry gives rise to a host of career opportunities for chemists and chemical engineers at all degree levels. The focus on formulations results in more laboratory product development opportunities for bachelor's degree chemists than is the case in many other fields. There are also opportunities for bachelor's and master's degree chemists in chemical manufacturing plants and plants producing consumer products as well as in sales where they may eventually move into marketing and business management positions. Ph.D. chemists and chemical engineers work largely in research positions developing new chemicals and working towards an understanding of the chemical and physical processes occurring when the consumer products are manufactured and used. Many also work in formulation development. Some hold research or business management positions.    

   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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