Careers in chemistry

Chemistry opens the door for many careers because training in chemistry is essential for many positions in industry, is highly desirable for science teaching, and is useful for careers in the public service and management. Both the public and the private sectors increasingly draw their higher management echelons from chemistry graduates.

A survey of employers of chemists carried out by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute showed that the vast majority believed that their need for chemists over the next 10 years would either remain the same or increase. Consequently, the demand for chemistry graduates remains strong and is at least on par with that of other graduates. Skills that chemists obtain are in high demand, not only in chemical areas but in many other positions, as these are skills that cross different fields, making chemists valuable contributors to a changing workforce.

There are many employment opportunities for chemists, including industry, government laboratories, education and management. The emerging areas of biotechnology and nanoscience rely on chemical principles and so are growing areas for the employment of chemists. The industrial sector includes such diverse areas as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, medicine, food and drink, metals, polymers, computing and scientific journalism. Industry is being transformed as it moves to a molecular-based understanding of materials, and chemistry graduates are essential to the success of this transformation, as they are to the move to environmentally sustainable technologies through the use of Green Chemistry. Government laboratories include research, forensic and analytical laboratories and many statutory authorities. Just a few of the careers open to a chemist is listed below:

  • Environmental science
  • Law and patents
  • Pure and applied research
  • Universities and CSIRO
  • Teaching
  • Science journalism
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Industrial chemistry
  • Polymers
  • Food and drink
  • Forensic science
  • Geochemistry
Female student in laboratory


A major in chemistry not only trains you to become a skilled chemist but also teaches you important attributes such as problem solving, team work and critical analysis - useful in any career.

The University's Careers Centre is there to help current and recently graduated students in their search for employment both during and after the completion of their tertiary studies. The Careers Centre offers one-to-one career counselling, industry information sessions and fairs, and a broad range of workshops which include ‘resume rescue’ and developing interview and job search skills. The Careers Resource Centre contains information and tools to help student’s research career options, write applications, and find ways to increase their employability. The Centre can be found on level 5, Jane Foss Russell Building, and its expert staff can help you develop the skills you need to find a job you love. Please see their for all the information you require to start your career.

Visit the School of Chemistry's profile pages.