Analytical chemistry is quite a diverse area to work in as there are many options as to what different fields within the discipline your skill set will match.
Starting out as an analytical chemist your work will be mostly lab based and as you advance in your career, you will be mostly working from an office.
The chemistry world isn’t for everyone but if it’s for you then we hope we can help you find the right path for you.
What is analytical chemistry?
Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining, processing and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter. It uses instruments and a series of methods in order to separate, identify and quantify matter.
Analytical chemistry allows us to gain a broad understanding of what the chemist does and the role they play in problem solving and carrying out different analytical tasks.
What does an analytical chemist do?
As an analytical chemist, you will have the opportunity to work in a broad range of areas from process development to drug formulation and development among many other areas. In this role you will be expected to identify and understand substances and how they are affected in different conditions through a range of different methods.
It is typically a 9-6 style of job, working Monday to Friday. This is subject to change and you may have to work extra hours in order to meet your deadlines. The specific role you carry out is very dependent on the area you decide to work in since it is quite a diverse field. Some general tasks you may carry out include:
- Carry out research and interpret data and findings
- Present these finding to colleague
- Examine and analyze different samples in order to gain an understanding and information about certain compounds
- Use different analytical techniques and instruments when carrying out testing and research
- Meet high standards and follow guidelines for recording your reports
- Develop new and different techniques used for analysis
- Work alongside other professionals
- Know and keep updated with health and safety issues
There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Coivd-19 and may offer courses online.
Analytical Chemistry postgraduate courses will focus on specialisation in advanced modern analytical methodology. Students will gain all the relevant skills and knowledge in order to work in this area including focusing on topics such as pharmaceutical industry, environmental institutions, research institutes and a look at the oil and gas industry.
These postgraduate courses will allow students to gain an understanding of key areas of analytical science, it’s practical applications and give you an advanced understanding of recent advances in the field. You will be equipped to carry out the appropriate literature and data searches.
There are a large number of courses under the title of Analytical Chemistry in a number of universities across the UK so specific course content will differ from course to course. Be sure to look into courses in detail to ensure their content is the right match for you.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1. A degree in chemistry or a related science field is required.
Your salary may differ depending on the specific area you’re working in, your employment and your experience in the field. Starting out, your salary could be between £18,000-£25,000. With experience, that could rise to between £25,000-£40,000. In senior roles your salary may exceed £50,000. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:
- Strong communication skills
- Strong writing skills
- Strong research and analysis skills
- Problem solver
- Good time management
- Organisation skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Attention to detail
- Trust your own initiative
- Knowledge of IT and technology
- An interest and understanding of chemistry and science