There are four steps required to become a chemical analyst: post-secondary training, related work experience, computer software skills, and complete the job interview process. A chemical analyst spends the majority of his day working with chemicals, lab equipment, and data analysis software. They are responsible for completing specific processes, documenting the results, and conducting analysis.
People who have an analytical thought process, enjoy working independently, and are comfortable exploring multiple scenarios find the greatest satisfaction in this type of work. Attention to detail, discipline, and focus are all essential for anyone who wants to become a chemical analyst. In this role, the analyst if often the creator of the official report on the composition of the chemical or solution. Accuracy is very important.
The first requirement to become a chemical analyst is to complete a post-secondary education program. A university degree in chemistry at the bachelor's level is the minimum requirement, with many firms requiring a master’s degree. The depth and breadth of knowledge required to perform effective chemical analysis is not available at the college level.
Related work experience includes working in a chemical laboratory, research assistant, or chemical compounder. All of these jobs require working with chemicals, mixing and documenting the results or procedures. Chemical analyst is a mid-career position, as most firms require at least five years experience in their industry before you can apply for an analyst position.
Computer skills have become increasingly important for a chemical analyst. Software is now available that will calculate the different options, possible scenarios, and outcomes faster and with greater accuracy than previously possible. These programs are quite specialized and either the employer or the software company provides training.
When applying for a job as a chemical analyst, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. During the job interview process, be prepared to answer detailed questions about the different types of chemical processes, techniques, and programs. Research the industry and discuss the different challenges they face, and how you can contribute to the firm. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on the skills you bring and how you can help the company.
Career advancement once you have become a chemical analyst requires additional education. Additional certification in management, supervisor or specific chemical techniques all expand the number of job opportunities available. Review your options and talk with a career counselor to create a plan that works best for you.