Career Paths in Chemistry and Medicinal Chemistry
For more career information, please visit the Chemistry Careers and Further Study page on the UB Undergraduate Course Catalog website. Also, please visit the UB Undergraduate Course Catalog webpage on Medicinal Chemistry Careers and Further Study.
After receiving the bachelor’s degree, most chemistry majors either begin graduate study or immediately seek employment as chemists or medicinal chemists. At this university, about an equal number of chemistry graduates follow each of these career paths. Approximately half of the students going on to graduate school pursue medicine, law, education or management.
Many of our majors go on to graduate school in chemistry in order to pursue the doctoral degree.
A recent U.S. Labor Department Bureau of Labor Statistics Study, “Employment Outlook: 1996-2006,” predicts that 36,000 jobs for chemists and 22,000 jobs for chemical engineers will open up over the decade 1996-2006 with 17,000 and 8,000 for those jobs, respectively, being new jobs.
The chemistry careers we often think of first are teaching in high schools, colleges and universities and conducting laboratory research in industry, government, and other research institutions. Doing research is often an important part of chemistry faculty positions in colleges and universities. Industries employing large numbers of chemists include chemical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, fertilizer, food, metallurgical materials, oil and paper. Significant numbers of chemists also work in industries that make consumer and industrial products. These include the automotive industry, companies manufacturing plastics, polymers and resins used in making paints and polishes and binders used in many products such as paper towels or diapers. Substantial numbers of chemists work in local, state and federal government research in forensics laboratories and agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Armed Forces and the State Department.
According to a recent outlook on employment published in the Chemical & Engineering News, the field of medicinal chemistry will continue to grow. "Pharmaceutical companies continue to need more synthetic organic chemists than they can find," states James D. Burke, manager of research recruiting and university relations at Rohm and Haas. "And so they will continue to recruit avidly for Ph.D.s in this field. But separations chemists and other analytical chemists, particularly those with experience in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy, will also continue to be in demand."
Many major pharmaceutical companies are planning to expand their capabilities in medicinal chemistry, according to David M. Floyd, vice president of discovery chemistry at Bristol-Myers Squibb. In fact, he adds, most major companies "have new buildings to fill." So as output from discovery research increases, the process and development chemistry groups must grow. In other words, when the quota of synthetic organic chemists increases, the need for analytical chemists is enhanced, he explains.
1"Futures Through Chemistry Charting a Course" The American Chemical Society 1999
2 "2000 Employment Outlook" Chemical & Engineering News, November 1999 V77 N46