Organic Chemist
How to Become an

Organic Chemist

The complete career guide to be an Organic Chemist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $77,860
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 2.6%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Organic Chemists study the vast number of carbon compounds that make up all living things.  They perform calculations and chemical reactions to characterize, synthesize or find applications for organic molecules.  They will spend their time developing new substances and compounds and synthesizing previously known compounds and substances such as drugs or plastics.

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What is an Organic Chemist?

The following responsibilities are common for individuals in the Organic Chemist field:

  • Carrying out complex research experiments
  • Analyzing substances and compounds
  • Testing a wide variety of products
  • Analyzing reports and findings in detailed presentations and papers
  • Making pharmaceutical compounds

A Day in the Life

Organic Chemists develop new products and recreate old products on a molecular level using highly advanced technology and science.

They will spend a lot of their time in the lab. They will also spend a lot of their time reading scientific articles and writing on their research findings.  On a day to day basis they would interact with colleagues, attend meetings and maybe even teach.  Most of their professional time is spent in a lab or at a desk.

They will typically work in research and development in labs, universities, pharmaceuticals, and government agencies.  The day would depend on the field of study they chose to go into and the job the person attains.

Typical Work Schedule

Typically the position offered would be a full-time 40 hour work week position.

Projected Job Growth

Organic Chemist have a steady and strong job outlook.  They will experience strong job competition at all levels and are in high demand for hire for industries like pharmaceuticals, universities and producers of consumer products and goods.  Also as recent advances in genetics opens up new avenues for job opportunities for the research in the treatment of diseases.

Career Progression

  • Early Career – Obtain a bachelor’s degree and spend a considerable amount of time in the lab studying carbon atoms
    Mid-Career – Obtain a master’s degree to advance and become a lab assistant or management role
    Late Career – Obtain a doctorate degree and perform your own private or public research and publish research findings in papers, magazines, journals and presentations

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How To Become an Organic Chemist

A Bachelor’s degree in chemistry is the minimum requirement for this career. The kinds of classes you would take would be physical science, inorganic and organic chemistry, biology, math and physics.  You would spend a minimum of four years in college and a large part of their time is spent in a laboratory studying carbon atoms.

For more advanced research positions of employment you would need to earn a Master’s degree or Doctorate degree. To execute your own independent research whether in the public or private sector or pursue a pharmaceutical compound career, you would need to obtain a Ph.D.

Employers are searching for candidates with strong personal skills, problem solving skills and leaders as well as team players.  They should also possess strong technical skills, be enthusiastic and creative.

Organic Chemist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Organic Chemist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Organic Chemist's can make an average annual salary of $77,860, or $37 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $52,370 or $25 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #150 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Organic Chemist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Organic Chemists

  • 18.4%   Doctorate
  • 19.7%   Masters
  • 54.3%   Bachelors
  • 4.4%   Associates
  • 2.7%   College
  • 0.3%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Organic Chemist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 2,400 jobs for a total of 93,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 2.6% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #530 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Organic Chemists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 16,100 2,900 3%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 14,800 -1,500 -2%
Testing laboratories 9,200 1,100 1%

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