Chemist

Examine physical and chemical properties of substances, develops and monitor chemical processes and production.

Chemist

Chemists study the properties and structure of materials at the level of atoms and molecules, using a wide variety of analytical techniques and instrumentation. They measure reaction rates in order to understand unfamiliar substances and how they behave, and create new compounds and materials for use in a vast array of existing and new applications.

Chemists also conduct experiments to identify chemical composition and study chemical changes which occur in natural substances and processed materials. They undertake research and analysis to develop and test theories, techniques and processes.

In addition, chemists develop practical applications of experiments and research findings including those combining new compounds for industrial, agricultural, veterinary and medical use. They test products and materials and prepare specifications and standards, to ensure compliance with government health laws and quality standards.

Furthermore, chemists undertake cost analysis, pricing and quality assurance exercises when developing new substances, processes and products. They take part in the marketing and financial reporting of substances, processes or products developed.

See below for career pathway and salary information for chemists in Australia.

For detailed descriptions of the rich variety of interesting career opportunities for chemistry graduates, visit the American Chemical Society Chemistry Careers Page.

Chemist

Career Pathway and Salary Information

Chemistry at UWA produces highly employable graduates for jobs in Western Australia, nationally and internationally. UWA is Western Australia’s top ranked University, and a member of Australia’s Group of Eight Universities. This means UWA Bachelor of Science graduates with a Chemistry major are widely recognised, and our graduates are highly sought-after by employers including:

Chemist

Chemistry at UWA produces highly employable graduates for jobs in Western Australia, nationally and internationally. UWA is Western Australia’s top ranked University, and a member of Australia’s Group of Eight Universities. This means UWA Bachelor of Science graduates with a Chemistry major are widely recognised, and our graduates are highly sought-after by employers including:

Companies in WA’s (*) two biggest industries:

- Mining (e.g. BHP*, Chevron*, Woodside*, Rio Tinto*, Alcoa*, Shell*, Fortescue*)
- Agriculture (e.g. Wesfarmers*, CSBP*)

- Pharmaceutical and biotech companies like ‎Pfizer*, Perrigo* and Epichem*.
- Chemical and environmental analysis companies like MPL laboratories* and SGS*
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)*
- Top-ranked International Universities

Our graduates also embark on careers in teaching, marketing, sales, and patent law with a company or government department. A UWA Science degree with a major in Chemistry is your ticket to an exciting and rewarding career with diverse and interesting pathways. 

UWA’s research-led teaching will provide you with state-of-the-art scientific knowledge and high level problem solving skills.

The chemical industry is seeking graduates who are specialised in chemistry, but with diverse skill sets. UWA’s unique degree structure sets us apart from other Western Australian universities to train graduates for these jobs.

At UWA, right from first year, you have the opportunity to tailor your degree to suit your interest and goals. For example, it is possible to do a major in chemistry with a second major in biochemistry/molecular biology, or genetics, pharmacology, or neuroscience, or psychology, or management. In addition, at UWA you may specialise in either synthetic chemistry or physical analytical chemistry, or pursue both streams in a Chemistry double major. You can use your personal interests as a basis for your choice of subjects to study, and, ultimately, to direct your career.

At UWA, like at other universities, you will learn all the required skills and knowledge you need to set off on a career as a chemist in industry or a government organisation. However, as Western Australia’s top university for Physical Sciences including Chemistry, UWA is exclusively placed to provide you with the more diverse skill set you will need to become a leader in the field. This could be in industry as a Chief Technology Officer or Chief Executive Officer, as the founder of your own start-up company, a research theme leader at CSIRO, or as a Professor at a university.

In combination, these factors mean a UWA Bachelor of Science Chemistry major can launch a career focussed on solving humanity’s greatest challenges:

- Understanding and adapting to climate change
- Disease pandemics like COVID19
- Providing food and water for the world’s ever-growing population
- Extending and improving quality of life through medicine
- Sustainable energy production
- Providing the materials that modern society depends on, and that underpin the next technological innovations
- Preserving our planet’s amazing biodiversity

As a chemist, you can expect an annual salary of $108,000 (+ bonus) as the average across all industries and experience levels, with a salary growth of 2.1% per year. The average entry level salary of scientists commences at $75,000 and ranges up to $130,000 for experienced workers. Further studies toward a Master or PhD degree will increase your average base salary toward the upper end of this scale, and will prepare you to take responsibilities as an educator in the higher education system or as manager in industry. Amongst all industries, chemists working in the mining industry see the highest salaries averaging at $132,000. (Salary information from the Professional Scientists Australia 2019 Remuneration Report).

Postgraduate Courses To Become

Chemist

Research courses to pursue this career

Research study is not necessarily required for this occupation, but may be helpful for career advancement.

Relevant research courses include: