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All About - Analytical Chemistry


Analytical chemists use various techniques to perform experiments and identify different chemicals. This can be to test if a substance or area is safe, for example, or even to help solve crime! If this sounds interesting to you, then a job as an analytical chemist may be right up your street.

In this blog, we’ll look at what it takes to be an analytical chemist, including the qualifications needed and what to expect from the job.


What does an analytical chemist do?


Analytical chemist overview

As an analytical chemist, you will work with various substances and materials. You will perform experiments and conduct research to further understand the chemical makeup of these materials.

These experiments can have a big impact on the world of science and healthcare. Your findings may help hundreds or even thousands of patients who would benefit from a new drug, for example. If this sounds like a role that would motivate you, keep reading.


Here are some examples of the day-to-day responsibilities of an analytical chemist:

  • Performing various tests on samples and analysing their material makeup.
  • Documenting findings of all tests to keep a detailed record.
  • Developing new techniques for analysing chemical products.
  • Liaising with external stakeholders and reviewing the work of fellow chemists.
  • Complying with various guidelines on quality and regulatory/company standards.
  • Developing and formulating drugs/medicine.
  • Testing whether a substance or area is contaminated.


Where do analytical chemists work?

The great thing about being an analytical chemist is that you could find yourself working in lots of different environments. It’s more common for an analytical chemist to work in a laboratory, but you can also find working in research centres, offices, or with private manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, food and healthcare, among others.


How to become an analytical chemist


To become an analytical chemist, you will need:

  • A relevant degree in chemistry or a chemistry-related subject.
  • Proof of relevant industry experience.
  • A working knowledge and practical experience with techniques such as HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography) and UV.

One of the key requirements for this job is an undergraduate degree in chemistry or a related discipline (such as biochemistry or applied chemistry). You will need to have achieved a 2:1 or higher.

On top of this, you will need to gain as much laboratory experience as possible, to familiarise yourself with laboratory best practices, including health and safety. Applying for internships during your time in university is a great way to build up your experience before applying for jobs.


Analytical chemist career path

In order to advance your career in analytical chemistry, completing a Master of Science or even a Doctorate in chemistry is the best way to ensure you have the greatest chance at success.

As you gain more experience and further your knowledge, there will be opportunities for you to take on more responsibilities, leading to senior analytical chemist positions and even lab management roles. You could also progress onto project management and gain more control over the direction of larger projects.


Analytical chemist salary

The average salary of an analytical chemist is around £29,000 per year, with senior roles offering up to £40,000 per year, although this varies considerably depending on experience.


And there you have it: everything you need to know about what an analytical chemist does and how to become one. If a career in analytical chemistry sounds like something you'd like to pursue, the team here at HRS can help. Click the link below to browse the latest UK science vacancies.

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