Chemists

(NOC 2112)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Chemists conduct research to determine the properties, composition, and principles of elements and compounds. They apply chemical principles to develop a wide range of products and processes. Biochemists study the chemical makeup of products of living matter, and the processes that happen in and between cells at the molecular level. Chemists work in research and development, and quality control laboratories. Chemist work in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, mineral, metal, and pulp and paper industries. They also work in a wide variety of manufacturing, utility, health, educational, and government organizations.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 30 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 2585 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Chemists most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 67% of Chemists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $66,071. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$25.96

Minimum

$34.44

Median

$44.62

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,801

Minimum

$62,030

Median

$103,609

Maximum

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Hourly Pay

$18.00

Minimum

$37.80

Median

$48.46

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,568

Minimum

$60,422

Median

$107,009

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Chemists conduct research to determine the properties, composition, and principles of elements and compounds. They apply chemical principles to develop a wide range of products and processes. Biochemists study the chemical makeup of products of living matter, and the processes that happen in and between cells at the molecular level. Chemists work in research and development, and quality control laboratories. Chemist work in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, mineral, metal, and pulp and paper industries. They also work in a wide variety of manufacturing, utility, health, educational, and government organizations.

Job duties

Chemists:

  • Analyze, synthesize, purify, modify, and characterize chemical compounds.
  • Develop and run quality control programs for raw materials, chemical intermediates, or final products.
  • Conduct sample and data collection and analysis programs to identify and quantify environmental toxicants.
  • Develop new manufacturing processes and drug delivery formats.
  • Buy and sell chemicals.
  • Study chemical compounds and chemical reactions.
  • Develop, refine, and evaluate new products used in applications of chemistry.
  • Research the chemical aspects of drug action, organ function, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
  • Work with chemical engineers, biologists, agronomists, geologists and others on multidisciplinary research and development projects.
  • Provide technical advice for other professionals.
  • Write, edit, and review technical material like books, journal articles, reviews, and reports.
  • Develop and introduce safety and environmental programs.
  • Supervise other chemists and chemical technicians and technologists.

Sample job titles

  • biochemist
  • chemist
  • chemistry researcher
  • environmental chemist
  • food chemist
  • laboratory chemist
  • medical biochemist
  • nutritional chemist
  • soil chemist
  • water chemist

Skills

You must be comfortable working with delicate instruments and apparatus. The ability to concentrate on detail and to work independently is essential. You should be persistent, curious, precise, and accurate in your work. Both spoken and written communication skills are important. Computer experience would also be helpful.

Job requirements

  • A bachelor's degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a related discipline.
  • A master's or doctoral degree is usually necessary for employment as a research chemist.
  • Licensing by a provincial association of chemists is available but voluntary in Nova Scotia.

Other considerations

There are no significant seasonal patterns of unemployment in these jobs. Continued diversification of the manufacturing sector in Nova Scotia may generate some job opportunities for workers with the appropriate skills. Movement to jobs concerned with plant management, technical sales and the development and management of regulatory programs and teaching professions is possible with experience. While many chemists work regular hours in office and lab settings, non-traditional hours are becoming more common. Chemists must take safety measures to avoid illness or injury when handling dangerous materials.

By the numbers

Quick look

225

employed in 2016

91.3%

employed full-time

4.3%

self employed

52.2%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
47.8%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
40.8

median age

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

25,875

employed in 2016

91.5%

employed full-time

7.6%

self employed

20.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
80%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

76.6%

Halifax

8.5%

Annapolis Valley

6.4%

Cape Breton

4.3%

Southern

4.3%

North Shore

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

39.5%

Professional, scientific and technical services

18.6%

Public administration

11.6%

Wholesale trade

9.3%

Educational services

9.3%

Health care and social assistance

What is the age of Employment?

34.0%

35-44

26.0%

25-34

21.0%

45-54

11.0%

55-64

4.0%

15-24

4.0%

65+

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

24.2%

25-34

23.5%

45-54

23.4%

35-44

16.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

44.4%

Bachelor's degree

$66,238 median annual income
28.9%

Doctorate

$59,027 median annual income
17.8%

Master's degree

$63,902 median annual income
4.4%

College certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

33.1%

College certificate or diploma

$59,986 median annual income
29.8%

Bachelor's degree

$63,965 median annual income
11.9%

High school

$45,835 median annual income
9.9%

Master's degree

$65,105 median annual income
6.9%

Trades certificate

$57,773 median annual income

Education & training

Animal sciences - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any general program that focuses on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. These programs include courses in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Biochemistry/biophysics and molecular biology, integrated

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class includes any integrated, combined program that focuses on the structure, function, and dynamic behaviour of the components of biological systems at the submolecular, molecular, and supramolecular levels and their influence on biological activity at the cellular, tissue, organ, and organismic levels. These programs include courses in biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, molecular biology, and research applications and methods appropriate to specific topics.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Chemistry - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any general program that focuses on the scientific study of the composition and behaviour of matter, including its micro- and macro-structure, the processes of chemical change, and the theoretical description and laboratory simulation of these phenomena.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Food science

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the application of biological, chemical, and physical principles to the study of converting raw agricultural products into processed forms suitable for direct human consumption, and the storage of such products. These programs include courses in applicable aspects of the agricultural sciences, human physiology and nutrition, food chemistry, agricultural products processing, food additives, food preparation and packaging, food storage and shipment, and related aspects of human health and safety including toxicology and pathology.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Materials science

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the general application of mathematical and scientific principles to the analysis and evaluation of the characteristics and behaviour of solids, including internal structure, chemical properties, transport and energy flow properties, thermodynamics of solids, stress and failure factors, chemical transformation states and processes, compound materials, and research on industrial applications of specific materials.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Medicinal and pharmaceutical chemistry (MSc, PhD)

This program is typically offered at the university graduate level (Masters, PhD)

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the application of chemistry to the study of biologically and clinically active substances, biological and pharmacological interactions, and the development of associated research methods, techniques, and clinical trial procedures. These programs include courses in organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular graphics, rational drug design, toxicology, molecular biology, pharmacology, enzyme mechanisms, receptor theory, neurochemistry, drug metabolism, drug synthesis, biological mechanisms of drug action, research tools and techniques, and laboratory safety.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Pharmacology

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the scientific study of drug interactions on biological systems and organisms and the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, and therapeutic uses of drugs. These programs include courses in pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, drug therapeutics, drug action, bodily responses to drug events, biochemical proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis, cell biology, medicinal chemistry, and studies of specific drugs and drug interactions.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Pharmacy (PharmD [USA], PharmD or BSc/BPharm [Canada])

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals for the independent or employed practice of preparing and dispensing drugs and medications in consultation with prescribing physicians and other health care professionals, and for managing pharmacy practices and counselling patients. These programs include courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy, pharmacy practice, pharmacy administration, applicable regulations, and professional standards and ethics.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Physical sciences - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the major topics, concepts, processes, and interrelationships of physical phenomena as studied in any combination of physical science disciplines.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Soil science and agronomy - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that generally focuses on the scientific classification of soils, soil properties, and their relationship to agricultural crops. These programs include courses in soil chemistry, soil physics, soil biology, soil fertility, morphogenesis, mineralogy, hydrology, agronomy, and soil conservation and management.

There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Chemical Institute of Canada
222 Queen Street, Suite 400
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V9
Tel: (613) 232-6252
Fax: (613) 232-5862

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

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