Materials Chemist

Tweak the composition of materials to make them better.
picture of Materials Chemist

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$39,000 – $116,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Materials Chemists do?

A job as a Materials Chemist takes “getting down to basics” to a whole new level. Working in the materials science discipline, a Materials Chemist looks at the relationship between how a material is constructed and how it performs. As with other Chemists, a Materials Chemist is always looking for ways to make something better.

As a Materials Chemist, you work for research companies, academic research departments, and private companies, investigating cause-and-effect relationships. Using your extensive coursework in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, applied physics, and engineering, you make products stronger. Together with Physicists, Engineers, and other Scientists, you do work that often provides the basis for inventions that improve everyday life.

For example, an auto manufacturer wishes to introduce an affordable vehicle that will not rust. Given the varied weather and driving conditions in the world, this is not an easy task. You’re hired to research the properties of steel to determine if this is possible. Through a variety of experiments, trial and error, and a lot of determination, you discover that it is.

By isolating a particular molecular bond found in steel, you can alter its composition and change the way it responds to outside factors. So instead of steel rusting when exposed to water and salt, it remains unchanged.

Determination, persistence, and patience are all essential qualities in a Materials Chemist. Experiments put your scientific background to good use, but those characteristics make your work enjoyable. Solving mysteries and inventing new products — what more could a self-proclaimed science nerd ask for in a day’s work?


Should I be a Materials Chemist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Materials Lab Technician, Polymer Materials Consultant

    How to become a Materials Chemist

    Most Materials Chemists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aea9cl&chl=|certificate+%286%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2877%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%2814%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,77
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