Physical Chemist

Analyze chemical processes at the molecular level.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$39,000 – $116,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Physical Chemists do?

The Physical Chemist aims to answer one complex question: Why? Why do chemical reactions occur? Why do they behave a certain way? Physical Chemists strive to find the answers by studying materials at the molecular level to find out what makes them tick.

As a Physical Chemist, you dig deep into the microscopic world. Think of it as a thriving city, invisible to the naked eye. This city has its own rules and regulations for how it works and how it interacts with other cities, or molecules.

To discover these rules, you spend part of your time operating specialized equipment in a laboratory, and the other part in your office puzzling over data and test results. Like any other Scientist, a Physical Chemist needs an advanced understanding of physics and math to decipher test results. By determining the very nature of an atom, you can predict how it will react in a new test.

Discovering the fundamental properties of different materials has far-reaching applications. You help researchers create better medications, Engineers create cutting-edge technology, and Scientists better predict the results of experiments. Communication is a key skill to have for writing up reports or making presentations of your findings so others can use them.

It takes a sharp mind to pull meaningful results from a random selection of experiments. Your knowledge and curiosity drives virtually every industry to grow and expand.


Should I be a Physical Chemist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • 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.

  • Also known as: Chemical Economist, Chemist, Physical, Medical Product Development Chemist, Physiological Chemist

    How to become a Physical Chemist

    Most Physical 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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