How to become an industrial chemist (A step-by-step guide)

Updated 8 August 2023

Industrial chemists work with professionals from various scientific fields to solve chemical problems and make discoveries. If you're interested in science and research, this career may be rewarding. Certain education and experience requirements are necessary to enter this role, and knowing them can help you determine whether this career aligns with your interests. In this article, we discuss what an industrial chemist is, how to become one and provide a CV template and example to use when applying for the role.

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What is an industrial chemist?

An industrial chemist is a scientific professional who helps chemical engineers transform chemical discoveries into mass-produced goods. They analyse substances and compounds to determine their physical and chemical properties and use them to develop products, methods, formulas and processes. They work in various environments, researching, teaching and carrying out laboratory experiments. Some general responsibilities of the role include:

  • preparing reports detailing findings and conclusions

  • recording test results and providing feedback to production staff

  • preparing, mixing and measuring chemicals used in experiments

  • determining the properties of new materials, such as reactivity, flammability and resistance to corrosion

  • ensuring production meets deadlines and quality standards

  • overseeing automated production processes to achieve the desired product yield

  • analysing lab samples to determine their chemical composition

  • selecting appropriate quantitative and qualitative analysis methods

  • preparing directions for factory personnel that temperatures and mixing times throughout the production process

  • ensuring products meet government and industry standards and regulations

  • implementing new testing and production methods to improve product quality

  • staying up to date on scientific advancements in the field

Related: How to become a forensic chemist (Skills and qualifications)

How to become an industrial chemist

These scientific professionals have a thorough understanding of chemistry and chemical engineering concepts. To grasp this knowledge, there are certain education and experience prerequisites necessary. Learning these requirements can help you determine whether this role suits you. Follow these steps:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

The minimum education requirement necessary is a bachelor's degree in chemistry, chemical engineering or industrial chemistry. These degrees feature coursework and modules that provide you with the necessary knowledge base to succeed as an industrial chemist. Some topics include the principles of chemistry, thermodynamics, organic chemistry, introductory physics, spectroscopy, quantum chemistry, industrial polymer chemistry and chemical analysis.

Only some universities offer industrial chemist degrees. For this reason, employers seek candidates whose educational background features field-related coursework. Be sure to check the entry requirements before applying to university as they usually differ between course and institution. Most universities require students to obtain at least two to three A-levels in related subjects, such as chemistry and biology, between grades A* to C.

Related: Why study chemistry? Jobs and careers for chemists

2. Gain lab experience

These chemists can earn lab experience while obtaining their degrees. Working in a laboratory ensures you're familiar with experimental techniques and safety procedures. Some universities offer additional learning opportunities through laboratory practicum. These sessions allow students to learn multiple research-related skills and research methods in a lab environment. They also facilitate communication with researchers across the university and sometimes feature guest speakers.

3. Complete a master's degree

Most hiring managers require candidates to have a master's or doctoral degree in chemistry or industrial chemistry. Master's degrees are usually mandatory if you plan on working in applied research, independent research, laboratory supervisory positions, lecturing positions or consulting. Earning a master's degree allows you to specialise your knowledge further, which can be useful when performing your own research.

Related: 9 Bachelor of Science degrees (Plus benefits and careers)

4. Gain relevant experience

Employers usually look for candidates who have experience in a relevant work environment, such as a chemistry laboratory. Look to gain work experience as a research assistant or laboratory assistant while completing your studies. You can gain experience through internships, apprenticeships or work placements. These work opportunities can vary in length, so it's recommended that you begin searching for them in your second year of undergraduate studies. It's important to note that most employers require you to have completed general chemistry studies at a minimum, which usually encompasses the first year of university.

Related: What does a medical laboratory assistant do? (With skills)

5. Develop your skills

There are certain skills and competencies necessary to succeed, and you may develop these skills through education and experience. Being aware of the skills necessary ensures you target them in your CV and cover letter. They include:

  • Technological skills: You can use this skill when working with technology to assist in gathering and analysing data and conducting experiments. This skill also helps you to use computers, software and other devices efficiently to record and interpret your findings.

  • Analytical skills: These skills help in interpreting data and coming up with appropriate hypotheses or solutions. They also help when it comes to testing and measuring the quality of products and evaluating the success of new formulas or processes.

  • Mathematical skills: You can use mathematics and statistics to calculate ratios, formulas and other measurements. These skills also help when determining profit margins and the cost of production.

  • Communication skills: You may regularly work in team-orientated environments with engineers, chemists, managers and other professionals, so having good written and oral communication is important. It ensures you can give constructive feedback and present your findings in ways that technical and non-technical professionals can understand.

6. Search for jobs

Search for jobs using online job search websites. You can also enquire with local businesses by handing them speculative applications. Consider expanding your search to encompass commutable areas to open yourself up to more job opportunities. Although research and product development organisations typically hire chemists, there are several other settings they can work in. Other potential work environments to consider include pharmaceutical companies, chemical engineering consulting firms, home chemical product companies, food and beverage product manufacturing companies and polyurethane companies.

Related: Popular science and research jobs (With salary info)

Industrial chemist CV template

If you're interested in applying for this role, consider this CV template when structuring your application CV:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City]

Professional summary

[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional.]


(For the most recent role, list 5 experience items. For previous roles, list 3.)

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]


[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]


[Degree and major], [Name of school or university]


[Certification name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Industrial chemist CV example

Example of an industrial chemist CV:

Sophie Turner | Master's in Industrial Chemistry

07833333333 | | London

Professional summary

Self-motivated chemist with extensive experience in chemical analysis and interpretation, laboratory and composition testing and product manufacturing. Notable expertise in the polymer and coatings industry. Confident working in a team-orientated environment and have excellent interpersonal, presentation and documentation skills.


Industrial chemist | October 2020–June 2022
Chemist Labs | London

  • Performed routine analysis of raw materials and intermediates using spectroscopy and various analytical techniques

  • Troubleshot problems related to product quality or production efficiency through experimentation and data interpretation where necessary

  • Presented conclusions and findings to management and recommended product development opportunities

  • Participated in an organic engineering project that helped the company minimise waste and conserve energy by a further 20%

  • Developed new processes for manufacturing chemicals based on knowledge and understanding of chemical engineering principles

Laboratory research assistant | January 2018–September 2020
Chemist Labs | London

  • Supported research and development efforts to help with the creation of new products, processes and equipment

  • Summarised search results by preparing reports, fact sheets, graphs and tables for presentation

  • Planned, refined and executed chemical research techniques, tests and procedures

Research and analysis | Project management | Critical-thinking | Specimen handling| Product development | Inventory and supply management | Research reporting and presenting


Master's in Industrial Chemistry | Industrial Chemistry University

Certified Safety Professional, Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) - July 2021

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.


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