Analytical Chemistry Jobs: A branch of a Chemistry Career
If you have an interest in Chemistry, this blog post is for you. From helping you understand Analytical Chemistry to outlining the type of qualifications you will need, the Job Mail team explores what Analytical Chemistry jobs entail and what you will need to be successful.
What Exactly Is Analytical Chemistry?
Analytical chemistry involves the study of a substance in order to determine what that substance is composed of. Using a range of methods, a professional within this field of chemistry will investigate the chemical nature of a substance.
This understanding of a substance’s chemical nature also allows those within these types of chemistry jobs to understand how (and why) a substance reacts in different conditions (or environments).
“Analytical Chemistry is the study of the composition of materials and the development of new methods for doing this.”
A Career in Analytical Chemistry
Analytical Chemistry vacancies are found in a number of areas and industries. An example of this can be seen in the pharmaceutical industry where professionals within this field of chemistry is involved in the development of drugs – from the chemical and physical properties of the formulations, to the determination of both the stability as well as the quality of the drug being produced.
A trained professional can find employment in a range of areas and fields including toxicology, process development, forensic or chemical analysis, product validation and quality control, to name but a few examples.
Depending on the area or field you work in, the samples you work with will vary to include everything from medications and blood, to mineral rocks and even insecticides.
Professionals with these types of chemistry jobs can be found in either the laboratory where you will conduct experiments and tests, working with various substances. From here, the data gathered in the lab needs to be analysed. This is done using advanced software.
According to PayScale, an Analytical Chemist in South Africa earns an average early income of R 171 953.
Your Tasks and Responsibilities
Depending on the field you work in, the responsibilities and tasks associated with Analytic Chemistry jobs vary.
Some of the tasks and duties that might be associated with Analytical Chemistry jobs can include the analysis of samples obtained from a range of sources in order to provide information and data relating to the compound (as well as the quantity of the compound) found.
Professionals within this field will also be tasked with applying analytical techniques as well as instruments, and the interpretation of the information or data obtained through the experiments conducted. Note that both the analyses and interpretation of the data obtained is done in such a way as to meet the strict guidelines of the field or area you work in.
You will also be responsible for the accurate reporting of scientific results, the validation of both methods as well as the equipment used, and working as part of a team and alongside cross-functional teams.
Some Personal Traits to Help You Along the Way
If you have a passion for chemistry and chemistry jobs, and the desire to both investigate and solve complex issues and problems, Analytical Chemistry vacancies might be the perfect fit for you.
Characteristics that will help you in this career include outstanding organisational skills, the ability to work in a team as well as with other teams, a methodical approach to problem solving and a dash of creativity.
You will also be required to work with advanced equipment and data, so technology skills and a finely tuned eye for perfection and numeracy is also a plus.
Different Industries of Work
Because science and chemistry are such a large part of our daily lives, Analytical Chemist jobs can be found a range of exciting industries. Some of these companies where Analytic Chemists are employed include Food, Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical and Argochemical companies.
Other organisations that make use of these professionals include Environmental Agencies, Government agencies and Laboratories with a focus on Public Health, and even Laboratories at Hospitals, to name but a few examples.
Studying Towards a Qualification
If you are interested in becoming an Analytical Chemist, South Africa offers a range of tertiary education institutions with great training programmes.
The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University offers a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry. A three year study programme, students will cover subjects that range to include everything from Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, to Polymer Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.
Upon successful completion, students are able to fill roles that range from Analytical Chemistry jobs to laboratory managers.
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) also offers a National Diploma in Analytical Chemistry. TUT also offers further education in the form of a Bachelor Degree in Technology in Chemistry, a Masters in Technology in Chemistry and a Doctors in Technology in Chemistry.
Should you be interested in Chemistry jobs that are not only in the field of analytical chemistry, you can also study towards a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (BSc) at an institution like the University of the Witwatersrand. Also a three year programme, this qualification opens the door to not only Analytical Chemistry vacancies, but also Pharmacology, Forensic Toxicology, Chemical Engineering and even Research Science vacancies.
You can also find relevant training programmes at other tertiary education institutions including the Durban University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.
Analytical Chemistry Internships and Bursaries
Work experience will also play a role when it comes to finding chemistry jobs. Completing your qualification at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for example entails gaining work experience during the third year of your studies. This will allow you to get hands-on experience within the field and apply what you have learned during your studies.
Also keep an eye out for different bursaries in the field of science and chemistry. The Anglo Platinum Limited Bursary Scheme for example caters for both a University as well as a Technical University study route in Analytical Chemistry. You can learn more about bursaries by visiting the Graduates, Scholarships and Bursaries page on the Anglo American Website.