Skip to Main Content

What Is a Senior Chemist and How to Become One

What Does a Senior Chemist Do?

Senior chemists do much of the same work as other chemists in a lab, but they have several years of research experience and often hold graduate degrees. As a senior chemist, you conduct experiments and analyze testing of elements and compounds for a company or organization. Specific job duties vary, depending on the organization and industry. For example, you may work on product development for a makeup company, test medicinal compounds for a pharmaceutical lab, or examine the safety of natural resources for a government agency. You may also supervise other lab chemists and lab assistants and troubleshoot issues with the research project or equipment. To become a senior chemist, you need a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related field, though many employers prefer candidates with graduate degrees. You also need several years of lab experience to work your way up to a senior chemist position.

How to Become a Senior Chemist

The qualifications that you need to become a senior chemist include a degree in chemistry and extensive experience. The level of degree that you need depends on your employer and the details of your job. Employers typically prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree and significant experience or a master’s degree or Ph.D. in chemistry, chemical engineering, or materials science. In many cases, those with a more advanced degree do not need as much work experience to qualify for a senior chemist position. Since this is a senior role, you also need management skills.