facebook twitter flickr you tube pinterest
Department of Chemistry at Otterbein University

Graduate School & Careers

Recent Otterbein Chemistry graduates have gone on to: 
  • Graduate school in chemistry and biochemistry at Yale, Washington University, and OSU, among others.
  • Employment in chemical industry and research labs including Ashland Chemical, Ross Laboratories, and Battelle, among others
  • Medical school at OSU, Cincinnati, and Ohio University
  • Graduate school in chemical engineering
Below are some ideas to get you thinking about some of the career possibilities for chemists: 

Industrial Chemists

The majority of chemists, about 60%, are employed in the chemical industry. Industrial chemists develop and oversee the chemical process that turns raw materials into valued goods. They are responsible for developing such life-enhancing products as plastic, synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, food products and flavorings, agricultural chemicals, cosmetics, fragrances, detergents, and adhesives.

Chemists must understand not only the chemical design of a product, but how to scale the production up for mass production. Chemical engineers are also involved in quality control, analyzing the product at various stages during production to make sure that it meets requirements.

Chemical engineers have greatly lessened environmental pollution with such innovations as catalytic converters, reformulated gasoline, and smoke stack scrubbers. Additionally, synthetic replacements, more efficient processing, and new recycling technologies reduce the burden on natural resources.

Chemists bring once scarce materials to all members of society through industrial creativity.

Government Laboratories

Federal as well as local government employ many chemists to do such things as monitor and protect the environment; fulfill regulatory responsibilities such as testing the safety and effectiveness of new drugs; and provide basic research support for industry.

Major federal agencies which employ a large number of chemists are the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and The National Science Foundation (NSF).


University professors generally both teach classes and conduct research with graduate students. They may contribute to the basic study of chemistry or work on more applied problems. Professors publish the results of their work in scientific journals and frequently interact with chemists in industry. A Ph.D. degree is almost essential for work in this area.

A career as a chemistry teacher in a high school or community college is another career possibility. The teacher has the satisfaction helping teenagers and young adults become interested in this diverse field.

Clinical Laboratories

Clinical chemists and technicians analyze of body tissues and fluids to provide medical doctors with diagnostic information. They may also develop new diagnostic tests and methods, as well as carry out basic chemistry research.

More Career Options

Chemistry provides a solid background for many other occupations. For instance, many medical doctors, forensic chemists, patent attorneys, metallurgists, and technical writers were chemistry or biochemistry majors.

Many chemists combine an interest in business with their technical knowledge and work their way into sales or management positions.

Medical school and the MCAT

The Chemistry major can be the basis of an excellent preparation for medical school and for the MCAT. All medical schools require at least two years of chemistry for admission.