How to become a Chemist

Chemists study the physical and chemical properties of materials to determine their composition. They use this information to develop new materials and products, to devise more efficient processes for making materials and to increase scientific knowledge. Chemists should not be confused with pharmacists (see separate entry for Pharmacist).

Personal requirements of a Chemist

  • Enjoy scientific activities, including laboratory work, fieldwork and research
  • Able to think logically and creatively
  • Aptitude for accurate work
  • Patient and able to persevere
  • An inquiring mind
  • Able to work independently or as part of a team

Education & Training for a Chemist

To become a chemist you usually have to complete a science or applied science degree at university with a major in chemistry. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For further details, visit

Additional Information

Students and graduates of a chemistry-related program may be eligible for membership of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute. For research and teaching positions, postgraduate qualifications may be required. Geochemists require tertiary training in earth science, as well as in chemistry.

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