Chemist Job

Chemist job description  

The chemist designation covers a lot of ground—from research and development, to sales representative, and including production and quality control. In the lab, chemist are in charge of analyzing the properties of molecules and creating new reactions. In the plant, they design and optimize continuous production facilities, while ensuring compliance with environmental and safety standards. Chemist can also be in charge of marketing chemicals. Regardless of their duties, such professionals often supervise a team of technicians.

Main duties of the chemist 

  • Conduct economic and technical feasibility studies in the chemical, pharmaceutical, oil, pulp and paper, cosmetics, food and other processing industries
  • Conduct research to develop or improve processes, reactions and chemicals
  • Evaluate chemical process technology and materials and determine production specifications
  • Design and test chemical processing materials, facilities and related processes
  • Oversee the construction, modification, operation and maintenance of pilot facilities, processing units or facilities
  • Set up and conduct quality control programs, operating procedures and control strategies to ensure consistency and compliance with standards as regards raw materials, products, waste products and emissions
  • Prepare contract documents and evaluate proposals for industrial construction work
  • Supervise technicians, technologists and other engineers
  • Handle administrative tasks, for example, in the development of guidelines and specifications for the handling of dangerous chemicals, environmental protection or standards for foods, materials and consumer goods

Education to be a chemist

A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering is a minimum, with possibly a minor in the area you want to specialize in. Most chemists currently have a master’s degree, however. The profession of chemist is regulated. In order to practise, you need to belong to your province’s association of professional chemical engineers.


  • Know the basic chemical “alphabet,” the periodic table of the elements
  • Anticipate the interactions of various chemicals
  • Be fluent in the use of chemical engineering-specific software and equipment
  • Be able to explain complex problems using non-scientific terms
  • Write clear and accurate reports


  • Eye for detail
  • Patience
  • Thoroughness
  • Ability to adapt
  • Independence and organization skills
  • Interpersonal skills

Career path

The typical path involves managing a laboratory or unit. Many chemists take courses in administration during their careers. Others prefer to act as experts, in court, for example, as part of a trial.

Sources: Job Futures Québec network