Analytical chemists work to determine all the many components of a given substance. They study the structures, compositions, reactions and the nature of specific substances by looking at different compounds and elements. Pharmaceutical companies, large employers of analytical chemists, rely on these scientists to decipher compounds that they will later use in developing new drugs.
The starting salary of an analytical chemist with one to four years of experience ranges from $37,000 to $50,000 per year. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average starting salary of an analytical chemist is $71,070 per year, with an average hourly wage of $34.17.
Salary by Experience
Once a chemist has garnered between five and nine years of experience, salaries begin to rise. At this point, she can expect to earn about $44,000 to $61,000 per year. After 10 or more years experience in the field, an analytical chemist can expect to earn a salary between $50,000 and $82,000 annually.
Salary by Industry
If you're a recent Ph.D. graduate looking to embark on a career in analytical chemistry with an above average salary, selecting the right industry is key. Choosing the right one could spell higher income, both short-term and over the course of a career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Federal Executive Branch is the industry with the highest average salary for analytical chemists at $98,060 per year. This industry is notably the fourth highest employer of analytical chemists. Other high paying industries include Oil and Gas Extraction, at $81,440 per year; Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing, at $80,280; Computer Systems Design and Related Services, at $80,260; and Scientific Research and Development Services, at $79,560.
Salary by State
Geography is the next important factor when considering salaries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the District of Columbia as a hot spot for analytical chemists, with the majority earning an average salary of $107,590 per year. Next in line is Maryland, at $92,070 per year; Delaware, at $85,880; New Hampshire, at $82,790; and Massachusetts, at $81,340.
The job outlook for analytical chemists is somewhat competitive. A Ph.D. is largely a prerequisite in order to be competitive at securing a promising first job, especially in a slow economy. However, with recent advancements and breakthroughs in genetics, there will be a higher potential for analytical chemists competing in the job market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for chemists as a whole will increase by about nine percent between 2006 and 2016.