Anything that can be seen, smelled, touched, felt, and tasted is made up of various chemicals. To study these chemicals is called chemistry. A chemist is a professional who studies about chemicals and how they change. They are also responsible for transforming, mixing, analysing and combining various elements and compounds to create a new chemical. There are chemistry technicians, research chemists and quality assurance chemists.
Common types of chemists
Biochemists. The one who studies the chemical reactions, composition and structure of substances in a particular system.
Organic. He studies about properties, structures and reactions of compounds with carbon. They are essential to continually improve the standards of living. They are mainly responsible for creating innovative products for daily use.
Inorganic. A person who studies the behaviour of organic and organometallic compounds.
Food. The one that focuses on the chemistry of food. This also encompasses towards the deterioration of food and how they can be further improved for consumers. The food packaging is also involved in the study.
Forensic. A professional who analyses evidences from a crime scene in order to solve the bigger picture of the crime.
Steps in becoming a chemist
All aspiring chemists should have basic knowledge of matter and its components. This can be gathered from a year in high school up to college.
Having basic knowledge, one can apply in a laboratory as a technician or as an assistant. A lab technician performs basic tasks like analyse samples and deliver results to fellow chemists. Lab assistants take care of a more clerical work like keeping equipments clean and making sure gadgets are in perfect condition.
To become a full-fledged chemist, one has to undergo the next level of studying chemistry and that is to take up an associate's degree in chemistry. A year of organic chemistry will be taken up along with other chemistry courses and a few non-chemistry related modules.
More units will be taken up one decides to work in the field of forensic or food chemistry.
Armed with an associate's degree, once can be found working as a QA technician--they test chemicals and make sure they meet the standards. They may also be tasked to correct problems in chemicals.
Taking up units in biochemistry, inorganic, and analytical chemistry will earn a bachelor's degree in chemistry.
Having completed a bachelor's degree, one can take up specialisation courses in several areas like forensic or food chemistry.
If one decides to stop at this level of education, a career as a junior researcher is waiting. They conduct experiments out of their own researches or based on other scientists' studies.
Further studies to obtain master's degree or doctorate can still be done. Upon finishing, one can work as a college professor.
No matter what level of education, always aim for rich experiences to feed a hungry mind. Always keep the need or interest to learn more in the field of chemistry to achieve more out of your chosen career.