Chemists conduct research and analysis in support of industrial operations, product and process development, quality control, environmental control, medical diagnosis and treatment, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other applications. They also conduct theoretical, experimental and applied research into basic chemical and biochemical processes to create or synthesize new products and processes. Chemists are employed in research, development and quality control laboratories; chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries; mineral, metal and pulp and paper industries; and a wide variety of manufacturing, utility, health, educational and government establishments.
Chemists perform some or all of the following duties:
Analyze, synthesize, purify, modify and characterize chemical or biochemical compounds
Develop and conduct programs of analysis to ensure quality control of raw materials, chemical intermediates or final products
Conduct programs of sample and data collection and analysis to identify and quantify environmental toxicants
Conduct research to develop new chemical formulations and processes and devise new technical applications of industrial chemicals and compounds
Conduct research to discover, develop, refine and evaluate new products such as those used in nanomedicine, nanoelectronics and other applications of chemistry
Conduct fundamental and applied research into the synthesis and properties of chemical compounds and the mechanisms of chemical reactions
Investigate chemical aspects of the mechanisms of drug action, the diagnosis and treatment of disease, organ function and the assessment of health
Participate in interdisciplinary research and development projects working with chemical engineers, biologists, microbiologists, agronomists, geologists or other professionals
Act as technical consultant in a particular field of expertise
May participate in the commercialization of new products
May supervise other chemists and chemical technicians and technologists.
A bachelor's degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a related discipline is required.
A master's or doctoral degree is usually required for employment as a research chemist.
Licensing by a provincial association of chemists is required in Quebec and Alberta, and available but voluntary, in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Mobility between occupations in this group is possible with experience.
Mobility is possible with experience, to occupations concerned with plant management, technical sales and the development and management of regulatory programs and teaching professions.
National Occupation Classification, (2011)
Statistics Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada,
Catalogue no. 12-583-X