"Be a physical chemist, an organic chemist, an analytical chemist, if you will; but above all be a Chemist." -Ira Remsen

There are few topics or academic disciplines that are as important as chemistry. While not profoundly studied by many, chemistry helps us better understand the natural world and develop an appreciation for everything we have on planet earth. It's worth mentioning that since chemistry is such an essential topic, there are various types of chemistry such as organic, inorganic, pharmaceutical, and analytical.

Subjects of chemistry are separated so that individuals can dive deeper and develop a more thorough knowledge of a specific characteristic of organic matter.

Without further ado, in today's article, we'll focus on what analytical chemists do, how they become skilled to work in their domain, and some tips and tricks to help them successfully understand analytical chemistry.

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Understanding the Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry

analytical chemistry
Analytical chemists use different tools and instruments to separate, quantify, and identify matter. (Source: Unsplash)

Analytical chemistry is one of the most popular sectors of chemistry. It can be defined as the science of obtaining, processing, and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter. Therefore, a lot of research is necessary to determine how a specific topic is composed and how it can work with other scientific elements.

Most chemists are familiar with or have worked in analytical chemistry because it is such a broad topic. In addition, an analytical scientist spends a lot of time in the laboratory using equipment to conduct their scientific studies.

Analytical scientists use the following methods to get to the bottom of their results:

  • Separation, 
  • Identification, 
  • Quantification. 

The previously mentioned methods may be used alone or combined to fully collect the necessary data from comprehending an aspect of organic or inorganic matter.

Working as an analytical chemist is quite complex because it requires a lot of previous knowledge about chemistry and other scientific disciplines. 

Analytical chemistry consists of classical, wet methods and modern, instrumental techniques that haven't existed for too long. However, analytical chemists are well aware of utilising technology to help them find how much matter there is.

All in all, analytical chemistry is practically the most "traditional" type of chemistry that comes to mind when we think of scientists working in the lab trying to figure things out.

The Process of Becoming an Analytical Chemist

Now that we're a little more familiar with the standard definition of an analytical chemist, the next question we will answer is, what is required to become an analytical chemist?

At times the educative process of becoming an analytical chemist may differ depending on where a person lives and their previous knowledge of chemistry; however, for the most part, working as an analytical chemist requires the same steps. Such as?

First and foremost, during the last few of secondary school, if you are considering a career in chemistry, your academic advisors will convince you to take as many scientific disciplines as possible such as biology, chemistry, physics, and maths. In most cases, to be accepted to higher education programmes that hone chemistry skills, it is necessary to have received good results in the sciences at a GCSE or A-Level.

Secondly, to become eligible for entry-level positions in analytical chemistry, a BSc degree from a qualified UK or international university is required by most employers. While a chemistry BSc or MSc are more greatly favoured, some job openings in analytical chemistry may accept applicants with a physics or maths degree.

Also, it's important to state that those working in the research field of analytical chemistry may be required to have an MSc or PhD for any job position. That's because although analytical chemistry is briefly studied during a general chemistry degree, specific knowledge of the subgenre is more carefully honed during graduate education at qualifying UK universities.

Therefore, before concluding this section, it's valid to mention that since analytical chemistry is such a specific field of study, a university degree is always necessary, along with an affinity for research and a love of science.

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Employment Positions Available for Analytical Chemists

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Professional chemists often wear lab coats and work in institutes where research is conducted. (Source: Unsplash)

After the process of garnering a BSc, MSc or PhD degree from a UK-based university, the next major life decision that you will make involves finding a job that will exploit your talents as an analytical chemist. Nonetheless, with so many different employment positions available, it may be quite an overwhelming process for analytical chemistry majors to find a job best suited for them.

So, to refine the overall process and make it much more accessible, the following are a few sectors where analytical chemists may find work:

  • Food inspection, 
  • Pharmaceuticals, 
  • Water purification, 
  • Legal jobs,
  • Medicine, 
  • Research and development,
  • Academia. 

Those with a degree in analytical chemistry have so many options that are open to them in the previously mentioned sectors. For example, some analytical chemists have become teachers, created their businesses, or worked in the government. Studying analytical chemistry is a slam dunk with various possibilities since your expertise can be utilised across multiple fields.

The Job Tasks of Analytical Chemists

working as a chemist
The job responsibilities of an analytical chemist may vary based on the company or institute they work for; however, they may scientifically analyse the organic matter in the lab. (Source: Unsplash)

Since analytical chemistry is a vast field with many employment options, every analytical chemist may complete different job tasks. The employment responsibilities of an analytical chemist may depend on the following factors:

  • The type of sector they found employment in, 
  • The years of seniority they have at their place of work,
  • The unique training they received during university. 

However, though the job responsibilities may change from one place to the next, it's important to state that since analytical chemists were hired for the education they received along with their title, the following are the most common daily work tasks of an analytical chemist:

  • Performing qualitative and quantitative analysis,
  • Sampling, defining, isolating, concentrating, and preserving different types of samples,
  • Verifying results through calibration and standardisation, 
  • Performing separations based on differential chemical properties that have been observed, 
  • Creating new ways to make measurements logical, 
  • Interpreting data in a proper context,
  • Communicating results and conclusions to other scientists who are working in the same field or similar.

While the previously mentioned job tasks are the most typical, those with a specialisation in analytical chemistry should be prepared to conduct laboratory research, perform process and product development, design instruments used for analysis, or teach analytical chemistry topics.

By knowing the responsibilities of future employment positions and what employers will require of analytical chemists, those who are considering a career in analytical chemistry are more rightfully prepared from the start.

But, what are some tips and tricks to help analytical chemistry students successfully ace their exams or continue to progress professionally? Read the following subheading to uncover the answer!

Tips and Tricks to Successfully Understand Analytical Chemistry

Albeit complex and incredibly vast, analytical chemistry is worth studying since you will experience more benefits than sacrifices in the learning process. Nonetheless, it's important to state that since analytical chemistry is quite common, there are many tips and tricks available from experts in chemistry to make the process more manageable and enjoyable.

Without further delay, the following are three fantastic tips to make studying analytical chemistry more comprehensive:

  • Be an Active Learner: throughout all your years learning analytical chemistry, you will always acquire new understandings; however, in the beginning, it is essential to be an active learner who pays attention during class, writes notes, reviews lesson information beforehand and after, and who asks various questions to their instructors. Taking an active interest in your education sets you apart from others and allows you to appreciate analytical chemistry more fully.
  • Take Advantage of Online Resources: although textbooks are filled with helpful information to comprehend analytical chemistry in practical ways better, it's worth mentioning that some videos and websites explain things in a much more engaging manner. Try watching YouTube channels that specialise in analytical chemistry topics or refer to websites such as Khan Academy and BBC Bitesize.
  • Hire a Private Chemistry Tutor: since there are so many chemistry tutors working around the UK, it is straightforward to find an instructor specialising in analytical chemistry who is willing to conduct lessons either in-person or online. The expertise provided by an analytical chemistry tutor is well-received by students because it helps them progress and receives support tailored to their unique needs. In addition, personal chemistry teachers are affordable and readily available on sites such as Superprof.

By following the advice from the previously mentioned list, an aspiring analytical chemist will be equipped with everything they need to land a job in their sector or correctly assimilate complex new information.

In conclusion, if you have an affinity for chemistry and desire to study it more analytically, we remarkably suggest exploring a career in analytical chemistry. We are confident that the advice and information in today's article were enough to help guide you in your decision.

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.