Employment Prospects for Students

The chemical sciences are experiencing a period of high student demand nationwide. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the increasing public awareness of global climate change and its impacts, a growing need for and understanding of pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, the increasing national and regional strain on water resources, ongoing and expanding environmental remediation efforts driven by both public demand and tighter regulation, and a continued strong interest in health-related professions. A recent employment outlook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (US Department of Labor) predicts a healthy growth and replacement rate for the next decade (Appendix VPDF File Opens in new window ). 

The 2014 Comprehensive Salary and Employment Survey by the American Chemical Society (ACS) shows that unemployment numbers for chemists went down by almost 50% between 2011 and 2014. The workforce is dominated by jobs in industry (40%) and academia (39%). Salaries of full-time employed chemists depend on specific areas and are considered competitive and attractive (Appendix VPDF File Opens in new window ).

A 2015 survey by Chemical & Engineering News (a weekly news magazine published by the American Chemical Society) reported salaries for graduates with different degrees who had full-time employment. The data showed strong salaries for graduates with Bachelor’s degrees, especially in the Pacific region (Appendix VPDF File Opens in new window )

In a recent survey (December 2015), the College of NSM in collaboration with the CSUF Career Center polled alumni regarding employment history, with 58 responses from Chemistry and Biochemistry majors (Appendix V). Since graduating, 90% of the respondents indicated that they were employed in a chemistry/biochemistry related field or closely related field and 88% after obtaining their undergraduate degree; for graduate students this was 100% of respondents. More than 40% of respondents indicated an annual salary of over $100,000 with an undergraduate degree; for graduate degrees this was 50%. The majority of the graduates work in scientific research and development, pharmaceutical industry, higher education, as a healthcare practitioner. Graduate students tend to find employment in higher education or the pharmaceutical industry. In summary, the Department does a very good job preparing its graduates for jobs in different areas of the discipline and the overwhelming majority of our students get chemistry and biochemistry related jobs.