Chemists research the chemical and physical properties of substances and apply this research to making new materials and products.

Specialisations include analytical chemist, geochemist, industrial/production chemist, organic chemist, physical and research chemist.

Where chemists are employed

Chemists work in a wide range of government, industrial and university laboratories. They also may work in hospital laboratories or with medical and scientific research bodies, food processing firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers. They can find employment as consultants, technical specialists, patent officers and teachers.

Chemists may specialise in developing new products or supervising production. With experience they may progress to management positions.


Full-time chemists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 or more per week.

Graph of pay scales for chemist

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 183 people employed full-time as chemists in South Australia compared with 197 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a chemist you usually have to complete a science or applied science degree at university with a major in chemistry. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). Prerequisite subjects or assumed knowledge in one or more of English, maths, physics, chemistry and biology are normally required.

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities, visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

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Useful links

Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information. 

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