Analytical chemist

An analytical chemist


An analytical chemist is a highly skilled professional who specializes in the analysis of substances to determine their composition, structure, and properties. These professionals play a crucial role in various industries, ensuring the quality and safety of products through precise chemical analysis.

Analytical chemists typically do the following:

  • Collect samples of substances, materials, or products for analysis, ensuring proper handling and preservation to maintain sample integrity.
  • Operate a variety of analytical instruments, such as chromatographs, spectrometers, and mass spectrometers, to perform quantitative and qualitative analyses of samples.
  • Develop and optimize analytical methods to accurately and efficiently analyze specific substances, considering factors such as sensitivity, precision, and selectivity.
  • Implement quality control measures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of analytical results, including calibration of instruments and regular maintenance.
  • Analyze and interpret data obtained from analytical tests, drawing conclusions and reporting findings to relevant stakeholders.
  • Ensure compliance with industry regulations, standards, and protocols governing analytical testing, particularly in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and environmental monitoring.
  • Contribute to research and development efforts, participating in projects aimed at improving analytical methods, developing new techniques, or exploring innovative approaches to analysis.
  • Identify and troubleshoot issues related to analytical instruments, methods, or sample preparation to maintain the efficiency and accuracy of analytical processes.
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records of analytical procedures, results, and laboratory activities, following good laboratory practices (GLP) and documentation standards.
  • Present findings to colleagues, team members, or clients through written reports, presentations, or discussions, conveying complex scientific information in an understandable manner.
  • Adhere to safety protocols in the laboratory, ensuring a safe working environment and proper disposal of hazardous materials.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to analytical chemist:

analytical chemistry analyst
chemistry scholar
organic chemistry science researcher
analytical chemistry research analyst
analytical chemistry scientist
chemistry scientist
organic chemistry scientist
chemistry science researcher
chemistry research analyst
analytical chemistry research scientist
chemistry research scientist
analytical chemistry scholar
chemistry researcher
organic chemistry scholar
organic chemistry research scientist
chemistry analyst
analytic chemist
organic chemist
organic chemistry researcher
organic chemistry research analyst
analytical chemistry science researcher
organic chemistry analyst
analytical chemistry researcher

Working conditions

Analytical chemists work in laboratories, research institutions, and industries such as pharmaceuticals, environmental monitoring, food and beverages, and materials science. The role involves a combination of laboratory work, data analysis, and collaboration with cross-functional teams.

Minimum qualifications

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemistry, analytical chemistry, or a related field is typically required. Practical experience gained through internships, research projects, or entry-level positions in analytical chemistry is beneficial. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and proficiency in using analytical instruments and software are essential. Continuous learning and staying updated on advancements in analytical techniques contribute to ongoing professional development as an analytical chemist.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Analytical chemist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Analytical chemist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to analytical chemist.

university research assistant

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of analytical chemist.

  • Analytical chemistry: Instruments and methods used to separate, identify and quanitfy matter – the chemical components of natural and artificial materials and solutions.
  • Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
  • Chemical processes: The relevant chemical processes used in manufacture, such as purification, seperation, emulgation and dispergation processing.
  • Statistics: The study of statistical theory, methods and practices such as collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation and presentation of data. It deals with all aspects of data including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments in order to forecast and plan work-related activities.
  • Laboratory techniques: Techniques applied in the different fields of natural science in order to obtain experimental data such as gravimetric analysis, gas chromatography, electronic or thermic methods.
  • Chemistry: The composition, structure, and properties of substances and the processes and transformations that they undergo; the uses of different chemicals and their interactions, production techniques, risk factors, and disposal methods.
  • Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing an hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of analytical chemist.

  • Perform laboratory tests: Carry out tests in a laboratory to produce reliable and precise data to support scientific research and product testing.
  • Handle chemicals: Safely handle industrial chemicals; use them efficiently and ensure that no harm is done to the environment.
  • Execute analytical mathematical calculations: Apply mathematical methods and make use of calculation technologies in order to perform analyses and devise solutions to specific problems.
  • Apply statistical analysis techniques: Use models (descriptive or inferential statistics) and techniques (data mining or machine learning) for statistical analysis and ICT tools to analyse data, uncover correlations and forecast trends.
  • Analyse chemical substances: Study and test chemical sustances to analyse their composition and characteristics.
  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Apply safety procedures in laboratory: Make sure that laboratory equipment is used in a safe manner and the handling of samples and specimens is correct. Work to ensure the validity of results obtained in research.
  • Apply scientific methods: Apply scientific methods and techniques to investigate phenomena, by acquiring new knowledge or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.
  • Identify purpose of analysis: Identify the customer’s needs and select the appropriate analysis methods that will fit a specific purpose, such as quality assurance, process development or improvement, production, and scientific research.
  • Use chemical analysis equipment: Use the laboratory equipment such as Atomic Absorption equimpent, PH and conductivity meters or salt spray chambre.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of analytical chemist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pharmaceutical chemistry: The chemical aspects of identification and synthetic alteration of chemical entities as they relate to therapeutic use. The way various chemicals affect biological systems and how they can be integrated in drug development.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of analytical chemist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Write research proposals: Synthetise and write proposals aiming to solve research problems. Draft the proposal baseline and objectives, the estimated budget, risks and impact. Document the advances and new developments on the relevant subject and field of study.
  • Record test data: Record data that has been explicitly identified during preceding tests in order to verify that the outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
  • Collect samples for analysis: Collect samples of materials or products for laboratory analysis.
  • Report test findings: Report test results with a focus on findings and recommendations, differentiating results by levels of severity. Include relevant information from the test plan and outline the test methodologies, using metrics, tables, and visual methods to clarify where needed.
  • Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
  • Calibrate laboratory equipment: Calibrate laboratory equipment by comparing between measurements: one of known magnitude or correctness, made with a trusted device and a second measurement from another piece of laboratory equipment. Make the measurements in as similar a way as possible.
  • Supervise laboratory operations: Supervise the staff working in a laboratory, as well as oversee that equipment is functional and maintained, and procedures occur in compliance with regulations and legislation.
  • Develop scientific research protocols: Develop and record the procedural method used for a specific scientific experiment in order to enable its replication.
  • Analyse experimental laboratory data: Analyse experimental data and interpret results to write reports and summaries of findings
  • Test chemical samples: Perform the testing procedures on the already prepared chemical samples, by using the necessary equipment and materials. Chemical sample testing involves operations such as pipetting or diluting schemes.
  • Manage chemical testing procedures: Manage the procedures to be used in chemical testing by designing them and conducting tests accordingly.
  • Archive scientific documentation: Store documents such as protocols, analysis results and scientific data using archiving systems to enable scientists and engineers to take methods and results from previous studies into account for their research.
  • Write scientific papers: Present the hypothesis, findings, and conclusions of your scientific research in your field of expertise in a professional publication.
  • Prepare chemical samples: Prepare the specific samples such as gas, liquid or solid samples in order for them to be ready for analysis, labeling and storing samples according to specifications.
  • Label samples: Label raw material/ product samples for laboratory checks, according to implemented quality system.

ISCO group and title

2113 – Chemists

  1. Analytical chemist – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Last updated on March 3, 2024