The Salary of a Chemical Analyst

by Brenda Scottsdale

Chemical analysts are detail-oriented and dedicated, spending long hours bent over a laboratory workbench, peering into test tubes. They assist chemists by running tests, analyzing compounds, writing technical papers, improving or developing products, compiling data and maintaining laboratory equipment. They typically receive an annual salary plus benefits, working a regular workweek.


The national average salary for chemical analysts was $67,900, according to the salary survey website Salary Expert. In a sample of five randomly selected cities -- Pierre, S.D., Houston, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco -- the average starting salary, which is typically in the bottom 10 percent of all earners for a particular occupation, was $57,199. The average top salary in this sample, which is typically in the top 90 percent of wage earners, was $102,683.

Geographic Differences

In the survey, the individual salary averages were: Pierre, $48,635; Houston, $74,628; Dallas, $75,097; New York, $85,055; and San Francisco, $90,909. The difference between the highest-paying and lowest-paying cities in this sample was more than $40,000, illustrating that there are large geographic differences in pay for chemical analysts. States with the highest levels of employment as of May 2012 were Texas, California, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job Outlook

The BLS projects demand for medical laboratory technologists, including chemical analysts, to grow by 11 percent through 2020, which is 3 percent lower than its projection for all occupations. According to BLS projections, there should be 23,800 more jobs for technicians, including chemical analysts, by 2020. The BLS indicates aging baby-boomers requiring medical tests will contribute to the increased demand for chemical analysts, while a sluggish economy suggests employers will want to hire chemical analysts to maintain equipment, rather than replacing it.

Contributing Factors

After high school, most chemical analysts earn at least a bachelor's degree, focusing on courses such as chemistry, clinical laboratory skills and statistics, according to the BLS. Some colleges offer a specific medical laboratory science program to prepare students for this field. Many colleges require an internship, which also gives a student practical job experience. States typically require a license, the requirements of which include evidence of completing required courses, obtaining state-specific certification and passing an examination.

About the Author

Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

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