The basic requirement for becoming a professional chemist is a bachelor's degree in chemistry or a related field. Computer science, physics, mathematics and biology classes along with coursework in organic, inorganic and physical chemistry equip future chemists with the knowledge needed for a successful career. Individuals with an undergraduate chemistry degree qualify for assistant, associate or other entry-level positions. Traditionally, they perform tasks related to quality control and testing of chemical compounds or directly assist senior chemists in their research.
More advanced positions in the field of chemistry require the completion of a master's or doctoral degree. Upon enrolling in an advanced degree course, students have the option of specializing in niche areas of the discipline such as biochemistry, nuclear chemistry or forensic chemistry. Chemistry students should be careful, however, since too much specialization can limit career options after graduation.
Chemist's must also possess strong competency in computer science, since computers are used in almost every application to analyze data and create mathematical formulations relating to chemical research. In addition, chemists must exhibit strong interpersonal and team skills since most chemical scientists work as part of a larger group of researchers. Leadership skills and strong oral and written communication abilities are also important for success in this career field. Moreover, chemists must be extremely analytical and demonstrate a high degree of dedication to their research.