Careers in chemistry

Chemistry is indeed central to many areas of technology with chemical discoveries in the manipulation, detection and study of matter on the microscopic scale rippling out to a variety of disciplines. In addition, a chemistry degree and the corresponding knowledge of chemistry fundamentals serves as an excellent background for a wide range of associated careers, such as in education, law, public policy, public health and a host of others. A basic understanding of science and the scientific process can also be an inspiration for some non-traditional, successful career choices.

You can learn more about career opportunities in chemistry from the web pages of the American Chemical Society, including career descriptions, career profiles, employment prospects, and salary information. Information about graduate study in chemistry can also be found on the ACS site.

Career resources on campus

For one-on-one career advising, visit the Pomerantz Career Center at Suite C310 in the Pomerantz Center. Walk-in hours during the fall and spring semesters are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you'd like to schedule an appointment, call 319-335-1023. All services are free of charge.

Do you have a passion for chemistry? Does the prospect of discovery and innovation thrill you? Graduate education gives you the skills and expertise that can open doors to rich and satisfying career opportunities. A graduate degree also increases your opportunities for promotions and flexibility, and it can substantially increase your earnings potential. For example, the average lifetime earnings for a college graduate are estimated at $2.1 million, while they're $3.4 million for an individual with a PhD (Occupational Outlook Quarterly). A graduate degree is an investment that can pay off for the rest of your life. More information about graduate study in chemistry is available from the ACS and the Directory of Graduate Research has comprehensive data on virtually all North American graduate chemistry programs.

If you're interested in graduate school in chemistry, talk with your advisor about possible schools and specialties. When preparing your graduate application, remember that the University of Iowa's Writing Center tutors can help you with your personal statement, and your UI professors can provide valuable recommendation letters.

Student jobs

There are numerous jobs for undergraduates available in the Department of Chemistry. 

Laboratory safety monitors

Laboratory safety monitors work in the undergraduate teaching labs. They assist laboratory staff and teaching assistants by assuring that all students are following appropriate lab practices and wearing proper attire and PPE, as well as assisting with logistics, chemical refills, operation of equipment and instruments.

Student organizations

Alpha Chi Sigma is a co-ed professional fraternity in chemistry formed in 1902 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The Alpha Theta Chapter was introduced to the University of Iowa in 1921 and has played an active part in lives of many undergraduate and graduate students throughout the years. Membership is open to those studying chemistry, biochemistry, or chemical engineering, as well as related subjects such as molecular biology, ceramic engineering, nutritional science, and many others. Undergraduates, graduate students, and professors may all join.

The purpose of Alpha Chi Sigma is defined by three objectives:

  • To bind its members with a tie of true and lasting friendship
  • To strive for the advancement of chemistry both as a science and as a profession
  • To aid its members by every honorable means in the attainment of their ambitions throughout their lives

Typical Alpha Theta activities include dinner lectures, movie nights, scout merit badge days, parties, departmental mixers, and banquets. Most of these activities are centered around the Alpha Theta house, which is located just two blocks from the UI Department of Chemistry. For more information, please contact the ΑΧΣ house at 319-337-3763.

The primary purpose of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE- pronounced No-be-shay) is to assist people of colour in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional, and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related fields. Its mission is to build an eminent cadre of people of colour in science and technology.

The Undergraduate Chemical Society (UCS) is a student affiliate organization of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The purpose of the UCS is to stimulate the interest of students in chemistry and to help them develop an awareness and enthusiasm for chemistry as a science and as a profession. Students who participate in the UCS are able to interact with fellow students and faculty in the department and others in the surrounding community who share a professional interest in chemistry and chemical engineering. The network of contacts that is made through the UCS can be very valuable to students while at the University of Iowa and throughout their careers. Participation in chapter activities helps students to develop leadership, organization, and communication skills. Typical chapter activities include sponsoring dinner meetings with invited guest speakers, organizing and running a chemistry tutoring service for other students, attending meetings of the local Iowa section of the ACS and attending meetings of the national ACS organization, and participating in chemistry outreach programs such as National Chemistry Week. For more information, contact the main office at 319-335-1350.

The purpose of Women in Stem Ambassadors (WiSA) is to increase the participation and advancement of women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields through outreach to the local community as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Women in Stem Ambassadors (WiSA) is a community of women wishing to enrich their own lives and also give back to the community. We organize educational and social events for members while also planning outreach events for the wider community.


The University of Iowa Electrochemical Society (ECS) student chapter, founded in 2014, is a student affiliate of the ECS. The aim of the chapter is to promote awareness and advancement of electrochemical science and technology and includes both graduate and undergraduate students, but all interested researchers are welcome. Our mission activities include outreach, hosting visiting professionals, on-campus volunteering, and participation in international ECS conferences. Involvement in Chapter activities supports student networking and the sharing of research knowledge. The ECS conducts regular meetings and provides opportunities for student fellowships, student travel grants, student poster awards, networking, job postings, and open access to all ECS publications. Please contact Anthony Lucio ( for more information

Career resources for UI undergraduate students

The Pomerantz Career Center provides high-quality resources and services to students, alumni, and employers. The site has information designed to help you move through the various stages of the job search process, including the Handshake@UIowa website as well as information on upcoming employer visits, internships, and careers after college.

Meet with a career coach

Plan for your future.

All undergraduates can meet with a career coach to explore interests, skills, strengths, and values as you plan for after graduation.

Schedule an Appointment

Participate in a mock interview

Practice, practice, practice.

Experience first-hand what an interview might be like by participating in a Mock Interview where you can practice interviewing, ask questions about the interview process, and be critiqued by volunteer employers from surrounding communities.

Sign Up for a Mock Interview

Attend a career fair

Find your next opportunity.

Network with employers and learn more about job and career opportunities in a variety of areas right here on campus.

Attend a Career Fair

Write an effective resume

Stand out to future employers.

Learn the level of detail needed to get noticed in the applicant pool and by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software, including tips on how to format your resume, effective use of power verbs, a formula for crafting bullet points, and more.

Get Started with Resumes

Find or create an internship

Get on-the-job experience.

We'll guide you through the process of finding an internship, creating your own opportunity, and evaluating internship offers.

Find Your Internship

Explore majors and careers

Start the career exploration process.

Learn more about how your personal attributes impact potential success and satisfaction with different career options and work environments. Or, start by exploring career fields and find majors that align with your interests and skills.

Take a Career Assessment