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Also Known As
Industrial Chemists study and apply the physical and chemical properties of substances to determine their composition. They use this information to develop new substances, processes and products and to increase scientific knowledge. Industrial chemists also work in development, production and quality control. Most work closely with chemical and control engineers.
Industrial chemists are experts in the properties and chemical structure of materials such as oil, metal and plastics, drugs, fertilisers and food. Some work in research and development whereas others work in production. They create new chemicals, devise and control production-processing methods, and ensure that the quality of products is maintained.
Some industrial chemists specialise in research and development work, which is carried out mainly in the laboratory. They carry out experiments to produce the chemical that has the right properties. Development involves making the chemical on a larger scale to see whether this can be done at a reasonable cost.
Production chemists make sure that production processes run efficiently. For example, they might have to work out how to produce large amounts of chemical as cheaply as possible. They are usually responsible for safety, quality control and staff training. Chemists are also employed in marketing and other management functions in industry.
Industrial chemists usually work alongside chemical and control engineers, who are responsible for the design and construction of production plant. Depending on the product, they may also consult other scientists such as metallurgists, geologists, agricultural scientists, pharmacologists, biochemists or food technologists.
They may carry out research and analysis to develop and test theories, techniques and processes.
Personal Qualities and Skills
You should enjoy solving problems. You also have to be accurate in your work, paying great attention to detail. For some specialisms, you may also need knowledge of engineering processes, or management and business skills.
Pay and Opportunities
Wages will vary depending on the employer and specific job description. Entrants should expect a starting salary in the region of EUR25k a year. This will increase with experience and further qualifications.
Entry Routes and Training
Employers will expect entrants to this career to hold a relevant degree . A number of universities and institutes throughout the country offer degree courses in Chemistry. Degrees in Applied Chemistry and Pure Chemistry are also relevant if they include some industrial chemistry.
Application for admission to undergraduate degree courses must be made in accordance with the regulations and procedures and timetable described in the CAO Handbook.
The Handbook is confined to giving information on how to apply for admission to the relevant institutions. Applicants should not attempt to complete the application form without first referring to the information literature on courses, which is available from the institutions to which application is to be made.
You should check with the individual Institutions' prospectuses for specific requirements.
Please see http://www.cao.ie/courses.php for information on course qualifications.
No formal upper age limit exists for entry into this occupation. Entry to relevant training may be possible through university or college programmes that relax normal academic entrance requirements for suitable mature applicants. Most academic institutions define people aged 23 years or over as mature candidates.
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Labour Market Information
Qualifax: Ireland’s National Learners’ Database
A qualification awarded by a university or college of higher education, following a course of study. A degree usually takes three years full-time to complete.
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