Chemists search for and put into practical use knowledge about substances. They may work in research and development (where the properties and composition of matter and the laws that govern the combination of elements are investigated). Chemists use their knowledge and research findings to help create or improve products. They may be involved with the production process such as specifying the kind and amount of ingredients to be used and the mixing time for each stage in the process). In the inspection area, chemists test samples to be sure industry and government standards are met. Some chemists may work in the fields of education, consultation and technical journalism.

Job tasks: Prepare test solutions, compounds, and reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct test. Analyse organic and inorganic compounds to determine chemical and physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, and reactions, utilizing chromatography, spectroscopy, and spectrophotometry techniques. Develop, improve, and customize products, equipment, formulas, processes, and analytical methods. Compile and analyse test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency and to diagnose malfunctions. Confer with scientists and engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop non-standard tests. Direct, coordinate, and advise personnel in test procedures for analysing components and physical properties of materials. Induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, and chemical catalysts for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Write technical papers and reports; and prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, and tests. Study effects of various methods of processing, preserving, and packaging on composition and properties of foods.


Where to study:
Universities: NMMU, UL
Universities of Technology: CPUT
Companies to work for:
Chemical or manufacturing industries, educational institutions, research institutions