Organic Chemistry Professor: Job Info and Requirements for Becoming an Organic Chemistry Professor
Becoming an organic chemistry professor requires extensive schooling that includes years of graduate study. Students will need to complete original research and pass comprehensive exams. Employment for these individuals is expected to increase.
Organic Chemistry Professor Job Info
Organic chemistry professors are academics who study and teach the structures and reactions of compounds. They work within chemistry departments of universities and divide their time between instructing chemistry courses, conducting research and writing for academic publications. Organic chemistry professors may also mentor graduate students who are pursuing their doctorate.
Organic chemistry professors are skilled scientific professionals. Because their jobs require delivering lectures and publishing papers, they need strong communication and writing skills. They may also need to secure funding for research projects, which may require grant-writing or fundraising skills.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for all professors was expected to increase 15% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). The best opportunities are for non-tenure track positions. The increase in employment is due to many professors nearing retirement and the growing number of college students.
The BLS reports that the median annual salary for chemistry professors was $70,520 as of May 2010. The average salary of college and university professors was higher than those who taught at junior colleges. Chemistry professors may also be employed in research and development.
Educational Requirements for Organic Chemistry Professors
While positions at junior colleges only require a master's degree, most jobs as university professors will require a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Master's degree programs in chemistry allow students to select organic chemistry as a focus area. These programs may require coursework in other advanced areas, such as applied analytical chemistry and applied biochemistry. Many master's programs allow students to choose either a thesis or research project as their capstone requirement.
Earning a Ph.D. requires years of schooling that begins with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. These programs require significant coursework and labs in general chemistry, organic chemistry and physical chemistry. In addition to chemistry courses, programs include physics and calculus requirements.
Ph.D. programs set credit-hour requirements beyond the bachelor's degree level. Students who've earned a master's degree can apply those credits toward a Ph.D. program. Students may also consider work as teaching assistants for undergraduate students while completing their studies. Although there are coursework requirements, Ph.D. students devote significant time to completing a doctoral thesis of original research in organic chemistry and preparing for comprehensive examinations.
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