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What do you enjoy most about analytical chemist work? What do you dislike the most? Is it challenging? Are there many opportunities to learn and advance?

What keeps you at your job?

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Tom in Parkville, Maryland

65 months ago

I have been working in an analytical lab for over 7 years. Mostly doing trace metals (ICP, AAS, DCP), wet chemistry, chromatography and FTIR. It can be challenging at times due to the different types of samples (plastics, ores, liquids, coatings, etc.). There are a lot of opportunities, and a lot of companies like having them, but unfortunately they don't like paying them. Salary range is anywhere from 35K - 70K, depending on education, with most willing to pay about 40-50K. What I dislike the most is Engineers not understanding how tough it can be to analyze certain samples. They think you just put the sample in the machine, push the button and Bingo- there's the result.I don't know how to do anything else, so that is why I continue to do what I do.

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cake in Lynnwood, Washington

61 months ago

Don't complain about that salary range...at my lab I'm only making $27K--and no, I'm not a lab tech. I'm an analyst. I've been doing wet chemistry analyses for three years.

It's an environmental lab so I don't deal with a lot of engineers but the clients we get are the same way. Some of them are even worse! Sometimes they don't even get the concept that we have to actually test the sample in order to give them results. It's like they think we automatically know the results as soon as they hand us a sample. They also don't get that there are 200 samples in line ahead of theirs.
I usually don't need to deal with the clients, though. That privilege is for project managers :)

But I like being an analyst. I get curious about how much of my analytes are in the samples and it is fun for me to figure it out. But I get a lot of the same samples over and over.

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Jimbo in Saint Peters, Missouri

60 months ago

I worked as an analytical chemist for sixteen years before my layoff this past February. I'm 39 now, and have been told I am too old for most positions since they want younger people who can work like lunatics and have low expectations. If you are still young get out of this field and go do something else. I want to go back to school to get a teaching certificate, something I would have laughed at five years ago, because there aren't any jobs for me in this field. I have a BS and have been told I need to "go back and get a Master's" as if I have three years to do this before I lose my house and they kick me off unemployment.

When I was in college you didn't need a Master's, I was making $36,000 in the early 1990's as an analytical chemist when an apartment was only $200 a month and you could live off $600 a month and put the remaining $1500 a month in the stock market. Those days are gone.

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loras1 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

31 months ago

Jimbo in Saint Peters, Missouri said: I worked as an analytical chemist for sixteen years before my layoff this past February. I'm 39 now, and have been told I am too old for most positions since they want younger people who can work like lunatics and have low expectations. If you are still young get out of this field and go do something else. I want to go back to school to get a teaching certificate, something I would have laughed at five years ago, because there aren't any jobs for me in this field. I have a BS and have been told I need to "go back and get a Master's" as if I have three years to do this before I lose my house and they kick me off unemployment.

When I was in college you didn't need a Master's, I was making $36,000 in the early 1990's as an analytical chemist when an apartment was only $200 a month and you could live off $600 a month and put the remaining $1500 a month in the stock market. Those days are gone.

This is illegal and discrimination.If someone told you this contact a lawyer immediately

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