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Analytical Chemist
Analytical chemists examine the composition, structure and characteristics of a variety of materials by examining and identifying the various elements or compounds that make up the substances, as well as the processes and changes that they undergo. They are absolutely crucial to the pharmaceutical industry because pharmaceutical companies need to know the identity of compounds that they hope to turn into drugs. They study the relationships and interactions between the parts of compounds.

An analytical chemist also aims to develop new methods of analysis. As well as investigating which substances are present, they establish their quantities; they conduct experiments in a laboratory and write reports on their findings. Analytical chemists work closely with a team of chemists who are all specialists in their own fields.

Quality control will continue to be an important issue in chemical manufacturing and other industries that use chemicals in their manufacturing processes. Chemists will also be needed to develop and improve the technologies and processes used to produce chemicals for all purposes and to identify the presence and concentration of chemical pollutants in air, water and soil.

Environmental research will offer many new opportunities for chemists and materials scientists. To satisfy public concerns and to comply with government regulations, the chemical industry will continue to invest a large amount of money each year in technology which reduces pollution and cleans up existing waste sites.

Chemists are also needed to find ways to reduce the use of energy and to discover new sources of energy.

Satisfying Aspects
- working as a member of a scientific team
- creating or improving on methods of analysis
- variety of work

Demanding aspects
- working long hours to solve problems
- keeping up with latest developments in this field

An analytical chemist should:
- have scientific aptitude and above-average academic ability
- have problem-solving skills
- be organized and meticulous
- have patience and perseverance
- have an interest in the practical application of science to benefit society

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Physical Sciences, Mathematics
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences, Information Technology

Degree: BSc degree with Chemistry: most universities.


In addition to the required courses in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, undergraduate chemistry majors usually study biological sciences, mathematics and physics. Computer courses are essential, because employers prefer job applicants who are able to apply computer skills to simulation tasks and operate computerised laboratory equipment. Courses in statistics are also useful.

Post-graduate study:
BSc (Hons) in Chemistry - most universities.
BSc (Hons) in Applied Chemistry

A masters degree or doctorate is needed for higher positions in lecturing, research, and administration - NMMU, UNISA.

A person with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry may register as a corporate member and professional chemist at the SA Chemical Institute.

- Chemical and other manufacturing industries
- Government departments
- Non-profit research organisations
- Educational institutions
- Council for Mineral Technology
- Uranium Enrichment Corporation

P O Box 395
Pretoria, 0001
South Africa
Tel: (012) 841 2911
Fax: (012) 349 1153

South African Chemical Institute      
School of Chemistry - University of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag X3
Johannesburg, 2050
Tel: (011) 717 6741 (from 8am -13pm)
Fax: (011) 717 6779