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Analytical chemists work with substances and materials, researching their behaviour and reactions under different conditions. They study the chemical composition of substances, understanding their uses and limitations in a variety of areas, including drug development, forensic analysis, toxicology and quality control.
Working across a range of public and private sector organisations, analytical chemists have a highly technical role, studying samples of substances and determining their compounds. Analytical chemists will analyse samples using a variety of techniques, instruments and software.
Activities of an analytical scientist working in any particular area might include:
Highly technical and quite diverse workloads mean that analytical chemists must have an extremely broad range of technical, mathematical and analytical skills that they can call upon for any number of projects. They must keep on top of the latest developments and breakthroughs in the world of scientific services and remain up-to-date with all aspects of research and development in their given field.
Analytical chemists can be employed by a number of different organisations, including hospitals, government agencies, consultancies and environmental agencies, to name but a few. Employers will expect a strong academic background, as competition for places can still be fierce, particularly for positions in the major companies.