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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemists in Fort Collins, Colorado

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for chemists in the Fort Collins, Colorado area. Currently, 1,740 people work as chemists in Colorado. This is expected to grow by 19% to 2,080 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for chemists, which sees this job pool growing by about 2.5% over the next eight years. Chemists generally conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

Chemists earn about $34 per hour or $71,990 yearly on average in Colorado and about $31 hourly or $66,230 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences, people working as chemists in Colorado earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Physical Sciences nationally. Jobs in this field include: medical product development chemist, pesticide chemist, and product safety manager.

The Fort Collins area is home to eleven schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fort Collins where you can get a degree as a chemist. The most common level of education for chemists is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a chemist if you already have a high school diploma.


Chemist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chemists conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

Chemists analyze organic and inorganic compounds to establish their chemical and physical properties, composition and reactions, utilizing chromatography and spectrophotometry techniques. They also write technical papers and reports and ready standards and requirements for processes or tests. Equally important, chemists have to design and customize products, equipment and analytical methods. They are often called upon to maintain laboratory instruments to insure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed. They are expected to compile and analyze test data. Finally, chemists talk with scientists and engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or design nonstandard tests.

Every day, chemists are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for chemists to direct and advise personnel in test processes for analyzing components and physical properties of materials. They are often called upon to induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat and chemical catalysts for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Somewhat less frequently, chemists are also expected to ready test solutions and reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct test.

Chemists sometimes are asked to conduct quality control tests. And finally, they sometimes have to study effects of various methods of processing and packaging on composition and properties of foods.

Like many other jobs, chemists must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fort Collins include:

  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Hydrologist. Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.


Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University, 102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100. Colorado State University is a large university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,796 students and an admission rate of 86%. Colorado State University has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemistry which graduated thirty-two, six, and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

University of Northern Colorado - Greeley, CO

University of Northern Colorado, Carter Hall - Rm 4000, Greeley, CO 80639. University of Northern Colorado is a large university located in Greeley, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,925 students and an admission rate of 92%. University of Northern Colorado has 2 areas of study related to Chemist. They are:

  • Chemistry, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated twenty-one and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Chemistry, Other Specialties, doctor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.


Certified Water Technologist: The Certified Water Technologist (CWT) program represents the highest professional credential in the industrial and commercial water treatment field.

For more information, see the Association of Water Technologies website.

Protective Coatings Specialist: This certification is geared toward individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable and capable of performing work at an advanced level in both the theory and practice of corrosion prevention and control, and who are capable of performing work at an advanced level in the protective coatings field.

For more information, see the NACE International website.

Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist: Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialists are those individuals who have met minimum standards of experience, knowledge and written examination requirements as established by the STLE Metalworking Fluids Certification Committee to provide technical consultation in the field of metalworking fluids management.

For more information, see the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado photo by Citycommunications

Fort Collins is located in Larimer County, Colorado. It has a population of over 136,509, which has grown by 15.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Collins, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Collins are valued at $216,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-seven new homes were built in Fort Collins, down from four hundred eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fort Collins are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 48.4% of Fort Collins residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Collins is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Fort Collins residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Visitors to Fort Collins can choose from Carousel Properties, AmericInn Motel & Suites Fort Collins and Hampton Inn Ft. Collins for temporary stays in the area.