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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemists in Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for chemists. About 170 people are currently employed as chemists in Maine. By 2016, this is expected to grow 9% to 190 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chemists are expected to grow by about 2.5%. 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.

A person working as a chemist can expect to earn about $24 per hour or $51,260 yearly on average in Maine and about $31 hourly or $66,230 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for chemists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Physical Sciences in Maine and not quite as good as general Physical Sciences category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: laboratory manager, cosmetic chemist, and food chemist.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can study to be a chemist, among twenty-three schools of higher education total in the Portland area. Given that the most common education level for chemists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a chemist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chemist

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 Portland include:

  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemist Training

Bates College - Lewiston, ME

Bates College, 2 Andrews Road, Lewiston, ME 04240. Bates College is a small college located in Lewiston, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,776 students and an admission rate of 29%. Bates College has a bachelor's degree program in Chemistry.

University of Southern Maine - Portland, ME

University of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St, Portland, ME 04103. University of Southern Maine is a large university located in Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,930 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Southern Maine has a bachelor's degree program in Chemistry which graduated eight students in 2008.

Bowdoin College - Brunswick, ME

Bowdoin College, 5700 College Station - President's Office, Brunswick, ME 04011-8448. Bowdoin College is a small college located in Brunswick, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,723 students and an admission rate of 19%. Bowdoin College has 2 areas of study related to Chemist. They are:

  • Chemistry, bachelor's degree.
  • Chemical Physics, bachelor's degree.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Standish, ME

Saint Joseph's College of Maine, 278 Whites Bridge Rd, Standish, ME 04084-5236. Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a small college located in Standish, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,771 students and an admission rate of 78%. Saint Joseph's College of Maine has a bachelor's degree program in Chemistry.

University of New England - Biddeford, ME

University of New England, 11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford, ME 04005. University of New England is a small university located in Biddeford, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,939 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of New England has a bachelor's degree program in Chemistry which graduated one student in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LICENSES

Specialist in Chemistry-SC (ASCP)

Licensing agency: American Society of Clinical Pathologists
Address: Director, Board of Registry, P.O. Box 12270, Chicago, ME 60612-0270

Phone: (312) 738-1336
Website: American Society of Clinical Pathologists Director, Board of Registry

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.