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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemists in Las Cruces, New Mexico

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for chemists in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area. About 260 people are currently employed as chemists in New Mexico. By 2016, this is expected to grow 18% to 310 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.

Chemists earn about $28 hourly or $58,420 yearly on average in New Mexico and about $31 per hour or $66,230 annually on average nationally. Incomes for chemists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Physical Sciences in New Mexico, and not quite as good as the overall Physical Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: process chemist, research and development chemist, and research scientist.

There are six schools of higher education in the Las Cruces area, including one within twenty-five miles of Las Cruces where you can get a degree to start your career as a chemist. Chemists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Las Cruces include:

  • Astronomer. Observe, research, and interpret celestial and astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge and apply such information to practical problems.
  • 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.
  • 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.


New Mexico State University-Main Campus - Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico State University-Main Campus, 2850 Weddell Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001. New Mexico State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,198 students and an admission rate of 61%. New Mexico State University-Main Campus has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemistry which graduated nine, six, and three students respectively 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.


Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico photo by Yassie

Las Cruces is situated in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 91,865, which has grown by 23.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Las Cruces, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Las Cruces are valued at $133,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Las Cruces, down from nine hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Las Cruces are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.4% of Las Cruces residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Las Cruces is 5.6%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Las Cruces residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.3%, is more than both the national and state average. Mesilla Park Baptist Church, Greater Saint John Church of God in Christ and Valley View Baptist Church are among the churches located in Las Cruces. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Las Cruces is home to the Mesquite Street Original Townsite Historic District and the Walden Hall as well as Frenger Park and Preciado Park. Visitors to Las Cruces can choose from Scoggin Blue LLC, SpringHill Suites Las Cruces and Villa Del Telshor Apartments & Corporate Suites for temporary stays in the area.