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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemists in Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for chemists. About 770 people are currently employed as chemists in Tennessee. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 8% to 710 people employed. This is not quite as good as 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 $26 per hour or $55,900 per year on average in Tennessee and about $31 hourly or $66,230 annually on average nationally. Earnings for chemists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Physical Sciences in Tennessee and not quite as good as general Physical Sciences category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: bench chemist, control chemist, and pesticide chemist.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Knoxville area, including three within twenty-five miles of Knoxville where you can get a degree to start your career as a chemist. Given that the most common education level 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.

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 Knoxville include:

  • Chemical Laboratory Technician. Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemist Training

Maryville College - Maryville, TN

Maryville College, 502 E Lamar Alexander Pky, Maryville, TN 37804-5907. Maryville College is a small college located in Maryville, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,114 students and an admission rate of 75%. Maryville College has 2 areas of study related to Chemist. They are:

  • Chemistry, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Chemical Physics, bachelor's degree.

Carson-Newman College - Jefferson City, TN

Carson-Newman College, 1646 S Russell Ave, Jefferson City, TN 37760. Carson-Newman College is a small college located in Jefferson City, Tennessee. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,032 students and an admission rate of 71%. Carson-Newman College has a bachelor's degree program in Chemistry which graduated two students in 2008.

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN

The University of Tennessee, Circle Park, Knoxville, TN 37996. The University of Tennessee is a large university located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,406 students and an admission rate of 71%. The University of Tennessee has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Chemistry which graduated sixteen, three, and fourteen students respectively 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee photo by Huntster

Knoxville is located in Knox County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 184,802, which has grown by 6.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Knoxville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Knoxville are valued at $105,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-one new homes were built in Knoxville, down from six hundred twenty-seven the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Knoxville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 24.6% of Knoxville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Knoxville is 9.0%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Knoxville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, Springhill Baptist Church and Lincoln Park Baptist Church are all churches located in Knoxville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Knoxville is home to the Eastern State Hospital Farm and the Berry Hall as well as Volunteer Park and Neyland Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Clinton Plaza Shopping Center, Walker Springs Plaza Shopping Center and Northgate Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Knoxville can choose from Homewood Suites Knoxville West, Days Inn and Days Inn Knoxville West for temporary stays in the area.