Work for Water

Great Careers for a Great Cause



Average Salary: $65,683

The average yearly wages of chemists were $71,070 in May 2008. Materials scientists had average yearly wages of $81,600. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, beginning salary offers in July 2009 for graduates with a bachelor's degree in chemistry averaged $39,897 a year. In March 2009, yearly earnings of chemists in the Federal Government averaged $101,687.

Chemists study the properties of matter and understand the behavior and interactions of molecules, electrons, and ions. A water sector chemist has a complicated subject of study, because water can dissolve almost every other substance on earth. Water also behaves differently in different conditions. Water’s chemistry can cause pipes to corrode or to become so full of scale that they clog shut. Water agencies employ chemists to:

  • study the characteristics of the raw and treated water of that particular agency;
  • determine how likely the water is to dissolve dangerous metals and chemicals from the soil and pipes, and recommend ways to treat the water to reduce this risk;
  • determine how the soil, roads, and developments near a water supply affect the water chemistry;
  • correct or adjust any problems related to water chemistry.

Education: Four-year or graduate degree in chemistry
Certificates, licenses: No
Entry-level opportunities: Yes, with above education
Desirable traits and skills: Excellent science and laboratory skills; attention to detail; strong critical thinking skills
Where Jobs are Available

  • Utilities (small, mid-size and large)
  • State and federal governments

For more information:
American Chemical Society
Department of Career Services
1155 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036