Pesticides : Careers

Hopefully, after reading some of these pages, you will have become interested in Chemistry, and perhaps pesticides in particular.

If so, maybe you should consider a future career in Chemistry.

When you think about Chemists, a person in a white coat inside of a lab usually comes to mind. However, only about 50% of Chemistry jobs are lab based. The other half includes just about anything with even the slightest relation to Chemistry.


One of the first steps to any career, especially in the sciences, is a good educational foundation. For Chemists, a college education is almost a requirement. Almost 50% of all working chemists have a Bachelor's Degree of Science. 20% of them have Master's Degree, and 35% have a Ph.D.

$$ Money $$

What's a talk about career without a mention of salaries?

As is the case with most professions, higher education leads to higher wages:

Median starting salaries for graduates just a few years ago:

Degree held yearly salary
B.S. $24,000
Master's $33,000
Ph D. $50,800

Where to work?

There are 3 general sectors in society where Chemists work:

  • College or University
  • Federal and state agencies (the government)
  • Industry

If you are interested in pesticides, all three of these sectors are involved in pesticide research. Currently, much research is going on in order to develop safer and more efficient forms of pest controls.

Here's how a pesticide chemist would fit into these three sectors:

  • University: The pesticide chemists here would have a Ph.D. probably in either Biochemistry or Inorganic Chemistry, since these are the branches of Chemistry which are most related to pesticides. In addition to performing individual research, perhaps on new pesticides or on the effects of current pesticides, the professors would also teach classes at the university.

  • Government: In this area, pesticide chemists are needed in many regulatory agencies such as the EPA and the USFDA. Before the government can make decisions on whether to ban or allow certain chemicals, they must learn as much as possible about it. They learn about the pesticides largely from the research of their chemists.

  • Industry: The pesticide industry provides many employment possibilities for the chemist. Most pesticide manufacturers are divided into two areas: Research and Development (R&D) and Operations.
    In R&D, pesticide chemists can be:
    • lab technicians (2 years of college chemistry) who perform standardardized tests on pesticides.
    • research assistants (B.S or B.A. in Chemistry or Biology) who perform more detailed research on current or new pesticides.
    • research scientists (M.A./M.S. or Ph.D.) who try to find new pesticides.

    The operations division involves the manufacturing of the pesticide. Here, chemists could be in quality control, where they would selectively test randomn samples of the product. Chemists could also be involved in the manufacturing process itself. Chemists are needed to derive efficient means of production, and to actually see to that their methods are going smoothly.

Here's just a small sample of some companies involved with pesticides:

(Click on the companies to go to their web page.)

This completes our Pesticides : Careers section.

Return to the beginning of the Pesticides unit.