Cosmetic Chemistry Degree

Chemistry plays an important role in the cosmetic industry. In addition to refining and improving old products, cosmetic chemists help to develop, formulate, produce and test new products before they hit the market. Graduates who possess a cosmetic chemistry degree, also known as a cosmetic science degree, will have the skills necessary to enter a variety of exciting careers. Besides cosmetic development, a cosmetic chemistry degree also prepares students for careers in product and ingredient testing, quality control, analytical chemistry, process engineering and synthesis chemistry.

What Steps Should Students Take to Obtain a Cosmetic Chemistry Degree?

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree- Most cosmetic chemists possess an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or PhD, that first requires obtaining a bachelor’s degree. However, some career paths in cosmetic chemistry may be available to individuals who possess only a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, engineering or physics.
  • Earn a Graduate’s Degree- Many of the leading cosmetic firms prefer hiring employees who possess a PhD or master’s degree in chemistry. Several schools offer graduate programs that allow students to focus their studies in cosmetic science. Some school offer five to six year programs that combine a bachelor’s and master’s degree programs into one so a student can graduate with an advanced cosmetic chemistry degree.
  • Complete a Cosmetic Sciences Fellowship- While not absolutely necessary, completing a cosmetic science fellowship will help to build valuable experience. Fellowship programs that focus on the research and development of cosmetics could take several years to complete, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

What Schools Offer a Cosmetic Chemistry Degree?

  • Fairleigh Dickinson University- Offers a Master of Arts in Science with a concentration in cosmetic science that focuses on the specific disciplines within the cosmetics and personal care industry. The program requires a bachelor’s degree in an applied science field.
  • University of Cincinnati- The school’s College of Pharmacy offers a graduate program in cosmetic science. The program includes classes in analytical chemistry, dermatology, toxicology, pharmacology, biostatistics, and physical chemistry. The program requires a Bachelor of Science degree in either chemistry or pharmacology.
  • The University of Southern Mississippi- The School of Polymers and High Performance Materials offers an advanced cosmetic chemistry degree program that features prominently with the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. The program requires taking an entrance exam that covers physical chemistry, organic chemistry and calculus. Students must possess a 3.0 GPA and receive an acceptable score on the Graduate Records Exam to gain admittance into the program.

Salary Expectation for a Graduate with a Chemical Chemistry Degree

The Bureau of Labor Statistics catalogues the cosmetics industry under what the bureau refers to as “cleaning preparations.” Chemists under this description fall into the $28 to $29 dollar-an-hour range on the pay scale. This wage would place the average salary of a cosmetic chemist at the $56,000 to $58,000 a year. Entry-level positions in the field start in the $30,000 range, with senior chemists making between $60,000 to $90,000 a year.

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