Article by: Perry Romanowski

Many of the Research and Development jobs in the cosmetic industry are held by people who have degrees in chemistry. In fact, if you are interested in working as a cosmetic scientist the best degree to get would be a degree in Chemistry. But there are options for people who did not study chemistry in college. Here is a list of some of those jobs.  lab-techs

Microbiologist – This job involves evaluating the efficacy of formulation preservative systems, recommending preservatives, and developing test methods.  It is typically held by someone with a biology degree.

Regulatory Affairs – If you liked the idea of being a lawyer but didn’t want to spend the extra time required to go through law school then working as a regulatory scientist is the way to go.  These people keep up on the latest rules coming out of various regulatory bodies around the US and the world and make rules on what ingredients can be safely used in formulations.  These jobs can be held by people with any science degree or even non-science degrees.

Quality Control – QC or QA scientists are responsible for testing samples to ensure they meet specifications set up during the product development phase.  They collect samples and run them through a variety of instruments.  While many QC scientists have chemistry degrees, they can also hold other science degrees like biology or physics.

Claims Substantiation – In this job, you are required to design experiments that can support claims that your company wants to make about their various products.  It takes a high level of creativity and can be done by anyone with a science background.

Sensory Scientist – These scientists help determine the ways that your products will interact with consumers and give suggestions on how to modify formulas to make them better.  People with biology degrees are more likely to hold these jobs.

Data Entry – Not all the work in a lab requires science backgrounds and data entry is one such job.  These workers take data created by the QA/QC department or they manage formula entry into the system.  While scientists can do this work, it can also be done by people with computer science or other college degrees.

Process Engineer – If you are more interested in equipment and product scale-up then a process engineering job is for you.  These scientists help move the formulations from the lab to the production plant.  They also have to travel a bit and monitor production at different facilities.  To get a job like this you’ll want to get a degree in chemical engineering.

Innovation – Coming up with new product ideas and creating prototypes is the job of people in the innovation group.  While it helps to have a chemistry degree to be in an innovation group at a cosmetic company, it is not required.  Having any science degree is helpful but you can also thrive with a background in anthropology, business, or fine arts.

Technician – The technician helps the formulators create their batches.  In fact, they probably make and test more batches than the actual formulator.  They don’t need chemistry backgrounds or even necessarily a four year college degree.  Having an interest in the products and some after-high school education is a plus.

Management – Managers are needed to keep everything running smoothly.  Companies often like to hire people with business degrees rather than chemistry degrees to be their managers.  The ideal candidates for these roles will have science degrees and business degrees.

During the month of March we focusing on a cosmetic science career.  If you are interested in more about having a career as a cosmetic chemist, be sure to see our page on cosmetic science career.

2 comments

  1. Robert Zonis

    I’m going to add another two jobs:

    Fragrance Developer – A degree in chemistry, while somewhat helpful, is not required for this job. It does require, however, that you have a good, and trainable to be better, sense of smell. A great deal of training is required for this job in order for you to understand the fragrance ingredients. I think FIT has a program, or it can be acquired on-the-job.

    Product Development/Marketing Liason – This is actually a job with a foot in both worlds, one in marketing, and one in R&D. The function of someone doing this job is to transform the ideas and innovations coming from the Marketing/Innovation folks into real world specifications and product parameters. In some cases, this job is also involved in project planning. Doing this requires working with finance, marketing, packaging, R&D, production, legal, and other departments as needed. It also requires you to get along with just about everybody. To get a job like this, you can have either a science background or a marketing background, but you need to have at least an appreciation of the work the other side does.

    1. Perry Romanowski

      Great additions Robert!

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