What major should I take to be a cosmetic chemist

A lot of people have asked us what they should major in if they want to become a cosmetic chemist. There are a wide variety of majors you can have and still become a formulator but these are the best.

1. Chemistry major

No doubt that the most versatile major for breaking into the cosmetic industry is a BS in Chemistry. By far the largest percentage of people working in cosmetic science have these kinds of degrees. A BA in Chemistry is also acceptable and in my experience, there is no difference between a BA and a BS in chemistry when it comes to getting hired. The jobs you can get with a chemistry degree include formulator, research scientist, quality control chemist, and analytical scientist.

2. Chemical Engineering

There are a number of chemical engineer majors who have become cosmetic chemists. However, since engineers often know about mixing equipment they usually end up in the process engineering group. These are the scientists responsible for scale-up of batches. If you like this kind of job you should get a chemical engineering degree.

3. Biology

The third most common degree for cosmetic chemists is Biology. This degree will help you get a job in the industry but will usually be in the microbiology department. If formulating is what you want to do you may have to work a few years in the micro area then try to move jobs.

4. Environmental sciences

Some cosmetic chemists get specialized degrees in environmental sciences. This allows them to get safety and environmental jobs in the cosmetic industry.

5. Any Bachelors of Science degree

While it is harder, it is not impossible to get a cosmetic chemist job with a degree in something like Physics or Anthropology. You’ll probably have to start in the role of a technician or QA scientists and work your way up but it can be done.

If you are interested in getting into the cosmetic industry and you’re just deciding on a major, Chemistry is probably the best one to pick. However, if you did choose something else and are too far along to change, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a cosmetic chemist. It may just take you a little longer.

4 thoughts on “What major should I take to be a cosmetic chemist

  1. Avatar
    Valecia Chan says:

    I completed my undergraduate degree at a business school with a degree in Computer Information Systems. My background and education is largely our General Business courses plus my Computer Information System courses. I want to re-direct my career to the path of a Cosmetic Chemist but am at a loss on where and how to begin given the lack of chemistry and sciences in my undergraduate background. Can you please provide advice on what would be the necessary next steps? Would I have to re-do my undergraduate career?

    • Avatar
      Perry Romanowski says:

      You might try the University of Cincinnati and see if you can get into their online masters program with your background. You might need to get some more science courses but maybe not.

      • Avatar
        Ayat Attie says:

        I’m a sophomore in college and my major is neuroscience, but I realized I want to do cosmetic chemistry. If I switch to a chemistry degree I won’t be able to graduate in 4 years. Is it possible to do a neuroscience major and minor in chemistry and still get jobs.

        • Avatar
          Perry Romanowski says:

          Yes, that’s a possibility. I switched from Biology to Chemistry in my last year and that took me an extra year. But you’ll have a science degree so some companies would consider you if you applied.

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