Consumer Product Development Specialist

Consumer product development scientists use principles of chemistry, physics and engineering to study and develop products that range from food and personal care items to medicine and medical equipment.



Look around your home and you'll see many examples of consumer product chemistry. These include products for washing clothes, dishes, windows, floors, tile, and bathroom fixtures. There are waxes and polishes for floors, furniture, shoes, and cars. Personal care products comprise hand and body soaps, hair shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes, cosmetics, and deodorants. Chemists and chemical engineers have a hand in developing all of these products. They also design manufacturing processes for both the ingredient chemicals and the final products you see on store shelves.

Sound technical skills and familiarity with the end uses of their products enable chemists and engineers to anticipate and meet their customers' needs. However, teamwork, communication, and managerial skills are also important because chemists and chemical engineers must work and communicate with other team members who are not chemists or engineers. Many of the teams include business, sales, and manufacturing personnel as well as environmental and toxicology specialists, and specialists in other areas such as government regulations and shipping. Joint customer/supplier teams are also common in the consumer products industry.


Educational Requirements

The consumer products industry gives rise to a host of career opportunities for chemists and chemical engineers at all degree levels. The focus on formulations results in more laboratory product development opportunities for bachelor's degree chemists than is the case in many other fields. There are also opportunities for bachelor's and master's degree chemists in chemical manufacturing plants and plants producing consumer products as well as in sales where they may eventually move into marketing and business management positions.

Compared to other industries, a chemist with a bachelor's or master's degree has an easier time advancing in a research career because while not the most sophisticated area of chemical technology, formulation chemistry is often very important in consumer product development.


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American Chemical Society-Consumer Product Development

Diploma Guide-Product Development Chemist


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