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How much paperwork is involved with being a chemist?

I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, or rather I don't know what I don't want to be. I'm interested in science, so my top careers are physicist, chemist, astronomer, and engineer. I've found chemistry really interesting lately but it seems like there would be a bit too much paperwork and I'm not sure I would like it as much if there was. I specifically mean boring or tedious paperwork, math problems, graphing data, and other stuff like that is fine. #chemical-engineering

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Robert’s Answer

It really depends on what specific role you end up in. You'll almost always have to do some writing, but what kind and how much can vary a great deal. I've worn many different hats as a chemist, and the writing that went with each varied...and perhaps not as you might guess! For example, as a chemistry lab manual author, writing was a surprisingly small portion of the work: there was far more lab work! As a researcher, writing was a bigger part of the job, but READING was the main tedium for me. As a teacher, I wrote less formal stuff, but lots and lots of informal writing, like email. As a service tech (fixing instruments), I thought there would be little writing, but there is a lot: mostly emails and documenting what work I did. I've not done it, but I'd venture a guess that the least writing might come as a technician, doing water quality testing and stuff like that, where you are following a set procedure over and over, but then the chemistry itself can get tedious. Sometimes even in the same "job" the amount of paperwork can vary a great deal (I'm thinking of chemical waste management, where the supervisors do a LOT of paperwork but others do almost none).

I agree with the other respondents that chemists always have to communicate their results, somehow. These days that can involve little to no paper, but it usually involves at least some writing...and chemists always have to keep good records!

I don't think you will escape communicating in any of these fields, but that communication may be more or less mathematical (chemists probably have to do more non-mathematical communication than most physicists, astronomers, and engineers).
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John’s Answer

All these fields have paperwork, chemist more than engineering, although mostly in computers vs paper. If you get into more of an hands on or management position in these fields then you would have less as well.
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Michael’s Answer

Engineering and science jobs require that you write reports and document your work as do all professional jobs. If you are looking for a career with no paperwork there really are none.
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