Requirements for chemistry perfume careers

Written by alyssa guzman
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Requirements for chemistry perfume careers
Perfumers create smells for thousands of products, everything from air fresheners to antiperspirants. (perfume image by Joel Calheiros from

Perfumers are chemists who focus on fragrance production. The U.S. Department of Labor placed these workers in the cleaning preparations sector of the chemical manufacturing industry. The work products of perfumers services households, businesses and individuals the world over in many ways. Perfumers develop formulas to produce different smells in cleaning, laundry and personal-care products, and they add fragrance to everything from automobile air fresheners to antiperspirants.

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College Degree Requirements

Most perfumer and chemist jobs require extensive technical education and a college degree in a science-related field. Employers of perfume and cosmetic chemists demonstrate a preference for individuals with college degrees in organic chemistry or chemical engineering. However, many scientists in the chemical manufacturing industry also have degrees in biology, microbiology or physics.

Other Degree Requirements

Some senior-level or management jobs may require a doctoral degree. Individuals with an advanced degree may also have an advantage when competing for perfumer jobs. Individuals with a 2-year associate degree may qualify for some entry levels positions such as lab technician or research assistant.

Business Savvy and Chemical Expertise

Successful perfumers are knowledgeable about their employer’s business objectives and production methods. Although bachelor’s degrees in science and college-level coursework provide excellent foundational knowledge for perfumer jobs, many chemists enhance their knowledge and technical abilities through on-the-job learning. Their expertise about the different aroma chemicals and their volatility and how to combine them using formulas, increases with job experience.

Industry Knowledge

Because perfumers create formulas used in consumer products, they must stay informed about the trends and demands of the consumer market. Successful perfumers attend trade shows to establish relationships with other professionals in their industry. They leverage their professional relationships to find out about market trends and consumer feedback. Perfumers use this knowledge to better develop fragrances that appeal to a diverse consumer market with varying olfactory preferences.

Sensory Requirements

Because evaluating odours is the key aspect of perfumer jobs, individuals with this job must have an excellent sense of smell. They are knowledgeable about the smell of fragrance ingredients and how to mix these individual ingredients to produce enticing perfumes. Successful perfumers also have knowledge of human and psychological behaviour specifically in the area of smells that can trigger moods, memories or emotions.

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