Chemistry has been a big contributor to science for a very long time. Long before formal education. For centuries, we have been dabbling with mixtures, cooling and heating them, dissolving and crystallizing them, and doing all we can to create new substances for use.
That’s as a result of chemistry. Chemistry is the 'pure science' related to the study of the characteristics of substances, molecules, compounds and mixtures. So, when we are talking about the properties of a certain element it is chemistry that we turn to, to get an insight.
In Nigeria, chemistry lessons begin from your SS1 till you get to SS3, where you will sit for Chemistry WAEC and possibly write it in your JAMB. We said possibly because depending on the course you wish to apply to, you may be required (or not) to write chemistry in Jamb.
Nevertheless, chemistry continues to be woven deep into the fabrics of our modern-day existence. Because its application is all around us.
We have all sorts of substances that we work with or created and found a use for them in our everyday lives. They help us cook, clean, wash, etc. And also chemistry allows us to manufacture goods, mine minerals, source for energy and so on.
Chemistry is a fundamental subject, and we have just established why, for that reason, many parents are inclined to find a chemistry tutor for their child to help them attain good grades and to help them out if they are having difficulties in the subject.
If you studied chemistry, you have the chance to work in any of these industries and more, you can work in companies that provide our daily consumables, ones that watch out for our health, and ones dedicated to finding renewable sources of energy.
Careers in chemistry are very interesting as you can see, they are world-changing and magnanimous, and did we mention most of them are well-paying jobs. Yes, one of the perks of being a chemist is you get a quality job.
We will be looking at some of the job types that you can get with a chemistry degree. And some of the roles they play in society. Buckle up, this is going to be an interesting read.
The Mining Industry
Nigeria is home to a huge number of natural resources. We mine them from the Earth, from atop mountains to deep underwater. They form a great part of our economic development.
We mine for gold in Sokoto, tin in Jos, limestone in Akwa Ibom, lead in Taraba, lignite in Rivers, coal in Zamfara, marble in Kogi, copper in Kano, gypsum in Imo, bitumen in Edo, oil/gas in Bayelsa, zinc in Anambra, etc.
You will notice some of these natural resources are metals, used to produce wires since metals conduct electricity very well, others are used as building materials especially iron, the iron bar is used as a support during the construction of a building to make it more durable and stronger.
But metals are dug from the Earth as an ore, the mixture is referred to as a metal ore. It looks like a piece of rock and is a mixture of the metal with other materials that we don’t need, which makes the metal impure or even useless unless we separate them from each other. Otherwise, it is just another piece of rock.
But of course, chemistry has a solution. A process called Hydrometallurgy is used. An oxidation reaction is commenced to make the materials of the ore react with some chemicals leaving the metal untouched.
That is how you extract a metal from its ore. They are very careful not to add chemicals that the metal can react to, otherwise, it will also dissolve with the chemical solution, leaving nothing to extract.
One of the very first topics in secondary school chemistry alludes to this technique, the topic, Separation Techniques, deals with the separation of different substances that are not chemically bound together.
The metal and its ore are not chemically bound, that is why simple techniques such as those separate them, they are separated in factories where people with degrees in chemistry are employed.
The Drug And Pharmaceuticals Industry
Chemistry is very pronounced in the pharmaceutical industry. It is used in the manufacture of drugs to safeguard our health. Drugs such as antibiotics, painkillers, antacids, alkaline-based drugs, sedatives, antidepressants and so much more are all produced using chemical methods.
The production of such are learned and mastered in chemistry class, and even practiced there, chemistry students get their first whiff of lab practical at school. With real conical flasks and chemicals in it.
The chemicals may be neutralized so as not to hurt students but they are real. One of the most dangerous experiments in the chemistry lab are ones using the powerful acid known as sulphuric acid, it instantly vaporizes anything it comes in contact with. Before such experiments, the school and chemistry instructors or teachers are required to dilute the acid before it is used by students.
The pharmaceutical industry is an industry handled with the utmost care, the slightest mistake in the contents of a drug could prove problematic for a patient, hence the people concerned are well-educated and well-trained for the job.
Pharmacists, lab technicians and other jobs related to the drug industry are all graduates of chemistry courses in the university.
You-- Could Become A Chemical Engineer
The chemical engineer is needed in almost all industries, their job is to translate chemical reactions that are found naturally occurring in nature or ones that are induced in the lab into practical applications for the mass production of useful chemical compounds.
These compounds could be used to manufacture a lot of everyday items that we use in our daily lives. From cleaning agents to toothpaste to hygiene products, matches, compounds used in the production of plastic, ones used in the production of clothes (as they are mostly made from polyester), and the list goes on.
The job of the Chemical Engineer also includes finding ways to improve the processes used to manufacture these products and the chemicals used to produce them. They find ways to reduce the carbon footprint we leave on Earth.
They find ways for the processes to be more efficient, consuming less energy but doing more work, without compromising the environment and healthy people who live nearby the factories.
Many industries work with Chemical Engineers, they need them for their factories to run perfectly. Chemical Engineers have a strong background in Maths and Physics, therefore you will find them in the mining industry, medical industry, automotive industry, and likely every industry on the planet.
Become A Chemistry Teacher Or Private Chemistry Tutor
Perhaps the job with the highest job security, think about it, as long as there are schools in Nigeria, there are Chemistry teacher jobs. If you love sharing your knowledge, this might just be for you.
Many people learn Chemistry for their fascination with the subject but don’t know what to do with it after graduation, the best thing is to become a teacher.
Teachers are employed in private schools and government schools if they have the required credentials. To be an accredited teacher, one may have to pass through an NCE course and other relevant courses. And also pass an interview conducted by the school or government body.
If you have sufficient knowledge in chemistry you can also become a private tutor, parents pay good money to see their kids excel at school.
Private tutors come to the client’s home to teach the student one-on-one. Since your services are not full-time like the teaching job, you can take multiple clients at the same time, teaching them or their children Chemistry.
And best of all, you don’t even have to become a teaching professional to start chemistry tuition, try it out here on Superprof.
How Chemistry Is Improving Our Lives In Nigeria
Chemistry lessons in Nigeria taught us a lot about the value of our current economy. It has opened our eyes to see what is hidden beneath our feet and how we can extract it for our purposes.
And no doubt we are taking advantage of it, despite differing government agendas and slow progress in the country, chemistry is providing jobs for many people in Nigeria.
Take our greatest resource, for example, oil. Nigeria is now called an Oil- producing country, the sixth largest in the world in fact. Because of that, thousands of jobs have been created to extract, produce, sell and profit from those oil reserves.
We have bred and trained petrochemical engineers from our universities in anticipation for the roles they are going to play in using the oil for our development, and dare we say it is working.
Besides oil production, chemistry has been instrumental to the economy in plenty of ways. We have been able to manufacture some products in their millions, providing thousands of jobs in the process.
We have food factories, agro-chemical factories, mining factories, we have thousands of these factories operating all across Nigeria. It has helped our economy grow to one of the biggest in Africa, in 2019, we were actually the biggest economy in Africa.