While an Associate of Science degree in chemistry from a community college won't score you a top-notch job working in a research or management role, it can start you on the road to a career in the field. According to Tacoma Community College, for example, an associate degree in chemistry provides the first two years of classes most students need to transfer to a bachelor's program and continue on into a career in medicine, chemical engineering, forensic science, pharmacology or other science-related professions.
Selective School Considerations
If your main goal in an Associate of Science in chemistry degree is to later transfer to a four-year bachelor's program, you'll need to consult the undergraduate college or university for their specific requirements. Although many community colleges provide the basic chemistry courses you'll need when you transfer, some universities may have specialized prerequisites for admission. For example, the University of California at Berkeley requires chemistry major transfer students to have taken introductory level organic and inorganic chemistry classes with labs.
Beginning chemistry students typically must take an introductory chemistry course that provides the basics of this physical science. For example, the Red Rocks Community College's chemistry program includes an introduction course with content in atomic theory, chemical bonding, stoichiometry, solutions, states of matter and measurements. Additionally, community colleges typically require majors in chemistry to take organic chemistry courses.
While you'll need to take lecture-based classes in chemistry and organic chemistry at community college, you'll also need to complete corresponding labs. Most introductory and lower-level chemistry and organic chemistry courses require students to take a laboratory class that goes along with the lecture course, often registering for both classes at the same time, as one unit. For example, Red Rocks Community College's curriculum includes a combined chemistry and lab course that includes sections for lectures and hands-on experiments.
Mixing in the Math
Core chemistry classes aren't the only courses you'll need for this type of community college degree major. You'll also need math skills for solving chemical equations. Laramie County Community College, for example, requires first year chemistry majors to take a pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry class. As Laramie's chemistry curriculum progresses, students must take Calculus I through Calculus III along with the science content.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.