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Chemistry Majors: What jobs did you get?

iamsounsureiamsounsure Posts: 358- Junior Member
edited June 2013 in Science Majors
Considering majoring in chemistry.
Post edited by iamsounsure on
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Replies to: Chemistry Majors: What jobs did you get?

  • yg7s7yg7s7 Posts: 876Registered User Member
    It's always good to explore career options before you choose your major. I am still yet to graduate but most B.S in chemistry usually get employed as a lab technician or research assistant. I believe most chem graduates return to grad school within 5 years. I'm not gonna lie, it's very hard to get a job with only B.S in chem these days. Read this thread on this forum, it might be helpful.: http://www.chemicalforums.com/index.php?topic=32168.0

    Personally, I recently determined that chemical engineering would suit me better so I'm considering going to M.S in chemical engineering or transferring now if possible.
  • Either/OrEither/Or Posts: 64Registered User Junior Member
    Chemistry Jobs, Careers & Professional Development - American Chemical Society

    This site is really helpful for any chemistry major. Pharmaceutical/medicinal concentrations would most likely give you the best employment options.
  • Mr. BojanglesMr. Bojangles Posts: 824Registered User Member
    You're going to need to get a PhD if you don't want to end up doing someone elses bullcrap work. There are exceptions to what I'm about to say, but you must remember they are exceptions

    BS graduates work as lab technicians...almost always.

    Wherever you end up working, you're most likely going to be in a team under a principal investigator or team leader. Now lets say your team is trying to find a new drug that will fight drug resistant bacteria...the person with the BS will be synthesizing all of the theoretical compounds, doing the majority of the actual laboratory work. The person with the MS will take all of the synthesized compounds and subsequently test them all on the bacteria...still a lot of work. The person with the PhD interprets the data and organizes it for future publications/research projects...not that much work and they get paid the most.

    If you like doing the grunt work for less than 40k a year, then stick with the BS...but if you actually want to delve into novel research & development you should go straight from a BS to graduate school and get your PhD. Going to work for a few years is only for people who actually can't get into grad school at the time or don't know how much it sucks to just have a bachelors in chemistry.
  • yg7s7yg7s7 Posts: 876Registered User Member
    But wouldn't it be also a good idea to make some money after college before you enter ph.D program?
  • Mr. BojanglesMr. Bojangles Posts: 824Registered User Member
    Every PhD program I've looked into pays your tuition, gives you full healthcare coverage, and a yearly stipend that ranges from 20-28k
  • iamsounsureiamsounsure Posts: 358- Junior Member
    I like chemistry and all, but if I had to take any subject up to a PhD, especially something like chemistry, I think I'd go crazy.
  • starbrightstarbright Posts: 4,660Registered User Senior Member
    ^If you can't imagine getting a PhD in chemistry, it's understandable, but it also suggests you might not like working in chemistry either (I will venture a guess taht being a lab technician for someone else in chemistry would be less pleasant that doing research in chemistry at the PhD level).

    Some chemists go into law school and become patent lawyers. Some get an education degree or certificate and teach science in HS. Some go on to get an MBA and can use both degrees managing in a related industry. Lots you can do but it seems the better paying and more enjoyable professional jobs are ones that require more than a four year degree.
  • iamsounsureiamsounsure Posts: 358- Junior Member
    Yeah I'd only be getting a 4 year degree. I don't want to waste any more of my life in school. I thought I could do more with a BS though. There are a lot of small labs here that do blood work and DNA testing etc. Also what about people who need chemists in industry like paint, bleach, food suppliers etc. Surely I could get a job there with a BS in chemistry for a decent salary?
  • yg7s7yg7s7 Posts: 876Registered User Member
    How about chemical engineering? Are you interested in it?

    On a side note, I once talked to a guy who has ph.D in chem and he said his wife with a B.S in chem and MBA earns more than him.
  • iamsounsureiamsounsure Posts: 358- Junior Member
    Not really. It sounds like watered down chemistry with economics and physics thrown in. And it feels a little commercial to me and I've heard it's notoriously hard. Nope, not something I could see myself doing.

    For all intents and purposes I plan on becoming a teacher. An English teacher actually. If I can manage two majors in English and Chemistry. I just want options if I change my mind. And I might change it.

    Also I don't need to make a lot of money, well for CC standards anyway. If I could make 50 to 60K that would be a lot of money to me that I could live off. I am not materialistic.
  • iTransferiTransfer Posts: 857Registered User Member
    Become a chemistry college professor. It is such a great job. Flexible hours + great pay + doing something really good.

    Going into the research stuff is not fun unless its all in your heart. Eat, breathe, sleep about chemistry. Most of the time you will probably be reading up on current scientific journals and coming up with grant proposals.
  • mrsrefmrsref Posts: 555User Awaiting Email Confirmation Member
    I work for a very large chemical company. BS chemists are hired as technicians with a starting salary of 45K-50K. BS chemists who have been working here for 20+ years are making in the range of 60K-70K. MS chemists start at aout 55K-60K and max out at about 80K-85K; PhD's are hired at 75K-80K and max out at about 120K.
  • iamsounsureiamsounsure Posts: 358- Junior Member
    Thanks mrsref. That's some information I was looking for. What would be a technician entail exactly? I hope it wouldn't be too dreadfully repetitive. I don't like repetitive things. What would be the difference between the BSs job and the MSs job?
  • ManOfFaithManOfFaith Posts: 363Registered User Member
    Not really. It sounds like watered down chemistry with economics and physics thrown in. And it feels a little commercial to me and I've heard it's notoriously hard. Nope, not something I could see myself doing.
    Since when does chemical engineering involve economics?
  • yg7s7yg7s7 Posts: 876Registered User Member
    ^ I heard chemical engineers have to know about a certain amount economics... can't be sure though

    Lab technicians basically handle samples, analyze using instruments and report the results. You can't do your own research and will have tough time rising up the corporate ladder.

    I believe MS Chem are allowed to direct a research project or manage labs. Most people I talked to said if you want postgrad degree go for Ph.D and MS isn't really worth it
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