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Chemistry Majors: What jobs did you get?


Replies to: Chemistry Majors: What jobs did you get?

  • mrsrefmrsref User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 555 Member
    At the company I work for, the BS / technician job will entail doing the lab work that an MS or PhD needs done. It can get repetitive.

    In general, the BS chemist reports to a PhD., spends 80-90% of their time at the bench and writes simple lab reports.

    The MS chemist works in a group with PhD's and BS chemists, collaborates with the PhD (but usually designs their own experiments), goes to the bench to actually perform the experiment, and is responsible for analyzing data and writing more in-depth reports.

    The PhD runs the project. Designs experiments to be carried out by others, rarely works at the bench themselves. Analyzes data, goes to meetings, networks, attends seminars, reads journals, writes patents. Supervises the BS and MS chemists in the group. Ultimately responsible for all experiments and documentation.

    The chemical engineers I know have nothing to do with economics. It's all about getting the process to work in the plant: safely, efficiently, and resulting in a product with the same properties as the "glassware" prototype.
  • Mr. BojanglesMr. Bojangles Registered User Posts: 824 Member
    I think he was referring to the BS chem with an MBA as the one that involves economics. It's surely a route that a lot of people take, and will be better paying...if you'd rather delve on the administrative side of chemistry.

    Chemical engineers make bank. There's tons at my school and they all come out of their BS with 70k+ jobs and a hefty signing bonus. But that's just too much physics for most people.
    I don't want to waste any more of my life in school.

    You should really try and find an undergraduate research position in a lab. A PhD in chemistry is not really "school." You spend your first year taking graduate courses, and that's usually it. The rest of your years in graduate study will be mainly research and chemistry that you will be doing when you actually go out into the industry. You'll spend your second year most likely doing research under an advisor, at the end of your second year you will create your own project (your thesis), and then spend the next two years experimenting and working on defending your results. The defense of your findings will be what ultimately earns you your PhD. After your 1st year you're done with classes and after your 2nd year you're pretty much independent. Graduate study in the hard sciences is not the same as getting an upper level law or business degree (where you take classes throughout your stay).

    Although if you want to simply be a teacher (not a professor), then getting a PhD would be overkill.
  • maviee27maviee27 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member

    I'm a chemistry major at UC Berkeley planning on going into consulting/business. Chemistry is a good major to have for business (if you are interested in that route) because 1)it's analytical and 2)highly quantitative. I really recommend doing a business/finance/accounting/econ minor or major along with it. If your school doesn't offer minors/majors in those areas or if you don't have time, just take business classes.

    One bad thing is that chemistry majors, from my experience, are perceived as nerdy and not very sociable. Offset this with leadership and internship experience--the more, the better. You need to show that you are able to produce results effectively.

    Hope that helps :)
  • neelmed2neelmed2 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member

    I'll be joining uc davis this fall and i was planning to major in chemistry. I was just wondering if there are any differences regarding job possibilities and salaries between a BA and a BS in Chemistry!

    Help much appreciated!!
  • 1234rar1234rar Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    what did you end up doing? I am a freshman in college and right now Im a chem major with a spanish minor. But i dont see myself going to more school after I graduate. Im doubting whether or not Im in the right field.
  • MSChemist81MSChemist81 Registered User Posts: 31 Junior Member
    With just a BS in Chem you are pretty much on par with liberal arts majors that have degrees not directly applicable to business. The jobs applicable to a chem degree are low paying, dead end, and very unstable (typically temp/contract) so you get no benefits and are forced to work for a parasite agency like Kelly or Aerotek skimming off a large part of what should be your pay. I would strongly not recommend getting a Chem major if you intend to hit the job market after graduating. I also would not recommend science grad school. the MS is treated as a BS and 2 years of experience or worthless. PhD programs are a freak show of exploitation and abuse by academia often leading to nothing but endless post-docs that are a career purgatory that many willnever escape.

    The only reason to get a science BS is for professional school. Otherwise you are wasting your time and money.
  • watsonkwatsonk Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I know two PhD's in Chemistry that are still looking for work. They work as Post-Doc in school as cheap labor for professors. Their field of study is so specialized; it is good for school, but not good for industry. My recommendation is to go into Chemical Engineering; you can find with a Bachelor degree.
  • jjwinklejjwinkle Registered User Posts: 484 Member
    I have been searching online for a while for a statistically meaningful sample of people's outcomes (what they actually DID) after graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, with limited success.

    I found a National Science Foundation table ( http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf10318/pdf/tab35.pdf ), the data of which certainly involves enough people, but it is a little old (2006) and doesn't go into the detail I want. In 2006, for the 23,000 working graduates that graduated in the two years preceding 2006, 10,100 were working in the chemistry field broadly, 7,700 were not in chemistry but were working somewhere in the sciences or engineering, and 5,300 were working in a field totally unrelated.

    For detail I have gone to the Alumni Contact Center at ****.com and looked at the job histories of the 40 people there reporting bachelor's degrees in chemistry. The people may have been at any stage of their career. Of the 40, eight were graduate students in chemistry, seven were either physicians or in medical school, four were analytical chemists, somebody was a 'stability chemist' (probably an analytical chemist), someone who had gone to grad school was a research chemist, three were for a large part of their career project leaders/managers (probably related to chemistry), someone was in quality assurance, someone else was a document coordinator, two were engineers, one was a patent attorney, another a business analyst, two were in technical sales. There was a professor and two teachers. There was a 'director of men's health' who didn't seem to be a physician, a women's non-profit network director, an 'account' engineer, a chemical operator and a personal care giver.

    While I think my working experience was atypical, I'll briefly mention it. BEFORE I went to a university I worked in laboratories. I started washing glassware, but I got to do cyanide analysis after a time. After getting my bachelor's degree in chemistry, I again did analyses that were pre-set procedures. I was unsatisfied with this and in time found a job in a research setting where I developed new sample preparation methods using my chemical knowledge and ideas from literature searches. Most of my co-workers there had PhDs and did less inventive work than I did. I got what I wanted, but I swam against the current to get it.
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