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Topic: Chemistry Jobs/Pay  (Read 31063 times)

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RLA_100

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Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« on: September 27, 2004, 12:34:48 PM »
Hi,

I'm a 2nd year college student majoring in chemistry. How does the outlook look in the next few years for jobs in the chemistry industry? I live in Hawaii, however plan on moving to the mainland United States after I graduate. I plan on getting my PhD in chemistry.

I feel as if I’m going out on a limb majoring in chemistry, because I usually receive high marks in the humanities classes, without as much effort. I really enjoy chemistry though. And I’ve wanted to be a chemist since I was in grade school. I'm a certified computer repair technician (worked for the big companies). So me starting off new in the science industry am a bit risky - but I feel a career, as a research scientist would be more fulfilling for me.

So basically i'm just wondering what are some of your jobs? Do you feel the pay I adequate? What the career everything you expected?  Thank you very much.

Rio

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2004, 02:03:30 PM »
From what I hear, the chemistry job market is down a bit since there were a couple of big mergers last year.  However, I think that employees in the chemical industry routinely have a much lower unemployment rate than the rest of the population.  There may be some dependence on what Congress decides to do about allowing drugs to come from Canada, etc. and whether or not they decide to heavily subsidize drugs sold in the US.  The former would probably be bad, the latter good, in terms of the industry.  I'll be looking to get a job in industry in a few years and I'm really not that worried about it.  I am hoping that I will hit the market at the time of an upswing and not a downturn (since the downturn is now, apparently).

If you're interested in academics, the market is more consistent, but smaller.  There are far fewer jobs to be had and professors tend to stay in them for a long time.  Some years there will be a few positions, other years not.  For most any academic position you will have to do a postdoc after your PhD.  A postdoc will help for industry too, but it's not really the "requirement" that it is for academics.

Offline Mitch

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2004, 03:10:40 PM »
In bussiness, even Chemistry, it boils down to who you know.
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RLA_100

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2004, 05:56:47 PM »
Have you ever had a second thought, or wished you majored/majoring in something else?

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2004, 07:42:58 PM »
Personally, I have not.  I really enjoy chemistry and I think it's just fortunate for me that I have a good chance to get a very good job doing what I like.

One good alternative would be chemical engineering though.  I don't think that as much education is required so you don't have to necessarily put up with grad school, etc. (although you can and it probably helps).

RLA_100

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2004, 08:04:57 PM »
Is a BS in Chemistry all you need to become a Chemical Engineer? A lot of the job listings on monster.com just seem to require a BS in Chemical Engineering or Chemistry.

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2004, 05:31:07 AM »
I dont think a BS Chemistry would be ABET-accreditated as an equivalent to a BS Chemical Engineering Degree. Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are two very different field. In fact, chemistry takes a very small weightage in a chemical engineering degree.

In the end, it depends what your employer is looking for. It hardly matters if u have a chemistry or chemical engineering degree if your job scope is sales (for example). I know a BS Chemistry qualifies for admission to a MS Chemical Engineering..
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline hmx9123

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2004, 02:23:21 PM »
Just a few quick comments:

1. Go with what you love; don't go for tons of money--you won't be as happy.

2. Out of your three choices, chemistry, humanities and computer repair technician, chemistry is the least risky choice.  You will float from job to job making above minimum wage with no career advancement unless you're lucky if you're in the computer repair business, and you'll be lucky to have a job at McDonald's as a humanities major.

3. Sadly, chemistry requires a lot of education for little returns; a BS in chemical engineering will start you off with almost as much money as a PhD in chemistry, and generally a BS or even and MS in chemisty won't get you s#*$.  You pretty much have to have a PhD if you want to do anything cool.  If you've got a BS, you can work at Sigma Aldrich and melt salt all day or be a janitor for Monsanto or Merck.  If you have an MS, you get to run an HPLC all day, or take IRs of shampoos for quality control.  The truth is that no one is hiring bench chemists with BSs anymore, which is a shame.  If you want to do research, you pretty much need a PhD.

4. This should all be taken with a grain of salt, as I'm slightly jaded, and all of this is just my opinion.

5. Chemical engineers know and do very little chemisty on average.  They do some difficult flow-control problems, but not much if anything in the way of real chemical research.  If you become a chemist, you generally figure out how to do things in the first place.  You can work at a college or university, nearly picking your location from a number of smaller schools, although the market for that is difficult at best right now.  You can also work in industry, like for DuPont, or another major chemical manufacturer, or you can work for some really interesting analytical or consulting businesses.  One that I know of is www.chemir.com  They do some really interesting work.  You might also be able to work for the government, too, at one of the national labs, or perhaps at a military base, if that's what you want to do.  Or perhaps for the EPA or something like that.

Hope this rambling helps you.  I got into chemistry because it was fun for me and I enjoyed it, not because I was good at it.  I was always much better at math or Physics, but I never enjoyed them as much, so I went where the fire was (literally and figuratively).  Best of luck to you.

RLA_100

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2004, 02:35:20 AM »
hmx912x what part of the field are you in?

I'd really like to do research. Although only having a BS in Chemical Engineering and earning as much as a PhD in chemistry is alluring.

I actually run a fairly sucessful computer repair business right now (for the time i put in), only working about 7 hours a week and going to school full time. I don't despise my job but i'd really rather do something more meaningful.

What do you guys think of M.D/PhD programs?

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2004, 08:41:59 PM »
I'm in organic synthesis, although I'm not sure where I'll truly wind up.  I don't know much about the MD/PhD programs, so maybe someone else can help you out.

Honestly, I really enjoy doing research.  I like it more than teaching, although I enjoy that a lot, too.  Money to me is just a means to an end, and although I want enough to live comfortably, I don't really need more than that.  I'd be all right with it if a bunch of it fell in my lap, but I also don't want to waste my efforts in a job that I don't love trying to get more of it.  You know, if your computer business works out for you, maybe you could keep it up while you begin your grad work, or even after once you get out into the field, both as a means of payment, and also as a fall back in case you decide that the grad school or industry isn't for you.  You could drop it any time, but you'd also have a fall back, if you can keep up both at the same time.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2004, 02:48:43 AM »
RLA_100 are you saying you have a business that houses you, feeds you, pays tuition, and only requires 7 hours per week of your time?
Regards,
Bill
 

JSchultz

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2005, 03:37:02 PM »
Hey Guys.

Im sorry to dig up a topic that is roughly 4 months old, but I am new and was thinking of posting a similar topic.

As I said, I am new here to the forum. Im currently an undergrad pursuing a BS in Chemistry. However, I'm not sure where I could really go with it, or what to do with it. Reading the above posts, it scares me that there is so much work involved with a chem degree, but there is nothing to be rewarded...however...

My uncle graduated from the same college I am at (Benedictine University in Lisle, IL) with a BioChem degree. He started at quality control, moved on to plant manager, Regional..etc.. and now is president. He's been trying to give me advice on what to do with the degree. However, what he says is different from you guys. He is saying that there are plenty of Quality Control jobs to be had. Although the pay isnt fit for a king (starts from 30-40K in Chicago area) theyre there. Otherwise, he says you can do R&D in a lab all day, and that pays slightly more. Other than that..im not sure what else is out there.

What returns in pay were you guys looking to get once you graduated? What types of jobs were you looking to score?

Personally, If i end up taking a QC job starting at 40K a year, thats ok. Then again, I dont know how Chem majors were doing in the years before. I have no interest in being a Chemical Engineer, nor do I feel like immediately pursuing a MS or PhD.

So fellas, what are my options, and what do they pay? (not that I'm particularly concerned about that, as my future in-laws have promised to always have our back)

Thanks!
Jim


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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2005, 08:46:05 AM »
get a chem eng phd.. it pays so much better.. your bs chemistry qualifies for entry into a chem eng phd program anyway.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

JSchultz

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2005, 03:34:40 PM »
If Im not mistaken, another moderator on the forum said that chemical engineering has not much to do with Chemistry itself anyways? Not sure on this, what is your opinion? Im not much for Engineering anyways.

Then again, what does 'good money' mean to you?

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Chemistry Jobs/Pay
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2005, 08:06:26 PM »
I think "that moderator" is me. LOL. chemical engineeirng hardly deals with chemistry on the whole, but there are certain aspects of chemical engineering that are more chemistry than engineering. transport phenomena is a relatively small section in physical chemistry but it's the biggest thing for chem eng. chemical thermodynamics is an important study in chemical engineering as well.

The average starting pay for a chemistry PhD in the USA is $50000pa whereas it's $74000pa for a chemical engineering PhD. Moreover, there is so much less Chem Eng PhD holders in the market than chemistry PhD holders. Chemical Engineers are increasingly involved in the R&D of new drugs, biological processes, etc. The big difference in pay translates to "good money" for me.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

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