question.....
Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 5:53PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm a chemistry major, and I particularly like physical chemistry a lot (I am a math-based person). Any chemistry majors here? I am thinking of 3 possible paths after my undergraduate is done (still have 2 years to go):

1. graduate school (my GPA is good, so I think I could get into a good one)
2. go into finance
3. med school

The second option is there because I know some physics, chemistry, computer science, etc. majors who have gone into finance afterward since those majors are typically considered "respectable", and finance intrigues me (+ I want to make money). Also another option could be go to grad school then go into finance.

Anyway, any chem majors here and what did you end up doing with your degree? Does a focus in something like physical chemistry pay more than o-chem or biochem?
bw
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 6:05PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
As a current graduate student in chemistry, I'd say only go to grad school if you're really unsure about what you want to do with your life, but you think chemistry might be it.

There are VERY few jobs for chemistry PhD's in chemistry. Most of the good jobs are being shipped to India and pharma companies are constantly cutting R&D to make the bottom line look better this quarter.

That being said, a PhD in chemistry is excellent preparation for a variety of non-chemistry intensive fields. For instance, a person in my program is about to graduate and apply for jobs at various alternative energy companies, etc.

Physical chemistry, in the classical sense, is a big waste of time. If you want to get a PhD in Pchem, you'd better build a time machine to go back to the 19th century to find a job. However, in a very related field, Materials Science, I am pretty sure is an expanding industry. Everyone wants to build new materials for our ever shrinking gizmos and gadgets.

Med school is a big commitment and you'd have to deal with a mountain of douchebags, but if you really liking helping people, being a doc is a pretty good way to go.
Runningart2004
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 6:08PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Similar but different.....

I know a Chemical Engineering major who couldn't find a job and is now training alongside me in the army. The funny part is that much of what we are learning in the Chemical Corps he already knows (Hazmat, various water pumps for decon, etc).

Subject matter degrees like physics, chemistry, math, etc seem to be better suited for springboarding into graduate work.

Alan
question.....
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 6:08PM - in reply to bw Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Ya, I was gonna add actually that I like physical chemistry... and the research I've started doing is physical chemistry/materials science related. I hear materials science and materials engineering is an expanding field these days. I think it's possible if I get a degree in chemistry I can go to grad school in materials science or maybe engineering if I focus on it in my research.

I know I'll need more than just a 4 year degree... considering finance afterward because I like econ, and it is something that you can make a lot of money in.
question.....
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 6:10PM - in reply to Runningart2004 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Also I know some computer science (might be getting a minor in it) and thats always useful. Also I think my GPA will be good enough to get into a pretty good grad school...
billy sheer
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 6:12PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have a friend who's dad is an environmental chemist, he basically makes around 100 dollars an hour with the work he does, i dont know the salary specifics
Pchem rocks
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 8:17PM - in reply to billy sheer Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Props for liking Pchem. It is, in my humble opinion, the coolest science out there. You can do some really simple experiments and find out tons of cool shit using mostly your brain. With that being said, I'd have to say I don't think physical chemists are going to be raking in the dough, even thought they should.

Your second instinct is right on the money, no pun intended. You would do great to work a little, get an MBA, and go into finance. There are very few smart, scientifically trained and gifted, business people in the US. You fill a very necessary and rare niche in this position. The trick is knowing ins to these businesses, the ones that will take you.

Medical school would kill you, because there is very little science and no math. much of it is sheer memorization of anecdotal evidence. For those who like to think, it won't come until the clinical, residency, and beyond years. Maybe never, depending on your step one scores. But this is a lot of time and money, and this should be not very high up on your list of reasons for med school. Plus, as an other poster said, it is filled with douche bags.

If you're truly a gifted scientist, try working in a lab on campus on top of your school work. If you can hack it and you still love it, go into research and be a professor. Most chemists these days are synthetic organic chemists, and there aren't a ton of good old fashioned p-chemists anymore. there is a need for university teachers in these areas, plus you can do some kick-ass experiments with langmuir troughs and Sh*t.

good luck.
question.....
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 10:15PM - in reply to Pchem rocks Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I've heard supposedly physical science, engineering, etc. majors are good for finance because they show you can think and do hard work.

I still have 2 years to go until I graduate but I was considering getting a masters in some physical science related field (might not necessarily be chemistry, I may do something related to materials science if I continue to do research with it) and then going into finance and working and then possibly getting an MBA.

I go to a decent school now (if US News rankings are any truth, it is a top 40) but I think if I keep my grades up I have a good shot at getting into a top 10 grad school for which connections could be big if I want to go into finance.
ladies love cool james
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 11:09PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You could always invent drugs. Seriously, you probably know how, and it's not technically illegal.

http://www.viceland.com/int/v18n2/htdocs/interview-with-ketamine-chemist-704.php
olyphaunt
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/7/2011 11:57PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You can make a good salary with any degree if you stand out from the crowd. Either be one of the best at what you do, or bring something to the field no one else has brought before. One is a lot of hard work, and the other requires a lot of creativity... and hard work.

I can't think of a single degree for which this isn't true.

That said, the average (if that's your goal) salary for a chemistry major is not bad, comparatively, but "degree" doesn't mean "salary," as you seem to suggest. A degree is not a career.
89zmnf
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/8/2011 7:06AM - in reply to olyphaunt Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
One thing to think about, after graduate school the name of the department you were in and the degree you get do not determine how employers view your skill set.

For example, you can graduate from a Chemistry department, majoring in physical chemistry but if your advisor is a materials engineer and your publications are in materials engineering then most employers will consider you a materials engineer and not a physical chemist.
UnderSnowInWyo
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/8/2011 9:25AM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I am not a Chemistry major, but my environmental engineering firm hires many chemists. It sounds like your interest in physics and math would translate well in this field. You'd be auditing labs, analyzing data against clean-up standards and performing environmental statistics. Here's a job description for a senior-level environmental chemist (probably not for you but may illustrate what you can do eventually) position:

Candidates must have at a B.S. in Chemistry or Biology with at least three years experience working in an accredited laboratory. Experience in environmental chemistry methods, scientific research processes, USEPA data validation and analysis guidelines, analytical chemistry methodology related to GC/MS, ICP-AES, and ICP-MS, and/or forensic evaluation of environmental or chemical data is a plus. Responsibilities will include management and evaluation of environmental chemistry data, data quality planning and evaluation, preparation of data validation summary reports, forensic evaluation of chemical data, authoring sampling and quality assurance plans, and conducting laboratory performance audits. Qualified applicants must be able to complete challenging projects for multiple clients while working in a fast-paced team environment. The location for this position may be flexible to Fort Collins, CO.

Salary with your experience at our firm would land you in the 50k range with growth potential to the 75k range, which in Wyoming and Colorado is not too bad.
Voice of reason
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/8/2011 3:20PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Move to Vegas.
Go into " sales"
DougC
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/8/2011 4:20PM - in reply to Runningart2004 Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Runningart2004 wrote:

Similar but different.....

I know a Chemical Engineering major who couldn't find a job and is now training alongside me in the army. The funny part is that much of what we are learning in the Chemical Corps he already knows (Hazmat, various water pumps for decon, etc).

Alan


What?? I leave Letsrun for a few years and Alan goes all Bill Murray on me and joins the Army? What am I going to discover next, that Josh McDougal can't run and Alan Webb is slower than he was in high school? Nah, that can't happen.

DougC
Chemist
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/28/2012 10:03AM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
The answer to your question truly depends on 'your' goals and interests. From your comment, I take it that you want to make money. You can make money with option #1, but it will be a long road with very little guarantee (no matter how hard you work). Check out faculty salaries. All public schools have to make this information available to the public. Do NOT get starstruck by the 1-2 people that make >200K. Those people did not get there by hard work alone (yes, they worked hard and credit to them for that). They worked in an area that 'took off'. While you can make educated predictions about the future of your field, no one can truly predict the future. It is likely that you would make the 'average' faculty salary if you went this route.

If you go industry vs academia, be prepared for severe limitations on your geographical location.

#2
#3
Both great choices for making money + more freedom in where you choose to live.

If I had it to do over again, I would personally go with #3. Yes, med school is boring as one poster pointed out. Wrought with memorization, etc. But, think of it as delayed gratification. Once you make it through this short period (it is short in terms of your entire career or life), you will reap the benefits.

Another thing to think about..... there now exists lots of joint PhD/MD programs. This may be the best of both worlds for you. Something to think about.

Best of Luck!!
rubinsphd
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/28/2012 1:21PM - in reply to question..... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I have a Ph.D. in chemistry and have been out of work since I have received it last year, with the exception of a few part-time teaching assignments. The entire process was a huge waste of time and has, to some extent, ruined my life. Steer clear of a Ph.D. In my opinion, you are better off with AIDS than a Ph.D. in chemistry.
henry david thoreau
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/28/2012 1:58PM - in reply to rubinsphd Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

rubinsphd wrote:

I have a Ph.D. in chemistry and have been out of work since I have received it last year, with the exception of a few part-time teaching assignments. The entire process was a huge waste of time and has, to some extent, ruined my life. Steer clear of a Ph.D. In my opinion, you are better off with AIDS than a Ph.D. in chemistry.


A university won't hire you? Universities are constantly hiring PhD graduates, no matter what the field
bangalangadanga
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/28/2012 2:24PM - in reply to henry david thoreau Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
B.S. Chemistry - ACS certified
36,500 / yr
Also MD student
RE: Any chemistry majors here? Can you make a good salary with a chemistry degree? 3/28/2012 2:24PM - in reply to henry david thoreau Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Why on earth was this thread replied to almost a year later? the OP has likely ruined his life by now! My two cents: steer clear of the MD/Ph.D. and just do MD, but if you want mullah and to use your brain go into finance, if you can feel ok about that profession. If I could live two lives I'd be doing nanotech research right now as I believe that is the future of therapeutic medicine and it utilizes math, chemistry, and biology. A science of sciences with practical application.