4 answers
Updated Viewed 93 times Translate

What are the career pathways for those who are interested in chemistry and molecular biology?

I'm a rising high school junior and I am understanding career pathways in order to choose a major suited to my interests. Thank you! #chemistry #biology #molecular-biology #biochemistry #bio-chemistry

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you
100% of 4 Pros
100% of 1 Students

4 answers

Updated Translate

Geetika’s Answer

Hi there! I am a current biology minor, but I am gearing towards the medical field, so I know I have to have a strong background in the sciences. There are a lot of career pathways for students that are interested, for example, research, medical, public advisory, government sectors, and pharmaceutical companies. If you are interested in chemistry but want to go into graduate school for higher education, then I would suggest choosing chemistry as a major as it will provide you with a strong background. Or, if you are interested in going into the medical field to learn human physiology in a molecular level, biology would be your best choice. Regardless of whichever major you choose, make sure you are interested in it and have a plan in mind with that degree.

Although most students go into medical careers with those types of majors and career pathways, it does not always have to be the case. You can simply study those topics to go into research and conduct a study that could possibly change the world! Do not feel limited because it is a challenging major, and the outcome will surprise you after you are done.

My #1 advice would be to explore other sciences to see if you like them better, and try to talk to professors and other people you may know that are in the field to see if they can connect you with research opportunities or internships within these fields!

Good luck!

Thank you for your response! Megan M.

100% of 1 Pros
Updated Translate

Amanda’s Answer

There are so many possibilities! And the more you know about, the better chance you have of figuring out what really interests you and being able to move into it.

I'll offer a few examples from the chemistry side, because that's where my experience is... materials engineering (like making cool new materials for use in extreme applications such as aerospace, mineral processing or bio-engineering), mining and minerals processing, forensic analysis, pharmaceuticals, aromatherapy, food engineering, personal care (eg cosmetics, skincare, cleaning products), petrochemical refining, energy generation and storage (i.e. battery technology), industrial chemical processes (eg chlorine production, plastics etc). Don't forget the theoretical side of things which can be very interesting if your brain likes working with abstract concepts!

A helpful way to think about it, as a starting point, might be:
- Are you more interested in research and learning new things by experimentation, or by applying that knowledge in real-world situations?
- Do you prefer to work on a small, laboratory scale, or in larger manufacturing/production environments?
- Is there a certain industry that interests you (eg medical, energy, consumer products)?
- Do you prefer to work in very precise terms, or in larger scale environments where reactions are more "forgiving"?

Don't feel like you need to have all the answers now, or even soon. These kinds of questions can be things you seek to understand as various opportunities come up. For example, a quick overview of how my interests and career evolved...

- Studied Industrial Chemistry as an undergrad because I was good at chemistry in high school
- Applied for an internship with a chlorine plant because it was close to my house - they didn't have a spot, but offered me an internship with their mining explosives division, which I took and loved
- Studied battery technology for my UG thesis because I wanted to save the planet
- Tried to get a job where I interned but couldn't, so I started a PhD on aluminium smelting technology because I still wanted to save the planet
- Hated my PhD - realized that research and solid state chemistry were not interesting to me
- Got offered a job where I interned and quit my PhD 2 years in, getting a Masters instead
- Worked in the lab & field with mining explosives for 3 years, then moved into a strategic marketing role with them, worked my way up and got to travel the world!

Fast forward a few more years and I've had a complete career change to leadership coaching. But all of my experiences help me in what I do today.

Your degree choice is a great starting point for your career, but you never know where it might take you. Stay open to possibilities and follow your interests and your instincts as things come up. Best of luck with your career journey!

Thank you so much! You're experience helps me to think about where I would take this career. Megan M.

100% of 1 Pros
Updated Translate

Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Megan! One pathway can be medical school; the majors that interest you are highly concentrated in the medical field and you will need to take these courses as a premed, some required such as biology, chemistry, physics, and some recommended like cell/molecular. However I would recommend to maybe see where your interests lie as well, you don't have to be a specific major to go to medical school as long as you complete the prerequisites-which are required courses for medical school- as a college student that should be fine academically. In addition it is also important to clinically volunteer and shadow but that's further in college. These experiences will allow you get a better sense if you like medicine and helping patients. For now if you like science of course it is good to weigh your options especially with soon entering college, once you get to college there will be more opportunities to seek out especially research related so you can even pursue a PhD later on. Keep working hard!

Best of luck!

Thank you! This is really helpful! Megan M.

You're welcome! Good luck! Yasemin G.

Updated Translate

Andrew’s Answer

Broadly two paths: academia and industry.

Academia: Do academic research or teach. Work as a professor or lecturer. Need a Ph.D. degree if doing research or teach at college level.

Industry: Work in a company that make and sell products. Education level needed ranges from college to Ph.D. Works ranges from doing investigative research for an product idea to perfecting manufacturing methods.

Thank you! Megan M.