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What are the advantages of having a doctorate's degree instead of a master's degree in the field of chemistry?

I'm pretty sure I'll go for a master's degree, but I'm not so sure about a doctorate's degree. Is it really worth it? #chemistry #doctorate-degree

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Tahj,

I think Jaclyn's answer is very informative. Additionally, from my perspective in the Pharmaceutical industry there is a significant salary / compensation difference between a BS, MS and Ph.D. A number of higher level positions will require a Ph.D. or say something like "MS degree plus 5 years experience". Considering that a Ph.D. takes probably only 2 to 3 years longer than a MS, it might be worth it. A lot of companies will also help pay for your MS while you are employed with them, so that's another possible option. I've not heard of companies offering to help pay for a Ph.D. but it seems from Jaclyn's answer that it can be done.

The American Chemical Society (www.ACS.org) has published salary info with degree levels in the past, so maybe you could find that on the web.

Best of luck!
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Jaclyn’s Answer

Hi Tahj

There are advantages and disadvantages to getting a PhD. First, it depends on what you want to do with the degree, for example, with a PhD, you're more likely to be a college professor conducting independent research projects or a lead scientist in independent or corporate research labs.

However, the PhD takes far longer and can cost more money in the long run. A master's degree can be just as sufficient as a doctorate degree in getting a job. If you decide you want to go back to school for the PhD, some companies will pay for your schooling or living expenses while you are obtaining the degree, depending on the aid package the school awards you. For example, West Virginia University usually grants students a stipend to cover all tuition and some living expenses.

I have a friend at West Virginia University getting his PhD in chemistry and his goal is to become a college professor. However, I know several other people who stopped after getting their Bachelor's or Master's degrees and found jobs working in pharmaceutical companies. The value of the degree comes from your personal goals. I hope this helps!
Thank you comment icon Hi, Jaclyn! Thank you for your awesome answer to Tahj's question. I just had a couple of clarifying questions if you'd be willing to help further on this topic. 1.) Do you know approximately what the statistics are showing about these two degree types? i.e. salary differences, amount of education required for each, how many people earn each type, those types of things? 2.) Are there any resources to help narrow down what my "personal goals" might be so I can more easily decide on which degree path to follow? I'm currently a college student and it seems like this stage is just around the corner :) Thank you! Alexandra, Admin
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