Career choices for chemistry
I am a high school senior and did the Johnson O'Connor assessments for careers. My results show that I should do something in chemistry or biology, preferably a job where I work more independently and that requires advanced education beyond a bachelor's. I do love chemistry/bio and have done very well in school (4.0 gpa, 35 ACT) but I have no idea exactly what careers I could do (current plan is to major in Biochemistry) . I often read now that a bachelor's in biology or chemistry is useless unless you are going into medical school or plan to pursue some sort of graduate degree in another medical field (physical therapy, etc). Otherwise salaries are very low for graduates who just work in a lab. With the cost of college being so high I want to know all my options. Thanks for any advice!
#biology #chemistry #college
Second: You can end up working independently as a scientist with or without an advanced degree, but an advanced degree grooms you for it. Without one, you'll usually start out doing work under supervision, and will have to prove yourself to get independence. Ironically, the same thing happens in graduate school, so whether you get to independent work sooner with one path or the other is rather a toss-up.
Third: See my answer to a related question, here: https://www.careervillage.org/questions/209973/what-is-the-hardest-part-about-having-a-career-in-a-stem-field It sounds like you are on the path to "in demand," so what you need to be more wary of is finding a career you will like.
Finally: You didn't ask this, but sound like like the kind of person who needs to hear it...don't assume that if you "just get through this big challenge" (ACT, high school, college, finding a job, etc.) in life, you will have earned sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns forever. Hard work begets more hard work, so it is really important that you guide your ship toward hard work you love, or at least like.
Oh, p.s. There are more jobs under the sun than you can possibly imagine. Some you pretty much have to bumble into, and can't possibly train for explicitly: like coming up with names for patent drugs.
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One of the biggest areas for chemists I know of is in the energy industry - there's some serious large-scale chemistry in oil and gas processing, and that can be quite well paid. Also within energy is my field of nuclear - there's a lot of chemists working there. Particularly around your area there's a few nuclear companies that were set up to deal with decommissioning the Rocky Flats plant, and I'm sure they regularly need chemists. Leaning a bit of the biology side as well as chemistry, many of those companies are looking at broader environmental protection now.
There's also many other areas of chemistry - particularly process chemistry and chem engineering if you want to totally avoid both medicine and analytical labs.
For biology, various fields of medicine are common paths yes, but there's plenty of other areas where biological science is applied - including food, cosmetics, agriculture, fisheries and more. Even within medicine, there's plenty of paths for biologists that are not about med school and becoming doctors - there's many different non-doctor academic and research fields like drug development, immunotechnology and many more - these are the sort of areas you need the advanced education you mentioned - masters degrees, PhDs, postdocs etc.