If you are interested in a chemistry or another science career, there are multiple reasons why you should consider pursuing your doctorate, rather than stopping at a master's degree or a bachelor's degree:
- More Money
Let's start with a compelling reason for higher education -- money. There is no guarantee that having a terminal degree will earn the big bucks (don't get into science for money), but there are several states and companies that compute salaries based on education. The education can count for several years of experience. In some situations, a Ph.D. has access to a pay scale not offered to persons without the terminal degree, no matter how much experience he or she has.
- More Career Options
In the US, you can't teach college level courses without at least 18 graduate hours in the same field of study. However, Ph.D.s technically can teach college courses in any field. In academia, a Master's degree may provide a glass ceiling for advancement, especially to management positions. The terminal degree offers more research options, including some lab management positions not available otherwise, as well as post-doctoral positions.
In addition to getting the 'Doctor' in front of your name, having a Ph.D. commands a certain level of respect, particularly in scientific and academic circles. There are individuals who feel a Ph.D. is pretentious (a Piled higher and Deeper degree), but with work experience too, even these folk usually concede a Ph.D. is an expert in his or her field.
- More Affordable Education
If you are seeking a Master's degree, you will probably have to pay for it. On the other hand, teaching and research assistantships and tuition reimbursement usually are available for doctoral candidates. It would cost a school or research facility considerably more money to pay outright for such skilled labor. Don't feel you have to get a Master's degree before pursuing a Doctorate. Different schools have different requirements, but a Bachelor's degree is usually sufficient to get admitted into a Ph.D. program.