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Readers Respond: Working as a Chemist

Responses: 138

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Chemist is not practical

Chemistry is too abstract and not very practical. You are trained at the graduate level to do research such as method development, compounds formulation. Not alot of companies out there looking for research chemists. Alot of smaller company only want low level, ie. college grads, to do the grunt works in the Analytical services industry. They want ppl to just do routine dilutions, sample prep, and instrument maintenance. The pay for these kind of jobs is maximum 18 dollars. 80% of chem grads with BSc or MSc will be stuck doing this jobs. Alot of chemists i know leave the field after few years. I hope employers will change their attitude towards chemists and offer some decent salaries. At this rate chemistry is gonna disappear entirely. maybe then, they can get the Chem. Eng. to work for for the same peanuts they are offering to the chemists now.
—Guest Another Chemist

madness

I hate it. I went to school, did well, published a lot, earned a Ph.D all the while hoping I would quit being treated like a dog. It didn't happen. I was lied to my whole career. To heck with Chemistry.
—Guest geeze

Chemist

DON'T DO IT!!! The pay is the HORRIBLE! I know high school drop outs that drive fork lifts at the company I work for that make like $10/hr more than I do as a chemist!!! I only make $15/hr w/ my masters degree and 4 years of experience and I get ZERO benefits!!! Sometimes at night I cry myself to sleep.
—Guest Crying Chemist

I make more money than most...

at about 45,000 USD/year, and 50,000 USD/year after bonus, but I still hate it. I live in the NYC area and this kind of money is abysmal for this area. I live in an area where there is at least one murder per week, because it is all I can afford! I'm currently back in grad school while working full time, pursing my MS/MBA combine degree. If you have any interest in supporting yourself, DO NOT PURSUE CHEMISTRY, especially at the B.Sc. level.
—Guest Regretful Chemist

Don't believe all comments

I see people saying they can't find any good jobs or getting less paying jobs. But, I want to say that it all depance on the location. I would suggest going to TX, NM, AZ, etc area to find jobs with this degree. The cost of living is very less there and you can make a decent money
—Guest NM

.. whaaat?

.. wow... reading all these responses makes me feel like crying. All my life Ive wanted to become a chemist.. its the only thing I ever had an interest in. I found this site while searching for scholarships. I feel so lost now.. but im glad i found this. It probably saved me from making a big mistake.
—Guest Crushed

Not a viable career anymore

I just want to add to the chorus and say that science is not a viable career in this country anymore. I mean why go to college to get a job that is worse than what you could have gotten with a GED. I have and MSc. and am headed back to school next fall to get another MSc though in accounting. I finally decided that I would like health insurance and $40k+. A science degree is a sure bet to end up defaulting on your student loans. Not worth it.
—Guest Hector

Life is What You Make It

One could find shortcomings in any field. Some MDs make less than $100K/yr after malpractice insurance while other make high $100s or more. I worked at a chemical company while going to school for my BS in Biology and Chemistry. I learned the field and got a great job offer from another company right after I graduated due to my experience. Also, having a chemist background doesn't mean you have to be a low end chemist forever...it can give you a firm foundation to transition into sales, r&d management or many other higher positions if $ isn't good enough. The challenge is up to the individual. You must pick your prospects and put your efforts toward fields and specialties that are more geared toward where you want to eventually be. Like everything, there are no absolute guarantees in life, but I think one can be much worse off than having a BS or MS in chemistry when filled with ambition and intangible street and business sense.
—mikealanafinley

Chemist

Chemistry is dying. Its not what it was 20 years ago. In order to get a good job at the bs or ms level you NEED TO KNOW SOMEONE. I have a B.S in chem. The major is hard, yet the pay off is weak. If your smart enough to do chemistry, then switch to chemical engineering, you'll make much more money, be in the same type of field(almost) and its only slightly harder. Federal buerau of labor puts chemists as a profession to grow much slower than average thru 2018, about 3%. Chem Eng is actually worse at -2 growth, but the starting salary is like 30-40% more. If your so set on chemistry, do biochemistry, its much easier and biochemist jobs are expected to grow much more. It will make getting into med or pharm or dental school easier too because youll do the bio classes required. Why the poor jobs and pay, all these chemistry jobs are being moved overseas. Good luck. Ill be going back to school soon for a second b.s. in engineering.
—Guest Mike

CHEMISTRY

I am in my final semester of Chemical technology at a college. I was excited to graduate and start work to eventually live a comfortable life but after reading all those negatory responses, I am beginning to hate this field with out even having a job yet... I also have a friend who is always showing me links and pages such as this one where there are so many negative responces with such pay rates of 12$/hr.. COMMON MANNN
—Guest E to the D Y

Life is ruined

I am 30 have an MSc. and earn $15 an hour without any benefits. Chemistry is the worst. I regret the day I ever took a science class. I pray every day for a career change. Meanwhile I am boned.
—Guest ruined

my life sucks

I am an applied chemist and my life sucks. I studied applied chemistry from one of the top university in my country. But now i cant find ny jobs. chemistry is useless, i hate chemistry, I hate applied chemistry, I wish i could go back & change my major to IT.
—Guest ahmed

Poor Career Choice

I spent 4 years completing my B.Sc. and another 2 years for M.Sc. During my graduate studies i spent an average of 50h/week researching. After graduation, i make 18dollar/h with no benefit. An economic major who has a B.A, spent half the amount of time in school, now making 50k/year. I don't know about you guys...but the effort to reward ratio is seriously skewed for chemistry.
—Guest Chemist

Not worth it

The reason people are unhappy with $20 an hour with no benefits is science majors need to be very smart to get through quantum and organic. We could take many other paths that require less effort in college and take less time and would easily earn us 2 to 3 times what we make. It is degrading to have businesses screaming for intelligent people to major in science and then have them offer us less than a garbage man. There is no reason someone smart enough for science should have to struggle to pay basic necessities.
—Guest MSChemist

Going to school to be a chemist

I'm only in my first semester of college and part of my major is chemistry. I was looking at all the responses to this and was very displeased with a lot of what people had to say. Granted many of them may be unhappy with their job options but when it comes to the pay it disturbed me very much to see people complaining about making $19-$20 per hour. This is coming from someone who has to work a minimum wage job and try to support a child on my own. How can you people complain about making that money when there are so many people out there that make nothing even close to that. Also, I saw not one good review of this field. Isn't there anyone out there that is happy doing what they're doing. I'm sorry but I am so looking forward to getting my degree in chemistry!
—Guest christine

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Working as a Chemist

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