Careers

Chemistry Careers?

[OP]
Newbie
Dec 18, 2009
89 posts
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Chemistry Careers?

So, I'm currently still a freshman but I was wondering, what careers are out there that a graduate can get with a B.Sc in Chemistry? What minor would be better to graduate with (Business Management, Applied Physics or Biology?) Just trying to do some homework for my future, hopefully I can get some helpful responses here.

I did do some searching on rfd and google before this.
54 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2005
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Can't think of any.

Typically it's pharmaceutical research, but you'll need a ph.d for that. Some may use it to get into pharmacy.
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
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As far as industries: Pharma, Biotech, Food, Beverage, Brewery, Cosmetics, Environmental, Water, Chemical, Dairy

You don't need a PhD to work in R&D (true for Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry etc); however, you have to keep in mind that you will not be running the program. Also, once into a company, there are opporunities to use your knowledge for Sales, Marketing, RA/QA....countless avenues.

As far as "better", that is a bit subjective. Will you possible find a job faster if you take management? Maybe. But I would ask why you took chemistry to begin with? If you really enjoy chemistry, then ending up in Management for some importer or retail outfit would be mindnumbing.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 18, 2009
89 posts
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Well, I chose chemistry because it was my highest mark in high school and I'm just generally interested in sciences. What I want to do is work for some sort of chemical/materials import/export company, maybe get to travel a bit but being in high school I had no idea how to get there, it was either Life sciences at UofT, Chemistry/Biology at Ryerson, or Kinesiology(b.sc) at York. I choose chemistry despite my parents wanting me to go to UofT (life sciences) to be a pharmacist just because a lot of my other family members are.

What I've heard from reading and word of mouth is I'm going to be stuck with benchwork with no room for advancement with a B.sc and that seems rather depressing. I'm currently thinking of doing the BM minor just because it seems to fit my goal more.

Anymore? :D
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Feb 24, 2010
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Toronto
Having being a grad student now for 3 years (BCHM B.Sc now BCHM PhD candidate). My advice for science undergrads is that if you are looking for job security in the future then dental/med school is what you want to go for. Graduate school is for people who really wants to do research and don't mind the extremely long hours and low pay.

P.S Theres very little or next to none actual useful bench work in undergrad Chemistry so getting a bench job in a R&D company its almost impossible. I know people with M.Sc in Chemistry that had gone to work for Merck-Frost Montreal (biggest Chemistry grad employer in Canada) but unfortunately that facility is in the process of being shut down together with Eli Lilly in Toronto.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 18, 2009
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Aw man, that really sucks. Why is the future so depressing!? :cry: But what about industries? B.Sc wouldn't do would it?
Sr. Member
Aug 10, 2007
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You can do mundane lab work. There are QA/QC positions as well. I worked at a pharmaceutical company before and my manager, who was the director of a formulations, had a chemistry degree. I also know people who work in environmental policy research. Healthcare is also an option, such as regulatory affairs and clinical trial management. There are also sales positions where you work for pharmaceutical or chemical companies.
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Dec 31, 2005
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tsailin wrote:
What I've heard from reading and word of mouth is I'm going to be stuck with benchwork with no room for advancement with a B.sc and that seems rather depressing. I'm currently thinking of doing the BM minor just because it seems to fit my goal more.

Anymore? :D

I keep reading that for degrees like Biology or Chemistry that there is no room for advancement with only a BSC...this is just not true.

For the past decade, I have worked at some of the largest Pharma, Laboratory Diagnostic and Science based companies in the world. There are countless people at all levels of the company who only have their BSc. Having a MSC means absolutely nothing when it comes to anything beyond maybe getting your first job. Once the start date, it is merely worth one or two years of employment. Yes, I see the posting saying Master's...but that is just to weed out some of the weak candidates. A confident BSC will have just as much chance at an interview.

I'll also add that in these companies, we did not have Business Management type grads in Management positions: it was the BSc's that the corporation put through Managment courses that became the managers.
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Feb 24, 2010
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nalababe wrote: I keep reading that for degrees like Biology or Chemistry that there is no room for advancement with only a BSC...this is just not true.

For the past decade, I have worked at some of the largest Pharma, Laboratory Diagnostic and Science based companies in the world. There are countless people at all levels of the company who only have their BSc. Having a MSC means absolutely nothing when it comes to anything beyond maybe getting your first job. Once the start date, it is merely worth one or two years of employment. Yes, I see the posting saying Master's...but that is just to weed out some of the weak candidates. A confident BSC will have just as much chance at an interview.

I'll also add that in these companies, we did not have Business Management type grads in Management positions: it was the BSc's that the corporation put through Managment courses that became the managers.


I do not know about all the Universities but for UT and Queen's the science (Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, etc) students learn basically nothing practical in terms of employable skills comparing to the college students during their undergrad besides how to memorize textbooks and regurgitate them during exams. Having graduated for a few years and talking to my classmates and friends from UT, none of them have found jobs just with their B.Sc and all of us have gone on to med/dental/grad school. Maybe its just my personal experience but i was talking to some junior grad students(1st/2nd year) in the department the other day and the situation has been the same.
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2009
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Ekim2010 wrote: I do not know about all the Universities but for UT and Queen's the science (Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, etc) students learn basically nothing practical in terms of employable skills comparing to the college students during their undergrad besides how to memorize textbooks and regurgitate them during exams. Having graduated for a few years and talking to my classmates and friends from UT, none of them have found jobs just with their B.Sc and all of us have gone on to med/dental/grad school. Maybe its just my personal experience but i was talking to some junior grad students(1st/2nd year) in the department the other day and the situation has been the same.

This is what I've heard as well from family memberships who took sciences at UT as well. They pretty much graduated and had to go back to school (Pharmacy, Med) and I'm not exactly in a rich family, just enough to send me to Uni and have a home. So my main concern is trying to get a job right after undergrad so I can possibly get enough to continue education without coming out with another degree and no job. One of the reasons I chose Ryerson is because it is a polytechnical school despite not having a reputation as a science school.

So, from what I'm reading, since my goal is to join one of these importer companies even at the entry-level stuff, would a BM minor be more appropriate for these positions?
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Feb 24, 2010
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tsailin wrote: This is what I've heard as well from family memberships who took sciences at UT as well. They pretty much graduated and had to go back to school (Pharmacy, Med) and I'm not exactly in a rich family, just enough to send me to Uni and have a home. So my main concern is trying to get a job right after undergrad so I can possibly get enough to continue education without coming out with another degree and no job. One of the reasons I chose Ryerson is because it is a polytechnical school despite not having a reputation as a science school.

So, from what I'm reading, since my goal is to join one of these importer companies even at the entry-level stuff, would a BM minor be more appropriate for these positions?

To be honest, if your goal is to find a job right after undergrad, then engineering or commerce would be your best bet.
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2009
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Ekim2010 wrote: To be honest, if your goal is to find a job right after undergrad, then engineering or commerce would be your best bet.

I didn't do my homework before applying for University, its too late for me to cry over spilled milk. So, instead of whining and complaining I'm going to see what I can do now. I'm interested in the sciences and transferring is a hassle I'm assuming? Ryerson does have a co-op program for Chemistry..(actually everything in sciences has co-op :confused :) though, wonder if that would help?
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Feb 24, 2010
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tsailin wrote: I didn't do my homework before applying for University, its too late for me to cry over spilled milk. So, instead of whining and complaining I'm going to see what I can do now. I'm interested in the sciences and transferring is a hassle I'm assuming? Ryerson does have a co-op program for Chemistry..(actually everything in sciences has co-op :confused :) though, wonder if that would help?
Engineering and commerce are different faculties so getting accepted into ArtSci does not mean you will get accepted to those faculties. Engineering is really applied science, i remember back in my BCHM undergrad days i had alot of the same classes with the ChemEng and EngChem folks in my year and they only start to differentiate into very specific classes in their 3rd and 4th year where i did my undergrad.

Co-op will probably help with getting to know the industry and networking.
[OP]
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Dec 18, 2009
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Ekim2010 wrote: Engineering and commerce are different faculties so getting accepted into ArtSci does not mean you will get accepted to those faculties. Engineering is really applied science, i remember back in my BCHM undergrad days i had alot of the same classes with the ChemEng and EngChem folks in my year and they only start to differentiate into very specific classes in their 3rd and 4th year where i did my undergrad.

Co-op will probably help with getting to know the industry and networking.

I can't argue with you for engineering since I'm sure it'd be impossible for me to transfer into that, is what I'm told by many. No offense to any commerce [email protected] But some people I know with less than an 80 average got in. But knowing how people love money, the program is most likely full . I don't think transferring is an option for me this year though. But Chemistry is something that interests me quite a bit and I'd love to get a job at an import company or hell even work for the military (but sadly this isn't the states and I'd probably need to be an engineer of some sort or a Phd). Guess I'll grind it out and see what happens! Thanks for the info, Ekim!

@nalababe: How did you get a foot in the door for those sort of companies? The tedious old send resume and interview or networking?
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Mar 16, 2004
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I'm close enough to this industry. I don't think you know just how big this industry is. There are plenty of opportunities.

Take a look at this interactive flowchart.
Every single part of the chain has many, many companies operating in it.
I have this hanging in my office and every time I look at it, I am still amazed how big the petrochemical and chemical industries are.
[IMG]http://www.petrochemistry.net/ftp/secti ... poster.jpg[/IMG]

A chemistry degree is anything but useless.
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Feb 24, 2010
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tsailin wrote: I can't argue with you for engineering since I'm sure it'd be impossible for me to transfer into that, is what I'm told by many. No offense to any commerce [email protected] But some people I know with less than an 80 average got in. But knowing how people love money, the program is most likely full . I don't think transferring is an option for me this year though. But Chemistry is something that interests me quite a bit and I'd love to get a job at an import company or hell even work for the military (but sadly this isn't the states and I'd probably need to be an engineer of some sort or a Phd). Guess I'll grind it out and see what happens! Thanks for the info, Ekim!

@nalababe: How did you get a foot in the door for those sort of companies? The tedious old send resume and interview or networking?

Not sure about Ryerson but at Queen's its definitely possibly to transfer from CHEM/BCHM into Eng after 2nd year although u would have to make up for alot of the courses but its possible. I think if you try hard enough transferring into those programs shouldnt be a program since you havent even started, provided your marks are good enough that is. Good luck!
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I knew a lot of Chemistry grads as well as Chemical Engineering grads. I viewed them as very employable. This was out on the prairie provinces though. Think oil & gas industry, mining industry, etc. Process chemist, metallurgists, etc all do very well.
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Dec 31, 2005
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Ekim2010 wrote: I do not know about all the Universities but for UT and Queen's the science (Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, etc) students learn basically nothing practical in terms of employable skills comparing to the college students during their undergrad besides how to memorize textbooks and regurgitate them during exams. Having graduated for a few years and talking to my classmates and friends from UT, none of them have found jobs just with their B.Sc and all of us have gone on to med/dental/grad school. Maybe its just my personal experience but i was talking to some junior grad students(1st/2nd year) in the department the other day and the situation has been the same.

University is about learning how to learn and think and present.

My friends and I did go to Queen's (where I have my degree) and U of T, so I do know first hand what is taught and learned. The Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry degrees etc do teach valuable skills...but no they are not applied. But then again, these are not applied degrees...though I did get hands on experience with PCR, Sequencing, Western Blots, which directly lead to my early jobs.

Now my question to each of those undergrauates who are doing a thesis or grad students, how many are on a first name basis with the sales, technical and service reps for the countless companies that walk in the door each day? If I look at Micro/Molecular (my areas) going into Biosciences or Botteral each day would be reps for Life technologies, Illumina, Siemens, Roche, Abbott, BioMurieux, BD, VWR, Fisher...just to name a few. There is an instant network. Don't forget we get bounties to bring qualified candidates to the workplace (1-3k).
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 18, 2009
89 posts
1 upvote
Aristophanes wrote: I'm close enough to this industry. I don't think you know just how big this industry is. There are plenty of opportunities.

Take a look at this interactive flowchart.
Every single part of the chain has many, many companies operating in it.
I have this hanging in my office and every time I look at it, I am still amazed how big the petrochemical and chemical industries are.
[IMG]http://www.petrochemistry.net/ftp/secti ... poster.jpg[/IMG]

A chemistry degree is anything but useless.

That is very very epic, if only RFD had a rep system. Wow thanks a bunch!!

@Nalababe: Wow, you get paid for headhunting as well? Thats wicked. What worries me is when I was reading through the old threads a lot of people with B.sc do not have jobs. Guess I should attend more of these fairs which hit campus and study hard then. Other than good marks, confidence, and skills what else do employers look for in potential employees?...Generally speaking.
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Dec 31, 2005
13306 posts
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tsailin wrote: That is very very epic, if only RFD had a rep system. Wow thanks a bunch!!

@Nalababe: Wow, you get paid for headhunting as well? Thats wicked. What worries me is when I was reading through the old threads a lot of people with B.sc do not have jobs. Guess I should attend more of these fairs which hit campus and study hard then. Other than good marks, confidence, and skills what else do employers look for in potential employees?...Generally speaking.
There are two major problems with people landing jobs:

1) They don't know how...it is very much a learned art with the exception of fields which are in a boom (when a trained Monkey could get hired)
2) People set unrealistic goals. I have no problem with ambition...but you have to be realistic with starting position and salary.

Out of interest sake, I just went to a website for a blood gas analyzer company based in Canada. This was taken from their careers section for a R&D scientist in sensor tech:
* B.Sc. or M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Analytical Chemistry, Electrochemistry, Clinical Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering or related disciplines.
* Solid analytical chemistry, clinical chemistry and/or electro-chemical background.
* Thorough understanding of statistical methods.
* Good communication and interpersonal skills.
* Sound knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and statistical analysis.

As for getting paid for hires...I have know many who have gotten a lot of money this way...a few years back a Alberta based position could easily get you 4k eacch.

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