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Any chemists or pharmacologists here? Looking for advice

SnafuInTheVoid

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In a few months when I qualify as a resident I'm going back to college... I don't know exactly what I'm going to study yet but chemistry really rings my bell.

Not that I have aspirations to become some clandestine mad chemist or something, but because I find chemistry absolutely fascinating and think it's the ultimate science and the true way to see understand the universe around us.

My question is what kind of career opportunities would I have open to me with a 4 year degree or something? Working in a lab as an aide? How much do they make?

I don't care about getting rich at all, just curious. I want to do something interesting, contributing to something meaningful.

Thanks
 

G_Chem

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They make fuck all from what I hear, that said your skills could be utilized in other ways as you mentioned ;) IMO we can never have enough chemists in this world.

-GC
 

HeadphonesandLSD

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I've been looking into this and the job market for someone fresh out of school isn't very good. This is a problem with a lot of professions now. Don't take out the loans and commit to school unless you're really dead set on doing it for the love. Your job opportunities will be better than someone with an art degree but don't plan on paying back the loans for 15+ years. After I looking into this I understood why so many chemists pick up stuff on the side. Even if you get a job with these skills you're most likely going to be doing something outside of pharmaceutical research.
 

dopamimetic

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Was playing with the same thoughts but given that I'm 33y/o soon and will need 2 years min. until I might get allowed to university, looks like train's gone for me. Of course, pharmaceutical research would be very fascinating but I'd take many scientific topics, yet still guess I will need massive luck to just find a job which might at some point in the future allow me to drive a car again and live in an own apartment ... society is fucked. Young people lose their jobs because no experience. Older people get none because too old. Companies complain about too few well educated people but they rather import e.g IT people from India instead giving somebody with a slightly less than super-duper-ideal curriculum a chance.

Let's come to the point. Do you see any chance that somebody whose curriculum is missing papers for 10+ years might get a job after going back to school + university? Can good marks compensate for early life sickness or can I forget future. I don't know, maybe you can't compare different parts of the world here one to one but in today's globalization things appear to be pretty similar in western countries.

Studying just for myself might be better than just sitting on my ass and slowly ageing even if there are little chances for any way back into a society which never wanted me but I've been too unsure for too long.
 

SnafuInTheVoid

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These are the answers I was unfortunately expecting. Saddens me but I kinda already was expecting it. I'm almost 32 now.

When I was younger I was a computer nerd and always thought I would be a programmer. While that may be one of my best options still, the idea of working on computers for the rest of my life sounds masochistically boring.

I may just take chemistry on the side. I dont know what I want to do. I honestly could give a shit about making lots of money... I just want to do something I'm passionate about, and computers are no longer a passion of mine.

Maybe I should just go talk to a college counselor.

I'm going to spend the rest of my night thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to do something I love, not make money. My best friend got a degree in wildlife but even he wants to go back to school to be a programmer. I LOVE nature and animals but there's no money in that either.

Thanks guys.
 

HeadphonesandLSD

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Something else to consider is the fact that with COVID-19 going around most schools are going to be fully online. Taking out a loan for this right now is a bad idea because you won't be getting any time in the lab. I know a lot of the guys at my local college that do this type of thing make fun things during lab time. I don't see much point in paying all of that money unless you get to do that.

There is nothing stopping you from learning this stuff in your free time if you can afford to put together your own lab. Just be careful about ordering a bunch of stuff because they watch most glassware and chemicals you can do fun stuff with now. We all really missed the boat on the golden age. There is a reason why most of the guys doing this stuff aren't located in the west now.
 

S.J.B.

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I can only speak for the market in the United States and Canada, of which I have some knowledge. With a bachelor's degree in chemistry, most chemistry jobs that will be available to you will be in the realm of quality control and quality assurance. Bachelor's-level synthesis jobs in the pharmaceutical industry do exist in the United States (I have never seen any in Canada) but they are fairly rare. With a master's degree or Ph.D., the market for synthetic chemists in the pharmaceutical industry is fairly healthy at the moment; however, it should be noted that post-2008 a lot of people lost their jobs and left the field altogether, and it's impossible to predict how the market will look like in the year one happens to graduate. From a stress and quality-of-life perspective I would say, take a long, hard long at why you want to study a natural or life science which doesn't involve computer programming. With just a bachelor's in computer science you will have better earning potential and, in most cases, a much lower-stress day-to-day work environment than a chemist with a Ph.D.
 

atara

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My question is what kind of career opportunities would I have open to me with a 4 year degree or something? Working in a lab as an aide? How much do they make?
Everything I've read about this topic tells me that a BS in chemistry is mostly useful for getting into graduate school and an MS is what you need for any worthwhile job. But, under those specifications, it's not so bad. It sure beats physics where anything short of a PhD is career suicide.
 

dopamimetic

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When I was younger I was a computer nerd and always thought I would be a programmer. While that may be one of my best options still, the idea of working on computers for the rest of my life sounds masochistically boring.

I may just take chemistry on the side. I dont know what I want to do. I honestly could give a shit about making lots of money... I just want to do something I'm passionate about, and computers are no longer a passion of mine.

I want to do something I love, not make money. My best friend got a degree in wildlife but even he wants to go back to school to be a programmer. I LOVE nature and animals but there's no money in that either.
Really lots of similarities here Snafu! :cool:

Best was to make money with something I love, but that's a double no. Would like say I don't care about money but now that health insurance took away every single cent I'd saved through the past decade and am still mant 10k in debt, I realize once again that money is a sad necessity and directly dictates quality of life. Money doesn't make happy but lack of it certainly the opposite. Yet agree that doing work I hate all day long just to earn lots (and probably spend on useless things I don't need because no time or energy to do something really useful with it) makes little sense unless one has a certain target which can be reached in the not too far future and sees the labor as path..
 
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Atelier3

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I'm almost 32 now.
That’s definitely not to old to reinvent yourself. I hated my career in consulting so went and did a Masters in a completely different field at age 48. Unfortunately it did’t lead to a job but the college encouraged me to stay on and do a PhD at age 50 which they funded in yet a third discipline (finally the thing I really loved).

Its amazing what opportunities just crop up in your path once your on the journey. Even if job prospects look bleak in chemistry you’ll uncover new possibilities and opportunities as you progress. I say just follow your dream with your eyes and your mind wide open to seeing opportunities.
 

polymath

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When I was younger I was a computer nerd and always thought I would be a programmer. While that may be one of my best options still, the idea of working on computers for the rest of my life sounds masochistically boring.
If you're good at programming and mathematics, quantum chemistry of pharmaceuticals is one option. Electron density profiles calculated for molecules and correlated with receptor binding, and so on.
 

SnafuInTheVoid

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If you're good at programming and mathematics, quantum chemistry of pharmaceuticals is one option. Electron density profiles calculated for molecules and correlated with receptor binding, and so on.
I was a self taught web designer for awhile, I taught myself HTML, css, php and some java just by reading website source code when I was young. Made my first website at 12 back in the good ol' internet days. I was always in advanced math through school until drugs took over. I've got my talents my brain is geared towards things like that. I remember when I was young they used to call me "The Human Calculator" because I was undefeated in those math speed tests lol. Great way to be labeled the nerd at school. I think that played a part in me getting into drugs so young... wanted to be part of the "cool kids".

Part of the reason I have so much self loathing is I know I'm a smart dude, and still just a highschool drop out :( a brain is a terrible thing to waste.
 
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polymath

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Part of the reason I have so much self loathing is I know I'm a smart dude, and still just a highschool drop out :( a brain is a terrible thing to waste.
Not much difference to what I what at one point. It's just more difficult if you live somewhere where education isn't free and there's a risk of getting in huge dept and not getting a job with the education.

There aren't that many people who are good at both programming and mathematics and can also go to the lab and produce new organic chemicals, so that's one way to get an exceptional combination of skills.
 

Shady's Fox

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Honestly I can tell this much -- I never understood the chemistry of drugs like I know some basic stuff but there are some things out there that for me are the Fermi paradox. Hopefully you will become an alchemist and have your own unique perspective over drugs in order to further science progress.
 

AlphaMethylPhenyl

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I mean it goes without saying that getting a graduate degree in chem opens your opportunities pretty wide.

Corporate pharma pays well (I know you said your weren't about that) for a variety of functions for chemists. Heck, you could even be on creating a more tolerable, less hallucinogenic version of ibogaine.

Also, if you go into chemistry, you usually go to graduate school for free, or even a monthly stipend is paid to you from the school.

I mean chem is also a great study if you wanna go to medical school. All kinds of doctors. General physician, psychiatrist, oncologist, and so on.

Law school? It's a bit of a stretch, but still possible.

You could probably work at a pharmacy if you go for a post-undergrad degree.

I guess you could teach chem. With an undergrad. chem degree you could teach chem to grade school.

I wanted to be "cool", too. But you get to your later twenties and you start to realize that it's bs in its entirety.

Always hope to go back to school!
 

Skorpio

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Coding is a huge asset in pharmacology departments. Being able to analyze huge genetic datasets or the gene expression results from a micro array are super useful.

Biology people especially use R.

If you want to get into pharmacology look into a degree where you have a strong organic chemistry focus and also biochemistry and cell biology. At the end of the day, a lot of pharmacology is enzyme kinetics.
 

Skorpio

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Also in my program, there was a 42 year old dude taking the classes, he killed it honestly. Also he paid me in beer to teach him how to do graphs and data analysis in excel.
 

TripSitterNZ

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with a BSc in chemistry it ends up been a dead end lab techs make horrible money under $20 per hour long overtime shifts that you don't get paid for. If you become the manager after many years its like 50-60k usd a year. Chemistry is one of those things if you don't go all the way to masters or PHD you are kind of fucked career wise for money. Hell i know some PHDs who were salty they never made 6 figures in the end aswell. Some countries really pay chemists the lowest they can get away with. America and germany are probably the only countries where chemists might land a job eventually where they earn alot.

Chemical engineering is a better field to get into if you want to make money. Chemistry is super fun to learn though and do fun lab work while in college. A PHD in chemistry and just been a academic for life is where people finally get to do their chemistry interests and alot of lab and research work.
 
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