Advice on Science Career

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Advice on Science Career

Postby Ali N. B. » Sun May 10, 2015 3:08 am

Hello all,

I would appreciate any advice for my career path. I have Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry, and I find myself knowledgeable and proficient at a variety of lab work, especially QA. For the last two years I've worked as a Chemist in Oil and Gas and as a Lab Technician in the battery industry. Neither job pays as well as I had thought- I have friends in non science degrees offered higher starting salaries with jobs like editing, writing, and programming. Its not about likability or skill- I maintain good relationships and meet or exceed all goals. The Chemist position was my first job out of school, and its a position that they changed after my interview since I was overqualified. I thought that might be the reason the pay was lower for the first year and a half. I moved to another company after 18 months where the pay was slightly better (my wife and I wanted to move the same city). Still, I thought with a Bachelor's degree, my internships, and experience I'd be able to break $45k a year. Was I incorrect in my estimation? This was supposed to be the median starting salary when I was looking at majors way back in freshman year.

Should I save some money and go back for a master's or a doctorate? Or is there an experience threshold that I have to cross before getting a salary closer to the original estimation. I enjoy lab work, I find myself efficient and good at it. But at some point the bottom line starts to matter. For some info I work in Texas at $20/hr with nearly 2.5 experience now.

Oh, and I was hired pretty quickly out of school, just none of the offers were really good 2-3 years ago. I took what was the best non contract work because I had loans and bills.

Thank you taking the time to respond, even if it is to toughen up and deal with it.
Ali N. B.
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Re: Advice on Science Career

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun May 10, 2015 11:31 am


We don't discuss salaries on the forum, sorry.

Perhaps you can get some advice about pursuing additional education, or some ways to get a specialty going so that you can increase your earnings, but the focus wouldn't be on talking about whether salaries are appropriate, etc.

Thanks for your understanding.

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Re: Advice on Science Career

Postby Ali N. B. » Sun May 10, 2015 3:20 pm

I apologize Dave, thank you for the heads up. My intention was not to break the rules of this forum. Please let me rephrase the discussion.

There seems to be a disconnect between what kind of industry positions would be available to a BS in a science (but not engineering field), and what I've come across. A lot of the times I find myself applying for positions where someone with an Associate's degree and some experience might also fill. There seems to be a gap between jobs which want an Associate's level with some experience, or jobs which would want a Master's/Postdoc/PhD level. The positions in between, ignoring salaries, seem few and far apart.

Are there positions or specialties that are attainable at this educational level past Lab Technician or Head Technician? I'm rather good and quantitative analysis and working with old and new instrumentation. I understand I've only been working a few years- will work experience help expand or open up my career opportunities later, or is the wisest option to get a Master's or an MBA and move beyond this role? My fear is I will reach a plateau and look back later on and feel I should have gone back. My instinct is to put my nose to the grindstone and just keep working hard. (Back story- I worked as a tech in the military for 5 years, and finished my degree when I got back. I'm about 30, and should decide soon if I should save money and go back on my own dime or continue where I am).
Ali N. B.
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Re: Advice on Science Career

Postby Dick Woodward » Mon May 11, 2015 10:17 am


If you are not committed to laboratory science, I would suggest you explore a career in sales for one of the companies that makes reagents and/or equipment for the biotech industry. There are a lot of discussions both in the Forum and in the Tooling Up articles about this, and I would suggest that you review them. These articles and posts also discuss the directions in which a start in sales can take your career.

Note also that many of these companies provide support for career development education such as an MBA.

Additionally, I think that your military background will be considered a plus in applying for many of these positions.

Good luck,

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