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Any Biologists/Chemists here? (That means you Doctors/dentists/pharmacists)

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by sofaking9000, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Well it looks like my degree will be entirely for show then. If nothing else chemistry is nifty to know.

    Generally they'll let you run machines, prepare samples, that kind of thing.

    The problem with a BS chem is that you really don't have a lot of useful skills. Decent amount of book knowledge, but even there, not usually enough in any one area to be all that useful. If you did research, you'll be better off.

    I was shocked when I got to grad school just how little I actually knew (and I did research in undergrad). It took a couple years before I could really dive in and do serious research. I'm an experimental physical chemist though, there's a big learning curve for all the highly specialized and often home-built stuff we use.

    Once I became an adequate researcher, I had to train a number of brand new grad students. Very few were at all useful right out of undergrad, only a few elite ones were even up for doing real work after a year.

    Not trying to dump on you, I was a BS chemist at one point. It's just sort of the nature of the beast.
     
  2. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    No hate at all. I really appreciate knowing this. As much as I love chemistry, there's not a chance that I could do another 4 years of school. 2 years I could hang for biochem, but a PhD isn't for me.

    A few more questions if you don't mind:
    -Do have a general idea of how much competency counts for when it comes to BS chem jobs? I'm a quick learner, consistently kick ass in (and enjoy) chem lab, and am highly motivated when it comes to working. I love working. As long as I'm busy doing something productive that produces tangible results and doesn't involve accounting, I'm quite happy. Overtime, difficult tasks , etc. all serve as motivation. I realize that I would never be leading jobs, but is it realistic to expect tangible benefits if I bust ass? Is there even a way to bust doing lab work?

    -Do they care about your GPA if you've got the degree when it comes to getting a job?

    -Would work in chemistry make me look good for grad school like lab work does? I've been burned out on school for the last 4 years, but figure that I may take an interest in advancing my chemistry career if I decide that it's what I want to do with my life and have had a bit of a break from the classroom.

    -Can you get the same job with a BA in chem? Can I get any chem related job with a BA? It's 8 less calculus + calc labs and recitations, which are responsible for almost half of my resentment toward school. It also means that I get to take biochem and lit courses, which don't fit in to my schedule now.

    -Does everything that you said about grad school for chem apply for bio? I have a friend who's a double major spanish/BA bio with a 3.7 and guaranteed research work this summer and an opening for next semester, but has no fucking clue what she wants to do with it. She's thinking about med school or grad school but at this point has zero direction and doesn't really want to be a doctor. She thought that she wanted to be a biological anthropologist for a while, but decided that it wasn't for her. Any thoughts there? Would taking a break between graduation and applying for grad school hurt her chances of getting in?
     
  3. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    No hate at all. I really appreciate knowing this. As much as I love chemistry, there's not a chance that I could do another 4 years of school. 2 years I could hang for biochem, but a PhD isn't for me.


    There's a lot in there, I'll hit most of it.

    First: science graduate programs are a little different. You shouldn't really think of it as "four more years of school." I had to take six classes in grad school. Not six a semester, six total (I actually took ten, but didn't need to) You'll spend 99% of your time in lab. Classes are viewed as an annoying hoop you have to jump through. So is teaching, for that matter.

    On the day to day level, it's basically like having a job. It's a strange and often unpleasant type of job, but you are much more a "worker" than a "student." If you're just sick of "school," you may love graduate work. You get to do a lot of really neat science and play with cool toys, without the concern of the bottom line.

    I am not trying to sell you on getting a PhD, just giving a bit of perspective on the process.

    Honestly I really have no first hand experience with this. I haven't actually worked in an environment where they have any BS workers, oddly enough. Grad school, teaching, and soon a government lab where everybody is a postdoc or higher.

    I imagine it's like anything else, people who care, are highly skilled, and work hard will get rewarded. You'd likely get the less mundane work, get raises, etc.

    No idea. They'd likely overlook a lot if you have research experience. I got into grad school and into a very good lab because I had several publications (not first author) coming out of undergrad, despite a mediocre GPA.

    And yes, you can absolutely bust ass doing lab work. Many graduate students will work 12+ hour days on a regular basis. Your opportunities to do that would be lower in a BS industry job I'd imagine, but I'm sure it comes up.

    It's a mixed bag, and depends on what kind of lab you'd be looking at. Labs that have a preference for pushing the academic track will actually hold it against you. They want people that are 100% dedicated to research. The fact that you have more real world experience is outweighed by the fact that you haven't demonstrated total commitment. Other labs will simply appreciate your additional skills. For admission purposes, it'll help if you find a lab that likes your skills, and can't hurt you otherwise.

    I know some people that spent time in industry and are now working on PhD's. Most of them quit. A few made it through. Then again, most people in general quit before finishing.

    I've never seen stats on BA chem jobs, but I doubt they'd care much. I'm a physical chemist and honestly I don't use calculus much at all. There is probably a slight bias towards BS over BA, but I don't know how significant it would be. If you're on the biochem end of things, I imagine the concern would be lower.

    Don't know so much about the attitudes in bio. I would really hesitate to advise grad school for someone that isn't passionate about research. As said in another thread, you should really be trying to decide exactly what facet of your existing research passion you want to pursue, not trying to figure out "wtf do I like about bio (chem/etc) anyway?"
     
  4. Dar FTW

    Dar FTW Senior member

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    I'm going to dentist school this fall, will be some tough years but well worth it! Will probably move to the UK due to the high wages for dentists there, work for a few year, move back to Sweden and raise up the kids! Will perhaps go into private practice later in life.
    i'm starting dschool this fall as well. are you going to school in the states? on another note, i'm finally realizing the financial commitment i'm about to make...nyu=70k/year in tuition(living expenses not included)x4 years=FML
     
  5. sportin_life

    sportin_life Senior member

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    If you truly love science and basic science research, then you should probably consider a Ph.D. rather than pursuing a degree in healthcare. Most M.D.'s who thought they wanted to stay in academics leave for private practice (even the M.D./Ph.D.'s). Keep in mind that if you go after the M.D., it is not only the 4 years in med school, but 3-8 years of post-med school training for residency/fellowship, for a total of 7-12 years before you are done (assuming you didn't do a 2nd degree).

    By that point, most M.D.'s I know feel that they went through so much training that it isn't worth giving up for a path in research. In most academic centers, you are required to be 80/20 for a tenure pathway. On top of that, if you are more interested in the research than in patient care, you leave yourself handicapped even with 80% of time to research, since you are competing with Ph.D.'s with more research training who can also devote 100% of their time to grant procurement. Further, even though the gap is closing salary wise between private practice and major academic centers because of Medicare slashes in reimbursement, there is still a substantial difference. Unless you have wealthy parents or a lot of money saved up, you will likely finish med school with a massive debt that needs to be paid off, making that extra money even more appealing.
     
  6. UncleCozy

    UncleCozy Senior member

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    i'm starting dschool this fall as well. are you going to school in the states?

    on another note, i'm finally realizing the financial commitment i'm about to make...nyu=70k/year in tuition(living expenses not included)x4 years=FML


    Sweden! Karolinska Institute or Sahlgrenska Academy, or Umeå University in the spring of 2012. Also applying for veterinary medicine and several medical schools, though I will most likely only get into dentistry. I find all three equally interesting but I really only have a sure bet at getting into dentistry!

    +
    We pay no tuition at all.. State loans us money for rent, food and other expenses which will easily be paid back in a few years time as a dentist (we're talking about tops 80k USD for five years of studying).
     
  7. JChance

    JChance Senior member

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    Could one hit the $50k mark with a BS?

    Certainly, although I don't know quite how common it is.

    The real issue, for someone interested in science, is what you'll actually be doing on the job. You don't get a lot of freedom as a BS worker most places. Forget about leading projects, no matter how good you are.


    Do some research in college (like 2 years or more), once u graduate with a BS, u could land a $70K job (not easy, but doable)
     
  8. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Do some research in college (like 2 years or more), once u graduate with a BS, u could land a $70K job (not easy, but doable)

    That would be exceedingly rare. That's well above the average for an MS, close to average PhD starting salary.
     
  9. Omar1223

    Omar1223 Senior member

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    i wanted to make this thread b/c i was interested in how many people there were in the medical field on SF. im a 2nd year medical student. semester is almost over and im about to take my step 1.

    my take: my undergrad was not as cut throat as an earlier poster described. i had heard horror stories like that too but i never saw any of that. i went to gwu for what its worth. i like medical school and i like the challenge that comes with it. i did lots of shadowing starting in high school and continuing throughout college in all different medical fields so i kind of knew what i was getting into as far as med school goes. i would recommend the same to anyone considering medicine. i also did research and decided that getting a phd is not for me. i had to go to med school.

    btw, i also agree that pbl style learning is awful.
     
  10. Contingency Plan

    Contingency Plan Senior member

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    btw, i also agree that pbl style learning is awful.

    I'm so glad that my med school has absolutely no pbl.
     
  11. Dar FTW

    Dar FTW Senior member

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    what kind of debt are you med guys looking at?
     
  12. Zach

    Zach Well-Known Member

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    what kind of debt are you med guys looking at?

    I'm not receiving any financial aid, so I'm going to be north of $200K.

    It certainly stokes the fires in regards to studying for the Step 1 exam.

    Off-setting that to an extent - ortho residents at my program are getting offers for general orthopod positions starting at $500K/year, more after a fellowship.

    It's sort of a wash in my eyes - lots of debt and delayed entry into the workforce vs. high income.
     
  13. mink31

    mink31 Senior member

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    I'm a second-year med student. Just got back from studying. Only 12 hours today, though!

    Short version of what's below: yesterday was my birthday and my gift to myself was a set of ear plugs. Sounds exciting? Read on...

    IMO, the best personality traits for succeeding in med school are competitiveness, tenacity and a fair measure of masochism (sit through 6hrs of lectures, then hammer notes into your head for another 6 - or until your eyes hurt - then repeat day-in, day-out without completely losing it requires one to take at least some pleasure in this sort of thing!).

    These traits, along with average intelligence, will probably get you to where you want to be in medicine (I hope - at least for my sake). Sounds like a med student will succeed pretty much anywhere, right? I don't think so. I picked med school because I hate uncertainty. I'm terrible at motivating myself and I lack all initiative. How about $200k in loans for motivation? That'll make you put your ass in gear real fast!

    Provided you put in the necessary hours, medicine offers the guarantee of an intellectually, morally, and financially rewarding career. A railroad track to success. How's that for motivation? Works for me. Yes, there do exist many options. But they are all relatively low-risk. You'll never be forced to starve with an MD (or DO).

    If I had to do it all over again, I'd change two things: take more science classes in undergrad and get better grades in them. I took the basic required pre-med classes, got As and some Bs and indulged my interest in humanities with a bunch of GPA-padding BS classes. Totally not worth it. I didn't get in anywhere on the first try because I didn't play their game. Med schools put your application through the sieve of science grades and MCAT score; based on these factors they decide whether to offer you an interview or not. Having friends on the admission committee doesn't hurt either...

    Despite being in the nadir of my social life during the prime of my youth, I'm excited about the future. In the end, if you work hard enough - if you're able to force yourself to work hard enough - things will work out. At least that's the thought that helps me sleep at night.
     
  14. LoMC

    LoMC Member

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    wow - this is an awful picture of pre-meds. what schools did these people go to???

    We all went to the same University of California school. Naturally, I sold out and went to work for industry, but the girl who studied all the time got into UCSF (which I understand is a very good medical school to go to) and the guy who had the breakdown was never quite the same, but got into Johns Hopkins nonetheless.
     
  15. facebookdigg123

    facebookdigg123 Senior member

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    im applying to med schools this summer. fun!
     
  16. Levator Superioris

    Levator Superioris Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with Orthopedics! I'm almost 4 years outta school (BSE) and did one year in Pharmacy school and hated it. I'm a senior engineer at a large Ortho Implant Manufacturer currently probably going to do a MBA when I get to five years outta school.

    The thing with medicine is that unless you specialize in a high paying specialty (like ortho) you make the same as a mid-career engineer (same age as you when you graduate by then) except you have huge debt.
     
  17. Zach

    Zach Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with Orthopedics! I'm almost 4 years outta school (BSE) and did one year in Pharmacy school and hated it. I'm a senior engineer at a large Ortho Implant Manufacturer currently probably going to do a MBA when I get to five years outta school.

    The thing with medicine is that unless you specialize in a high paying specialty (like ortho) you make the same as a mid-career engineer (same age as you when you graduate by then) except you have huge debt.


    Who do you work for? I know a few reps with Stryker and Smith & Nephews - they get in the OR a lot and seem to make a decent living. It would be a pretty cool job for as engineer.
     
  18. Levator Superioris

    Levator Superioris Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Warsaw, IN lol... Being a rep isn't a piece of cake, it's about running logistics between your firm and the surgeon and you are always subject to the whims of the surgeon. There is an oppertunity to make alot of money but it's quite challenging.

    I know of reps that have had breakdowns... etc It's also pretty competitive to get in to the rep game unless you are already in the field. Many people try to get in, the learning curve is steep and missteps can have legal as well as medical consequences. Also alot of rep wash out, I have been tempted by a few distributors but reality always reels in.

    I am surprised that alot of those reps are engineers, most reps I know weren't those conversely most management level at distributorships are engineers.
     
  19. 1969

    1969 Senior member

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    I work in food science. There is a lot of variation in career tracks, compensation is good and no shortage of work with some experience under your belt. Not the sexiest career, but solid and overlooked.
     
  20. Nazareth

    Nazareth Senior member

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    wow - this is an awful picture of pre-meds. what schools did these people go to???

    His account is pretty accurate. Pre-meds can make undergrad science classes unbearable. People should genuinelly include it in their list of pro's and con's when deciding if medical school is the right path for them, because you will see and hear from these people all the time.
     

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