Holding a Degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry opens up a wide spectrum of career opportunities. Obviously they are a requirement for entry into technical areas of industries one normally associates with these disciplines: healthcare, pharmaceuticals, materials/polymers, biotechnology and personal care products. While there is great demand for individuals with these skill sets for the generation, formulation, analysis and testing of new agents in all these industries, one is not by any means “tied to the bench” by degree. Chemists and biochemists staff positions that run the gamut of alternatives from management to sales. Because these degrees are technically and intellectually demanding and are focused on training in discovery and problem solving, they are of appreciable value in many “non-traditional” settings, such as business, consulting, law and marketing. While industry employs the vast majority of degree-bearing chemists, opportunities in education span from teaching at the elementary level to college and research intensive universities such as Georgia Tech.
Different jobs will have different degree requirements. There is significant demand for the chemists and biochemists bearing the bachelors degree and with experience such individuals can rise to significant professional levels in most industries, particular with a strong commitment and excellent interpersonal skills. The highest entry-level positions generally require an MS and/or Ph.D., and these positions command generally higher entry-level salaries.
For more on Careers in Chemistry and Careers in Biochemistry, see the left panel.
If you are considering going on to graduate School, you should take a look at the Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry guide produced by the American Chemical Society.
If you have some interest, we encourage you to engage in undergraduate research at an early stage in your time at GT. This will help you decide if graduate school is a good choice for you and also help ensure that your applictaion is competitive. Good graduate schools look for students with considerable prior research experience and ideally publications/presentations that have come out of their research, as this best indicator of a good outcome in graduate school. As experimental research is not quick, it is important to start relatively early in your time as an undergraduate.
Nationally only ~65% of students entering chemistry PhD programs leave with a PhD. The most common reason for a student to leave graduate school without an advanced degree is that the reality of graduate school is different from the student's expectations. If you have spent a significant amount of time doing undergraduate research at GT, you will already have a good picture of what life in a high quality graduate program is like.
1) American Chemical Society http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers.html
2) ACS Career profiles http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/chemists/job-type.html
3) Georiga Tech Pre-Health http://prehealth.gatech.edu/
4) Georgia Tech Divison of Professional Practice http://www.profpractice.gatech.edu/
5) Georgia Tech Undergraduate Reseach http://urop.gatech.edu/
6) Career Cornerstone Center http://www.careercornerstone.org/chemistry/chemistry.htm
7) MIT Career videos http://chemvideos.mit.edu/all-videos/