Q: I currently attend Florida A & M University. I am majoring in chemistry and plan to pursue pharmacy. I have three years before I graduate, but I was wondering what opportunities exist in science. I go to career fairs and the amount of people looking for people with chemistry degrees seems quite low. I hear too often from people who are still looking for work when I thought they would have jobs lined up. How can I set myself apart from the rest early to make sure that once I’m done with undergrad, finding a job is the least of my worries?
– J. Rollem, Via Internet
A: The rate of employment for chemists and those in related fields, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will be slower than average through 2014. But there will be concentrated job growth for chemists in several key areas. Among them: pharmaceuticals, medicine manufacturing, engineering, and scientific research and development services. Opportunities increase with every degree in grad school, so your decision to get your master’s is a smart one. The median salary for chemists, respectively holding a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a Ph.D. is $62,000, $73,000 and $91,000. You should concentrate your efforts on building your network, finding mentors, and gaining experience through internships. Log on regularly to www.sciencecareers.org, an informative Website offering trends, profiles, and job opportunities.