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Jobs in physics, chemistry or biology

  1. Aug 26, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone I'm coming here to ask for some career advice.

    I graduated last year with my degree in accounting and I'm really at a point that I just hate it and am getting out of the field completely. I was originally studying to be a teacher for history and art however because of the terrible economy that emerged and continues to exist I switched my major to accounting because I believed that I would have a job out of college with a degree such as that. However not only was I wrong about the opportunities I have come to realize that it just isn't for me in anyway shape or form.

    I'm looking to hopefully at some point soon go back to school to try to get into a field that I would like to be in. In the last couple of years I've really developed a big interest in science and am looking into how I could purse a career in it.

    What I would like to know if I decided to pursue my education in physics, chemistry or biology what would my chances of getting a job in the field?

    I think it's safe to say that I would have to go on to graduate school.

    Thank you all for your time in answering my question and I appreciate any advice you could honestly give! Take care
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    Most people have a preference between the three major fields - you don't seem to be leaning any particular way.
    That leads me to suspect that you still don't really know what you want to do with your life - but then, I don't really know you. Science involves a high level of commitment. How did this new "big interest in science" arise? What is inspiring you here? How much contact with actual science have you had?

    It is impossible to figure which would be best for you in terms of future job opportunities - science positions are sought after and the kinds of fall-back jobs have their own tertiary qualifications now. OTOH: science qualification form part of requirements for a range of jobs.

    If you are seriously interested in science then you need to look more around your jurisdictions (recall: this is an international forum) and maybe go to your nearest colleges science dept. open day. Talk to the people there.

    For now I'll give you my standard line: do not go into science with the idea of making money off it. Don't get me wrong, that can happen, and lots of people do get rewarding jobs; but if your main reason for entering any science field is to make money, you will almost certainly be disappointed.
  4. Aug 26, 2014 #3
    You are correct I am still searching around however to be honest with you I really am very interested in biology. I should have specified that earlier. Believe me when I say that I'm not going into a field because I want to get rich however I do want a job and be able to earn a living.
  5. Aug 26, 2014 #4
    Hi there Stars&Stripes,

    I would suggest going into a Biology subfield that can use some skills you have developed. You obtained an accounting degree; what fields of Biology could use some of those transferable skills? Genome sequencing and statistical research? Or, if a whole graduate degree isn't economical, take a few classes in Biology, go be an accountant for a Biotech firm.

    You're likely to need to take a lot of core undergrad courses if you go to graduate school for biology. You may be in school another ~4 years, a lot more if you actually want a Ph.D (you need the core courses before you can understand the research papers vaguely, you need to understand the research papers before you read them and find a subfield you're interested in pursuing, and then there's the main meat of the Ph.D...)

    Good luck! I'm not qualified to answer, so take my words with a grain of salt.
  6. Aug 26, 2014 #5
    Ouch. If you've already made one career mistake, I would strongly caution against grad school. Are you sure you want to be in school for such a large portion of your life?

    If you like science, you might consider engineering or computer science, instead. I don't see how chemistry proper is so much more interesting than chemical engineering, which seems to have better job prospects.
  7. Aug 27, 2014 #6
    Well I am considering a few other options as well but the truth is that I'm really not going anywhere with where I currently am now.
  8. Aug 27, 2014 #7
    Are you a CPA?
  9. Aug 27, 2014 #8
    No I'm not a CPA
  10. Aug 27, 2014 #9
    The research done in chemistry proper is actually different than chemical engineering; as is the work in say nuclear physics proper, for example, very different from nuclear engineering. The research used in applying knowledge can often times be very uninteresting to those who prefer to study and create said knowledge.
  11. Aug 27, 2014 #10
    I understand that. I don't see how that can really apply to a newcomer who doesn't really know what the research is about anyway. Plus, if you have to choose between having to make a career change when you fail to obtain an appropriate position, and doing something that still uses some chemistry, maybe you'd choose the latter.
  12. Aug 28, 2014 #11
    Ouch. I believe that there are still a few really interesting accounting jobs out there, but you'll almost certainly need a CPA for them. And I think working retail would be a more interesting and rewarding job than "accounting" jobs that don't require a CPA.

    Note though that there are LOTS of people who finish biology degrees and end up in jobs not much better than bookkeeping jobs. Sitting at counters doing what amounts to manual labor, with no room for creativity, exploration or much in the way of problem solving. Pretty sure you'll find some chemistry degree holders in similar situations.

    Spend some extra time making sure you know what you're getting into.
  13. Aug 28, 2014 #12


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    Couldn't you become a CPA after gaining some experience and writing a certification exam? Or are you currently unemployed even after earning your accounting degree?
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