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Other Most employable Science majors?

  1. Jul 4, 2017 #1
    Biology? Biochemistry? Chemistry? Geology? Physics?

    What do you think?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2017 #2

    symbolipoint

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    Yes, mostly. Biochemistry is important for ... ? someone will answer that one. Microbiology is important for healthcare, used in hospitals, medical laboratories, food processing companies. Chemistry is necessary for environmental analysis testing services, producers of manufactured chemicals, mining, metal treatment, blended product chemical formulation producers.
     
  4. Jul 5, 2017 #3
    All job markets are local. The supply and demand of one degree in one location may be different from in other locations. Also, employability may also depend on other factors: advanced degree or just bachelors? Whether one can teach with a degree in the government schools may also be a factor, as well as the supply and demand of teachers with that major. And even if a chemistry degree allows you to teach chemistry in the local high schools, and chemistry majors are in very high demand, that chemistry job may only pay half of the mean salary for chemistry majors in that location. How do you factor that in?
     
  5. Jul 5, 2017 #4

    StatGuy2000

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    To the OP:

    I checked your previous posts and you state that you are located in Ontario, Canada. So I have a few follow-up questions for you to help answer your question:

    1. Where in Ontario are you located? Are you located in, say, Toronto or the GTA, or in a smaller city/town? (btw, I'm located in Toronto)

    2. Your earlier posts state that you are physics and biology student. How far along are you in your studies? Do you intend to pursue graduate studies?

    3. Following up on questions #1 and #2, are you looking to seek employment in Ontario only? Elsewhere in Canada? Are you willing to relocate to the US or even outside of North America?

    Your answers to these questions would affect which fields are employable or not.
     
  6. Jul 5, 2017 #5

    StatGuy2000

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  7. Jul 6, 2017 #6

    russ_watters

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    It also matters how broad the application of yor degree is that you are willing to accept. If you want a physics job via your physics degree, your prospects will be much thinner than if you would also accept a finance job.
     
  8. Jul 6, 2017 #7
    Note that the job market can invert over a relatively short interval. For example, in late 1999, there was a shortage of scientists and engineers to work on optoelectronic devices and lightwave systems to provide high-bandwidth networks for all the exciting Internet services to come. By mid-2001, the Internet Bubble had burst, and hi-tech companies in these sectors were laying off like crazy. This is not an isolated example. So don't necessarily chase after a specialty that is currently hot ... by the time you graduate, it may be subzero. If you want as near a guarantee of employment as possible, become an MD.
     
  9. Jul 6, 2017 #8

    Nidum

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    The subjects offering the best employment prospects at graduate entry level in industry are always the ones which have a strong core content of applied maths .

    A graduate with applied maths skills can be trained quite quickly to do almost any task and employers know this .
     
  10. Jul 6, 2017 #9
    That is incredibly gross hyperbole. Consider, as one example out of many, a semiconductor device company. A candidate with strong applied math competency, and nothing else, could be considered, e.g., for a position in the quality or reliability depts doing statistical analysis. But he wouldn't be considered for device design, device fabrication, or device testing positions.
     
  11. Jul 6, 2017 #10

    Nidum

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    No it's not . Companies such as RR and BAe in the UK always have and still do on a regular basis take in graduates in any subject with a strong core of applied maths and within about a year turn many of them into very skilled and capable people working in many different fields of technology .

    The other topics learned in undergraduate courses are of course of some value but given sufficient maths skills and some general scientific knowledge any graduate can learn job specific skills rapidly given the right training support .
     
  12. Jul 6, 2017 #11

    Choppy

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    It's pretty easy to look up data to answer a question like this. For example:
    Of course the data will fluctuate depending on a number of factors. And really I'm not sure that the world works as simply as "choose this major and you'll have that probability of being employed." There are a lot of factors that influence your employment status after you graduate and your major is just one of them.

    Perhaps better questions to ask are those such as:
    • What can I do to make myself more employable as a ____ major?
    • What field(s) of employment should I be preparing myself for as a ____ major?
    • How do I personally view the difference between my post-secondary education and preparation for the working world?
    • What electives should I be focusing on if I want to work in the ____ sector?
    • What kinds of part-time jobs or internships should I be aiming for?
     
  13. Jul 8, 2017 #12

    StatGuy2000

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    @CrysPhys, we do not need someone who chooses to pursue a medical degree solely for the sake of employment (rather than the desire to help people, which should be the primary, if not the only, reason to pursue medicine). So you are not giving the OP good advice.
     
  14. Jul 8, 2017 #13
    That's a distorted and incorrect assessment of what I wrote. If the question is what course of study and what degree will give you the highest probability of getting a job upon completion, an MD is either at or near the top of the list. Unless there's some magic breakthrough in which people don't get sick, don't get injured, don't grow old ...., there won't be a market inversion for medical doctors between the start of the program and the completion of the program. You can't say that for most other fields. What motivates people to enter any field of endeavor (whether it's employability, money, power, fame, serving the public good, saving the polar bears, solving world hunger, ...) is not for me to pass judgement on.

    ETA: My career has spanned the semiconductor meltdown of the early 1990's, the Internet Bubble Burst of the early 2000's, and the worldwide financial crisis of 2008. Many people's lives (including my own) were disrupted by these market conditions. And many people (including myself) had to leave the careers that they had originally chosen because they had an innate passion for them and switch to other fields out of necessity. So, yes, ChemE's became MDs, EE's became high-school teachers, and physicists became patent agents ... not because early in life they had a calling from within or from on high, but because of practical realities. But why or how they ended up changing careers was not dispositive on how competent they became, how effective they became, or how dedicated they became in their new careers.

    Let me pose a hypo to you: Your life depends on a tricky surgical operation. You have a choice between Surgeon A, a technically brilliant surgeon with an impressive track record, and Surgeon B, a marginally competent surgeon with a mediocre track record. On the record, Surgeon A has stated that he became an MD because of the stable career trajectory and the opportunity to earn big bucks. On the record, Surgeon B has stated that he became an MD because of an innate desire to help people and serve the public good. Which surgeon would you choose?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  15. Jul 8, 2017 #14

    StatGuy2000

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    I am not disputing that an MD will give the graduate of such programs a high probability of stable employment, at least in the US (the situation is similar but somewhat more complicated in Canada, which will require a whole separate thread). But what you ignore is that to enter a medical program, at least in the US and Canada, one needs to complete a minimum of 2 or 3 years of a pre-med program where they are required to take a number of STEM courses (and more often than not, most people end up pursuing a 4 year full degree program). Then such a student will need to take the MCAT or some equivalent medical entrance exam, and then apply to numerous medical schools (which tend to be highly competitive to enter, especially the more prestigious the school). Then the student will need to pursue another 4 years of medical school, and then upon graduation will need to complete another 3-7 years of residency before finally earning his/her license. That is a total of approximately 9-15 years from the time a student enters university until he/she earns his/her medical license.

    By contrast, to become, say, an electrical engineer, will only require a completion of a 4 year bachelor's degree, plus (in Canada) a completion of 4 years of work experience under a licensed electrical engineer (as an engineer-in-training or engineering graduate) before writing the professional engineering exam and getting licensed. That's only 8 years.

    So to sum it up, to dedicate that many years to finally become an MD must require, at least at some level, a passion for and a desire to help patients.

    To start off, your hypothetical doesn't ring true, because for Surgeon A to earn that track record, he would have had to become tremendously dedicated in pursuing the path to an MD degree plus specializing in the surgical field he works in during his residency. To get there would necessarily involve at least some (actually, a considerable) level of interest/dedication/passion to help the patient (see my earlier comment), even if it wasn't the initial motivation to enter the field. Not even the most brilliant individual out there can develop an impressive track record in any field without considerable trial and effort.
     
  16. Jul 8, 2017 #15
    I’m not ignoring the prerequisites for an MD. And your comparison with the BSEE degree is not an even comparison. Instead, consider a physics PhD program in the US: 4 yrs BS, 6-7 yrs PhD (for experimentalists); that’s 10-11 yrs base. Then, for an academic track, tack on ~2 yrs postdoc, and ~5 yrs as a junior professor [assuming you can get hired as one], before being considered for tenure (being granted tenure is yet another story). For a non-academic track, apply for a research physics position in industry or government, or repackage yourself and apply for a position in another field (software, finance, engineering, patent prosecution, ....). Back to the core issue: What is the probability of employment (in the chosen field or otherwise) upon completion of an MD vs PhD?

    I don’t think we’re in basic disagreement, but a different viewpoint. A strong desire for near-guaranteed employment upon completion of training and a strong desire for a stable, well-paying career are by themselves not sufficient for a successful career. It’s obvious that you need the proper qualifications [such as capabilities, talent, skills, personality, education, and training] required in any particular career to succeed in that particular career. But you are of the strong opinion that unless a person is primarily motivated by a passion and desire to help patients, he won’t be a good doctor. While I’m saying that even if a person is primarily motivated by other factors [near-guaranteed employment, money, prestige, ...], he still can be a good doctor ... if he satisfies the necessary qualifications. Just as one particular example: In the aftermath of the 1970’s oil crises, Chem Eng was a hot area. So one guy I knew did his due diligence in surveying the job outlook and declared a major in Chem Eng for a BS. By the time his graduation neared, however, the market had inverted, and surprise, surprise, he couldn’t find a job. He wasn’t going to be burned twice, so he took some remedial courses, went to med school, and eventually became a successful doctor. If the market hadn’t inverted, he probably would have gotten a job as a chem eng in a petroleum company. So even though he didn’t have a calling early in life to save patients, he had the right qualifications to become a good MD, and did so become one.

    ETA. So let me qualify my advice: (1) If you want near-guaranteed employment upon completion of a degree (and required follow-on training), and (2) if you have the desire and the capabilities to become a doctor, get an MD. [Although I think (2) should be a given, and stating it explicitly is superfluous.]
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  17. Jul 10, 2017 #16
    The topic of the thread is employability. You compared an MD program with a BSEE program. Just to clarify: Are you claiming that a BSEE has the same near-guarantee of employability that an MD has, at least in Canada? What was the job market in Canada like for freshly minted BSEEs in the aftermath of the Internet Bubble Burst in the early 2000's and in the wake of the demise of Nortel, which dumped an army of EEs onto the job market? In comparison, how did freshly minted MDs fare over the same period?
     
  18. Jul 10, 2017 #17

    StatGuy2000

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    The point of my comparison with engineers (of which I pulled electrical engineers as a specific example) and MDs is that, in Canada, both fields are regulated professions, in that to legally work as either (and to be able to called an engineer) require professional certification. See the following for my home province of Ontario:

    Professional Engineers of Ontario: http://www.peo.on.ca/

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario: http://www.cpso.on.ca/

    Since both engineers and physicians are regulated professions in Ontario, Canada, both of which are highly employable in this province, I wanted to point out the different standards of certification to actually be able to work in these two professions. The barrier to entry of becoming an MD is far higher than the barrier to entry of becoming an engineer.

    Now onto the specific question of employability -- engineers in general are highly employable in the province of Ontario. For electrical engineers in particular -- yes, both the Internet Bubble Burst of the early 2000s and the demise of Nortel had negative impacts on employment in that sector, but the so-called "army" of EEs were (for the most part) subsequently able to find work in other firms in need of engineers (also keep in mind that there has been a long-running trend of significant proportion of EE graduates migrating to the US for work for higher wages, which has taken place long before the Internet Bubble Burst or the downfall of Nortel).

    In my personal experience, I have never encountered an engineer (or engineering graduate -- many engineering graduates work outside the field out of their own choice) that has been unemployed for longer than a few months.

    As for the employability of MDs in Ontario -- I suggest you read the following articles here:

    1. http://nationalpost.com/health/untr...ions/wcm/d4f5f5ef-de91-4ace-92d7-11d58b36c502 (a sensationalist article, to be sure, and outdated, but nonetheless should give you a taste of the challenges of becoming a physician in Canada, including my province)

    2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/1-in-6-new-medical-specialists-say-they-can-t-find-work-1.1931800 (similar report, dating back to 2013, regarding how new medical specialists can't find work. The situation has changed since that time though)

    3. http://www.royalcollege.ca/rcsite/documents/health-policy/employment-report-2013-e.pdf (PDF report summarizing the findings of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada on the employment picture of specialists -- a good complement of the CBC news report in #2)
     
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