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Author: Subject: Does anybody work in the "chemistry field"?
LD5050
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[*] posted on 22-5-2017 at 08:23
Does anybody work in the "chemistry field"?


I was wondering if anybody here has a job related to chemistry in some way. The reason why I am asking is because I am interested in going to school for organic chemistry and I would love to some how find a career in doing what I love to do. My entire life I have been busting my ass working masonry and welding for my fathers company and I'm just tired of it now and I really don't want to do this for the rest of my life. My passion is chemistry and everything I know I taught myself and I really want to go to school and have a proper understanding of the subject.

If I could some how turn my passion into a career it would be a dream come true and I was wondering what kind of jobs are out there that one could work in a lab setting working with beakers and roto vaps instead of shovels and hammers.

Also I was wondering if anyone has advice on maybe where to find a good online chemistry course. I signed up for the "Greater Courses Plus" that Nile Red advertised but I would like something a little different, something with tests and quizzes on what ever material was just learned.
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PirateDocBrown
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[*] posted on 22-5-2017 at 09:03


https://www.khanacademy.org/search?page_search_query=chemist...

https://www.edx.org/course?search_query=chemistry


Or check your local 2 year public college.


[Edited on 5/22/17 by PirateDocBrown]
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LD5050
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[*] posted on 22-5-2017 at 21:45


Thanks Docbrown those links look good im going to give them a try.
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 12:34


Graduated with a chem degree in 2013, I spend my first year and a half in an environmental lab analyzing water, soils, and oils for alcohols, glycols, and dioxanes, as well as analyzing natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, and transformer gas for composition and impurities. I then left that job and spend two years at a major petrochemical company doing absolutely EVERYTHING under the sun involving gasoline, diesel, asphalt, LPGs, etc. Those first two jobs were strictly "follow-the-method" careers that probably didnt actually require a college degree to do, but my college background in chem saw me utilized (but not paid) in ways beyond the typical analyst at either job.

I just started as an R&D Formulations Scientist at a pyrotechnics company and I am definitely putting my chem degree to work now. There are lots of jobs out there in the analytical/environmental chemistry sector; in fact thats where MOST of the jobs are. But get a few years of post collegiate experience under your belt and the cool chem jobs start to become available to you.
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PirateDocBrown
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 16:07


I worked for a polymer firm when I was an undergrad, making polyester and vinyl ester resins on a pilot plant scale for a variety of products, structural fiberglass composites for RV and boat bodies, bowling balls and pins, microwave dishes, engineered stone. I did all kinds of stuff, physical testing, corrosion resistance, formulation, QA.

After grad school, got a job at a major firm making medical products, polyurethane casts, electrically conductive polymers for EKG electrodes. A lot of scale ups here, too.

Several other jobs, a cosmetics firm making hair products, another major firm making high pressure osmotic filtration polymers, another for adhesives, and one for space-filling polymers, like caulks.

Had my own small business making cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, creams, lotions, and the scents for them.

At age 50, I looked around at myself, divorced, no dependants, house and car paid off, no other debt, and decided to take some time off. So here I am, 2 years later, a bit of a sabbatical. I fully expect to work another 20 years, though.
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tshirtdr1
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 17:51


I teach at a small university. I enjoy it and I don't have a lot of advanced equipment, but I have most of what I need. I recommend that you do some research on what types of interesting jobs are available to you where you are. Ask yourself some tough questions; Are you willing to relocate for a job? Can your dad get along without you? Do you have a family to support while you attend school? Attending school is like planting a tree. The best time to do it was 10 years ago. The second best time to start is today. If you have a real desire to learn, you will probably do well, so go for it. Also, if you really want to learn organic chemistry, try educator.com. It is paid, but they have an excellent organic sequence. I have found nothing comparable for free.
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Texium (zts16)
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 19:09


I'm an undergraduate, but I have a job in a research lab at my university. I run organic syntheses, have access to the university's NMR, and get paid well to do something that I enjoy. It's a pretty great job. If it wasn't for my experience with amateur chemistry, I probably wouldn't have gotten it (or if I did, I may have been consigned to washing glassware and watching the "pros"). Instead I'm helping teach the grad students how to run columns. ;)

This summer it's been especially nice, because without class to worry about, I've been able to work full time and I've really been enjoying it. Might not even take Memorial Day off!




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Amos
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[*] posted on 26-5-2017 at 22:11


So I'm an engineering student (bioengineering to be exact; I've only had a modicum of chemistry education). Organic Chemistry I was part of my curriculum and me being the flunkie I am, I got a D in the class. Didn't matter.

I applied for an internship for an analytical organic chemistry position at a biotech company in the area and used strictly my home chemistry knowledge and experience, as well as a generous letter of recommendation from a TA in my organic chemistry lab class, and got a job there. They want me to come back after I have my degree and work there full-time.

Find the right place, and you can absolutely get a job doing chemistry without a degree that explicitly mentions it. The right people and the right companies will recognize and appreciate our hobby provided you know what you're doing.
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LD5050
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[*] posted on 27-5-2017 at 18:02


Thanks everyone, great info. Reading your replays encourages me to do what I've always wanted to do.
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[*] posted on 28-5-2017 at 05:02


Quote: Originally posted by zts16  
I'm an undergraduate, but I have a job in a research lab at my university. I run organic syntheses, have access to the university's NMR, and get paid well to do something that I enjoy. It's a pretty great job. If it wasn't for my experience with amateur chemistry, I probably wouldn't have gotten it (or if I did, I may have been consigned to washing glassware and watching the "pros"). Instead I'm helping teach the grad students how to run columns. ;)

This summer it's been especially nice, because without class to worry about, I've been able to work full time and I've really been enjoying it. Might not even take Memorial Day off!


Sounds familiar . . .
(although in my case the grad students want advice with fixing vacuum pumps, not setting up chromatography columns)

I'm definitely going to be working this Memorial Day.




As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 2-6-2017 at 11:58


Quote: Originally posted by LD5050  
I was wondering if anybody here has a job related to chemistry in some way. The reason why I am asking is because I am interested in going to school for organic chemistry and I would love to some how find a career in doing what I love to do. My entire life I have been busting my ass working masonry and welding for my fathers company and I'm just tired of it now and I really don't want to do this for the rest of my life. My passion is chemistry and everything I know I taught myself and I really want to go to school and have a proper understanding of the subject.

If I could some how turn my passion into a career it would be a dream come true and I was wondering what kind of jobs are out there that one could work in a lab setting working with beakers and roto vaps instead of shovels and hammers.

Also I was wondering if anyone has advice on maybe where to find a good online chemistry course. I signed up for the "Greater Courses Plus" that Nile Red advertised but I would like something a little different, something with tests and quizzes on what ever material was just learned.


I'm in the same boat as you, except I'm a carpenter. I've had the same job for

17 years. I'm 34 now. My buddies at work say I'm to old to go to the university.

Also, I've heard horror stories about people getting a degree in Chem, and

then they can't find/get a job in the field. It sounds like a big risk, but it's one I

would like to take

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[*] posted on 3-6-2017 at 12:28


Quote: Originally posted by ELRIC  


I'm in the same boat as you, except I'm a carpenter. I've had the same job for

17 years. I'm 34 now. My buddies at work say I'm to old to go to the university.

Also, I've heard horror stories about people getting a degree in Chem, and

then they can't find/get a job in the field. It sounds like a big risk, but it's one I

would like to take



its never too late to go to school. Just take night classes. I looked up some Chem courses at mas bay and they are very affordable .
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[*] posted on 5-6-2017 at 03:33


It is never too late to go to school if you have "fire in the belly." Years ago I hired a Ph D organic chemist who had just graduated at age 36. After his BS degree at 22 he "dropped out" and worked as a plumber until he was 30. He went back to school to refresh his chemistry while working part time then applied to grad school. He was accepted at one of the Univ Cal schools, ripped through all his qualifying exams then did the work to get his PhD in just under 4 years. I knew his thesis prof well and so hired the man on the basis of the prof's recommendation. This turned out to be one of the very best hires I had ever made - I hired perhaps 100 PhD chemists over my career. The work ethic and maturity level made him a real leader and valuable contributor.

The point of this is that if you have the desire and can demonstrate the required aptitude, you will succeed. Will you have difficulty finding a position? Perhaps but with the right presentation of your skills and maturity along with support of professors you should be competitive.

I wish you all the best,

AvB
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[*] posted on 2-8-2017 at 09:22


I don't work in the chemistry field but this is relevant to the last discussion. Don't be afraid to go back to school. I went back when I was 55 and got a degree in Biology. I've not found a job in the field, but I don't want to relocate, either. Now I'm 60 and I start back to school this month to get my master's degree in biology. I won't work in biology unless a miracle happens, but it's about the learning, at least for me. What I learned helped me to set up a home lab, and I do as much of it as I want, all the time. I don't have to specialize, today it's bugs, tomorrow plants, the next day protists. And I might add that older students tend to make a lot better grades, have good study habits, and are more serious about their studies. I graduated with a 3.87 and the Dean's list every semester, magna cum laude. So go ahead, go back to school, have a blast, and show them young'uns how it's done!



...it has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.

Robert H. Goddard
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 12:26


I work in the chemistry field in several different areas, but I actually don't have a degree. Interestingly, it was my active interest in hobby chemistry and research that landed me my first chemistry job.

Over the years I have continued to spend money on equipment, glassware, and chemicals. One day in a chemical supply store, I encountered a guy who was asking the store-clerk some chemical compatibility question. The store clerk didn't know, but I chimed in and gave him advice. He was so appreciative of it that he asked me what sort of chemistry I was doing, and preceded me to offer a job. The guy turned out to be the president of some company that did work with polymers, plastics, and biofuels, and said he needed people like me who had hands on laboratory experience. I asked him why he would want me over someone with a degree, and he said that in his eyes, he values experience and hands on knowledge that can be demonstrated more so than any degree. Not to mention, lacking a degree, he could justify paying me less :p.

I'm still in School wanting to get a degree, and have my own side business, but it just goes to show you.... Chemistry is such a HUGEEE field with applications all over the place, from perfumes, cleaning products, plastics, paints, swimming pools, food production, and so on. Not everyone in the industry cares so much about a degree. In fact, most of these people who are running some business that involves chemicals know very little about chemistry itself, outside of the chemicals they work with. If you ever get the opportunity to demonstrate the fact that you have hands on tangible knowledge, it can be worth so much more than a degree in many cases. Demonstrating that you have the knowledge of how to safely handle chemicals, systems under pressure, vacuum, and other basic chemical principals is a skill you shouldn't take for granted.

I know a lot of people here make it a point not to spend much money on their home lab, but personally I have invested a crap load of money on my lab equipment over the last 5+ years. People who love cars spend thousands of dollars on their cars, so how is an interest in chemistry any different? There's so much that can be done with chemistry equipment outside of actual chemistry. Having equipment alone can enable you to generate some part time income by producing things and selling on eBay for instance, if it ever came to it.

Don't give up on your passion for chemistry. It is not only very fun, but can open you up to real work opportunities, very valuable hands on experience, and even the knowledge to generate some side income by using your chemistry knowledge.

I've actually been offered a job multiple times in a chemical supply store as a result of helping people. One time I encountered some literal hillbilly farmers who were in the chemical supply store trying to buy some bulk cleaning chemicals for their animal stalls or something. I forgot what it was exactly, but I offered them some advice about sourcing as well as chemical handling safety or something, and they said "we need someone like you on the farm to take care of these things"

There was another time some guy in the chemical supply store was some eBay reseller who has acquired a bunch of insect attractant or something, and was searching for a way to best weigh it out so he could sell it on eBay. He literally asked the store clerk if he knew anyone who could help with the task. I happen to be standing nearby and chatted with the guy. It wasn't a full time position, but he was willing to pay a hefty chunk to have someone knowledgeable help out with this.

These sorts of opportunities are in abundance, many of them are just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I can't even fathom the sheer number of opportunities that have come through that store when I wasn't there. For a lot of these people it doesn't even cross their mind to try to find someone who is knowledgeable about chemistry, or in many cases, they just reason that they "can't afford to hire" someone who has a degree, so they don't even bother. Most people running small businesses that have some sort of predominant chemical task are just lay-people who don't know the first thing about finding some skilled person to hire.

[Edited on 8-8-2017 by Lillica]
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 12:39


I completed the requirements for a chemistry minor in college, but I have never done any chemistry except hobby chemistry.



This is my YouTube channel: Extreme Red Cabbage. I don't have much posted, but I try to do nice writeups once in a while.
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[*] posted on 12-9-2017 at 17:32


I agree that going back to school for new knowledge is always great and I recommend it.

However, i have been in chemistry for ~30+ years now, and the job outlook is the worst in years, terrible for organic and synthetic chemists. There are still some jobs in analytical, environmental, and biochemistry. Lilly just announced 2500 layoffs, the most recent layoffs of dozens in the pharma sector. I was one of them about 10 years ago. I found work in a more academic area, but those are dependent on federal funding, which is been getting more scarce with the last few years. Almost none of my peers are left in industry, many are trying to stay in research, mostly in academics, government, and non-profit sectors. But now new graduates are competing against 50 year old post docs for jobs... One coworker is a 7th year post doc, he found one biotech job and the company closed a year later and he came back.

I think there are some fields of chemistry and engineering that might do better in time, but even the previous rich petrochemical world is reeling now, so I would look for a job in a better area, and dabble in chemistry, or take classes in it while in school, but don't expect to find a great job in it right now.
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[*] posted on 12-9-2017 at 22:08


I did a quick search for "jobs for chemists." There are many openings. Are you willing to relocate? Are you flexible on salary? Don't expect it to be your "dream" job.

For my last job I relocated 1500 miles. The job lasted 22 years until I retired.




The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
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[*] posted on 13-9-2017 at 07:00


I worked in the chemical industry for several years. For one of the biggest names in the game.
Started as a material handler (posh way of describing a packager/flt driver).
Then I was a tanker loader/offloader.
Then a plant operator.
And finally a process technician.

All without a single qualification or piece of paper to my name!

One of the biggest regrets in my adult life losing that job. Enjoyed it and got paid a small fortune too! And looking back I can't help being amazed at the chemical access I had. Shit the sky was practically the limit! In bulk too.

Hindsight n nostalgia. Two of life's wonderful things/bitches. Lol
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