6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 9, 2013 12:48 PM by James Stickler

    How to become a Chemist?

    Tiffany Draper

      Hello. My name is Tiffany Draper and I am in search to find a mentor to help me on my career path to becoming a Chemist. I am currently getting my Associates in Health Care Administration and am gearing towards getting my Bachelors in Chemistry or Biochemistry. If there is anyone that can provide me with a little guidance I would greatly appreciate it.


      Thanks so much.

        • Re: How to become a Chemist?
          Deborah Fox Walsh

          Hi Tiffany,

              Find someone where you are now that you are comfortable with, someone who knows you and likes to work with you and can connect you to others--a professor, or career advisor for example.  A good mentor relationship is reciprocal, complementary, and mutually beneficial, so take it seriously.

              Talk to the Chemistry Department at your current school, and take a look around for Chemistry or BioChemistry programs at other schools that may interest you.  Find out what you need as prerequisites to get into an accredited  Bachelor of Science program of your choice -- good test scores and a high school curriculum that is strong in math and science is important. In your case, some of the college courses you have already taken may transfer to satisfy Chemistry program requirements.

              Once accepted into an undergraduate program, continue to network as you complete your coursework! If you like the laboratory environment, an undergraduate degree prepares you for work as a technician or research assistant. An alternate path is graduate school-- its helpful to consider your choices in advance so you don't miss any opportunities.   Your school has career services and advisors that can connect you to employers and/or graduate programs, and if you can connect with alumni, they can be be a great help as mentors and career contacts.

          Good Luck!

          • Re: How to become a Chemist?
            Michael Dowell

            Hi Tiffany,


            I agree with everything that Deborah says. It's certainly good to have a mentor, and perhaps you have already talked this over with someone you like and trust. Maybe you would like to tell us a little more about your situation. For example, have you taken chemistry courses as part of your health care administration program? If so, did you meet any chemistry teachers who would like to help? And can you stay at the same school to major in chemistry, or is there a school near you that offers a chem major? Especially because you were attracted to health care and are considering biochemistry, maybe you would like to share something that made you like chemistry as a career.

            • Re: How to become a Chemist?
              Jeannette Brown

              You have gotten some good advise from the previous posts.  Since you appear to be a minority I would also advise you to consult with members of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. (NOBCChE).  There is a listserve NOBCChEwomen at Yahoo.

              I have also written a book African American Women Chemists Published by Oxford U Press.  You may be able to get if from your library or by interlibrary loan.  You could even purchase a copy   There is a woman biochemist Lynda Jordan in the book.  You can read her story if nobody else.

              I wrote the book to provide role models for young chemists and I am writing a second volume to include some of the women who are members of NOBCChE.

              Good luck.

              • Re: How to become a Chemist?
                Julianne Wolfe

                Hi Tiffany,


                I would advise you to do as many internships as you can during your undergrad.  This benefits you in a few ways.  First it will help you decide better what you might want to focus on.  It also exposes you to various people with whom you can start to fashion a network.  This can provide you with a number of people you can turn to for advice, reference and encouragement.  Plus, people who hire like to see real world experiences.  It is a slightly different angle to answer your question but I hope this helps.


                Good luck!

                • Re: How to become a Chemist?
                  James Stickler

                  I think that the strategies outlined by the previous responses  provide good advice.  The questions which you have to answer are:  (1) What chemistry courses have you taken while in allied health program? (2) What are your math skills?  and (3) What do you see yourself doing in the field of chemistry?