Hi everyone, My name is Brett Hixson and I just graduated from Ferris State University with a BA in Chemistry minor biology, and an associates in Industrial chemistry technology. It took me a month after graduating this summer to find a job and it's a research and development position at Owens Illinois. It's extremely challenging and interesting and I really enjoy what I do. I've worked here going on two months now and have already been told I will have my 90 day contract position put to full time employee for O-I and be contracted for this project for another Year.
The money is good for a starting position and I assume I will get a raise when I sign on salary for the year. Maybe not even. But ultimately I want to be making more around the 50k/year and right now I'm at 33k/year. I'm interested in ideas of making myself more valuable to the company and open to any suggestions. I'm taking advantage of every opportunity that is thrown my way here with the company too. In order to reach my goal will I have to look into furthering my education? If so then what is the big difference between a PhD and a masters in chemistry? How will I know which chemistry grad school major I'll want to be? Really any suggestions would help me out a ton especially from people who may be further with their career that used to be in my shoes or still is. I'm establishing a good resume in the working world but I'm unsure what will happen or I will do after my year contract extension. Thanks in advance for your comments, my email is email@example.com and I would appreciate a private email if you prefer not to comment on the post. Thanks.
It sounds like you are off to a good start with your career. I would suggest you contact some of the folks on the Committee for Technician Affairs (www.acs.org/cta) and the Applied Chemical Technology Subdivision of the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division (http://acts.sites.acs.org/). Both groups have many members who have been in your situation and will be happy to offer advice.
One thing that they have told me is that they were able to use the leadership experience they gained through their volunteer work to advance their careers. Often, they work with their ACS local section, perhaps by organizing an outreach project or holding an office. Additionally, such work is a great way to meet people and expand your network.
Pursuing an advanced degree depends a lot on your interests. You do not necessarily need one to advance your career (and your salary). If you are interested in specific areas of chemistry, a master's degree in that area may be of interest. If you want to dedicate your career to research, you may want to consider a doctorate. If you want to pursue a management track, you may want to consider an MBA (again, not necessary--but helpful).
You could also consider touching base with your alumni association. I have met some pretty impressive graduates of FSU, and I'm sure they would have some great advice for you.