I received my B.S. in chemistry last May and am now working in an academic setting setting up labs for undergraduates. I feel like I am in a "dead-end" job with no possibility of advancement and I am not gaining any useful experience for jobs in the future.
I am considering going for my PhD. in chemistry because I want to learn more about chemistry, but I am not sure if it would be worth the money/time. If I do not go for it, I will probably switch jobs and the job openings around here are mostly running samples through GC or LC all day, which is not ideal, but it is at least giving me some experience.
Does getting a PhD. open enough doors in the future to justify the money/time it would take to achieve it?
Ok, so more information.
I would get a stipend and tuition paid, but I am currently supporting myself and my fiance.
I already have $30,000 in loans from undergrad, and I estimate I would need about another $11,000 a year in loans to compensate for the drop in income. So estimating 5 years, that would be $55,000 more in loans.
I heard somewhere that you should borrow no more than you will make in your first year of work. So would a total of $85,000 in loans be too much?
No, education is a good investment as long as you are learning something that will allow you to help. Ph.D. in chemistry I think will help you to find a good position, more so if during your PhD studies you connect to industry and you work on something that is currently important. Best of luck.
I believe the PhD is worth it if you define what you want up front - do you want to go back to industry or try out academics? If you want to go back to industry (80% of graduate students find jobs in industry) then look for a school/advisor that places students in careers/fields that you are interested in going into. Right now, material science or biochemistry are hot areas right now in industry. If you do your pre-work up front, on average you wont regret it (mind you there will be times when you do regret it - that was at least my experience but in the end it was worth it).
You just want to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Most of all you have to do it (your Phd project) because you enjoy it.*
Best wishes on your career!
*This was a useful article:
and this may be of help too:
My first job with my B. A. Chemistry degree was in Germany where I was given a lot of freedom and grew tremendously. When I returned to the U.S. I found a job much as you described so I went for my Ph.D in Materials Science. Years later, I can say it was the best decision for me, because it opened doors and kept me employed continuously for the last 28 years. I was paid a living stipend in graduate school but it would have been a little tough if I had been married at the time. Your loans may be postponable while you return to school if they are NDSL's if they still have such a thing.
Best regards and good luck,
Thanks for the answers everybody! After reading the responses, I think I will probably go for it.
I am really interested in analytical chemistry. I've been thinking that would be a good field to go into. Do ya'll think that'd be a field that would pay off in the long run?