Careers in Chemistry and PhysicsRelated Fields
Developed by
Mark Hartman, Emily Dunkel
GK-12 Fellows: Harvard University & Cambridge Public Schools
Sponsored by
National Science Foundation
How much is a “good” salary?
 City of Cambridge (2003)
Apartment Size
Typical Monthly Rent
Minimum Household
income required
(assume 30% goes
toward rent)
1 Bedroom
$1400
$56, 000
2 Bedroom
$1725
$69, 000
3 Bedroom
$2300
$92, 000
 HUD estimated median income for family of 4:
$80,800
How to think about salary
 Some jobs are offered as a salary per year, others as
wages by the hour.
 Assuming a 40 hour week, a year is 2000 hours and the
following rates of pay are equivalent:
Yearly salary
$10,300
$20,000
$30,000
$50,000
$80,000
Hourly wage
$5.15 (minimum wage)
$10.00
$15.00
$25.00
$40.00
Higher Degree = More Earnings
Average Yearly Salary / Cost
70,000
60,000
Salary
50,000
40,000
"1 bedrm Apt in
Cambridge"
doctorate
master's
bachelor's
2-yr college
hs diploma
no hs diploma
30,000
20,000
10,000
0
 Science/Engineering?
– Salaries range from $30k – $100k/yr depending on education…
– Training without 4 year college:
Level of
education
Time
commitment
past high
school
Yearly tuition What you get Level of
($1k = $1000) when you
science job
come out
you are
prepared for
High School
--
--
Diploma
Community
college/Tech
School
2 years
$2k – $3k
Associate in
Technician /
Science (A.S.) Data analyst
degree
Military
service
2-3 years
You GET
paid
Technical
Technician/
skills, GI bill to Data analyst
pay for
college if you
want
Basic
technician /
Data entry
 Science/Engineering?
– 4 year college/university and beyond:
Level of
education
Time
commitment
Yearly tuition What you get Level of job
when you
you are
come out
prepared for
College /
University
4 years
$5k – $15k
(public)
$20k – $35k
(private)
Bachelor of
Science
(B.S.) degree
Engineer,
Programmer,
Lab
technologist,
grad student
Graduate
School
2 years
beyond
University
You GET
paid
OR
Same as
university
above
Master of
Science
(M.S.) degree
Same as
above, but
with
equivalent of
2-3 years
experience
Graduate
School
5-6 years
beyond
University
You GET
paid
$17k – $30k
Ph.D. (Doctor Professor,
of Philosophy) senior
engineer,
senior
scientist
Overarching Science/Engineering
Skills
 Complex problem solving (analyzing):
– Seeing a large problem as made of its essential
parts.
 Teamwork:
– Almost no one works on their own in the real
world!
 Creativity (synthesizing):
– Bringing together seemingly unrelated pieces of
information and skills to accomplish a new task!
Chemistry
 Chemical Technician (2 year
degree)
– Monitor production
– Salary: $30k – $40k
 Chemical Sales (only 60%
have chemistry degree)
– Connect labs with
customers
– Speak foreign languages
– Salary: $24k – high $40k
Chemistry
 Forensic Chemist (4 year
degree)
– Give evidence in court
– Salary: high $30k –
$60k
 Oil and Petroleum chemist
(graduate degree)
– “Fingerprinting” oil from
a spill
– Develop new plastics
– Salary: mid $40k –
$60k (BS), mid $80k –
$95k (doctoral)
Physics
Bachelor’s
Degree
Holders
Salary Ranges
Master’s Degree Holders
Ph.D. Holders
Physics
 Telescope operator (4 year
degree)
– Perform the art of accurate
observations
 Video Game Designer (4
year degree)
– Program realistic 3D motion
 String Theorist (graduate
degree)
– Question the beginning of
the universe/nature of reality
– Probe smallest and largest
scales of the universe
Engineering
 “Scientists discover the world that exists;
engineers create the world that never
was.”
– Theodore Von Karman (aerospace engineer)
 Engineers turn scientific discoveries into
useful products.
 Engineering is the second largest
profession in America (teaching is the
first).
– 1,400,000 engineers
– 500,000 medical doctors
– 100,000 biologists
Engineering
 Engineering jobs require varying levels of
education.
 Engineering Technician:
– Work is more practical and less theoretical than that
of an engineer
– Associate Degree (2-year degree)
– average salary: $28,000-$47,000 per year
 Engineering:
– BS College Degree (Bachelor of Science)
– $42,000-75,000
 Research and Development Engineer:
– PhD degree (Doctor of Philosophy)
– $75,000+
Mechanical / Aerospace Engineering
 Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineers design and develop
machines
 Mechanical Engineers:
– air conditioning and
refrigeration
– automotives
– robotics
 Aerospace Engineers:
– commercial airplanes
– fighter jets
– space telescopes
Chemical / Environmental
Engineering
 Chemical Engineers turn raw
materials into products
–
–
–
–
pharmaceuticals
petroleum
plastics
make-up
 Environmental Engineers
prevent and fix
environmental problems
– reduce air pollution
– reduce use of pesticides
Electrical / Computer Engineering
 Electrical engineers move
information from place to place
– cellphones
– satellite transmissions
– television
 Computer engineers deal with
design and operation of computer
systems
– networks
– software
– hardware
Bio / Biomedical Engineering
 A relatively new field of
engineering
 Bioengineers bring engineering
into the fields of biology and
medicine
– medical instruments
– artificial organs
– prosthetic devices
Cross-Disciplinary:
Government/Policy
 Bioethics advisor (Ph.D)
– Should we do cloning?
 NSF grant administrator (B.S. –
Ph.D.)
– Help determine who’s science
gets your tax money
 Genetic counseling (B.S. –
M.S.)
– Explaining options to parents-tobe
 Congressional science advisor /
lobbyist (B.S.)
– Nuclear waste, alternative energy
Media / Arts
 Science Journalist (B.S.)
– Convey difficult topics to the
public
 Playwright (B.S. or “Life
experience”!)
– “Copenhagen”: Best Play Tony
Award 2000
 Science museum staff / director
(High School, B.S.)
– Develop engaging
programs/exhibits
 Technology artist (High School,
B.S.)
– Andrea Polli:
Atmospherics/Weather Works
 Historian of science (B.S. –
Ph.D.)
– Letter from Einstein to
Roosevelt
Business / Law
 Wall Street Analyst (M.S. – Ph.D.)
– Apply complex mathematical modeling
– Predict behaviour of stock market
 Intellectual property / Patent law (J.D.—law
degree)
– guarding rights to original ideas
Degree Statistics
High School
Diploma (or more)
Some college (or
more)
Bachelor’s
Degree (or more)
All
90.2
58.0
30.5
Professional/speci
alty
99.2
93.4
76.7
Technician and
support
98.8
78.5
30.4
Administrative
support:
secretaries/office
workers
96.3
55.2
15.6
Profession
Source: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 1999
• Only about 25% of the US population has a bachelor’s
degree! (34% in Massachusetts)
• Although science jobs can be found at all levels, a B.S.
degree gets you more opportunities and higher pay!
If you forget everything else,
remember this!
 The skills you develop in science classes are
VERY widely applicable and valuable.
 Satisfying, well-paying jobs in science and
engineering are available at ALL levels of
education.
 Attempting higher degrees opens many more
doors for interesting jobs and higher pay.
If you don’t do it, who will be the engineers and
scientists in the future?
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