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My fist job after completing my bachelor's was as a laboratory technician in a research laboratory for a university. The benefits were good (medical, dental, vision, retirement, tuition discount), but the pay was only about $35K. In California that doesn't go too far. After two years experience I got another job for a medical device company starting at $42K. When I was job searching, most of the higher paying positions required a master's degree. Additionally, HPLC experience was highly desired in some companies (pharmaceutical). If you have the opportunity to do you senior project and get some HPLC experience that may be helpful.