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Susan Parker

Medicinal chemistry. You'll need a PhD.

It can be helpful to get a degree in chemistry, go to work for a pharmaceutical company as a chemist. It will be entry level and a great resource opportunity. Plus, it can put some cash in your pocket (always a plus). Work for 3-4 years and then go to grad school for a PhD.

Why go this route? If you can work in a pharmaceutical company with medicinal chemists, you can get an idea of what medicinal chemists really do. And the medicinal chemists can recommend PhD professors to work with in grad school.

It's a little harder to go back to school after working a few years, but the upside is that you'll be a little more settled and more focused. Of course, you can go from a bachelors to a PhD program and still do well and be done with school by the time you're 28 years old, too.

If you don't work for a medicinal chemist in grad school, asymmetric synthesis can be useful too.

Internships at pharmaceutical companies like Merck, Pfizer, etc can be useful too. Those experiences in the summer can be helpful. Sometimes, they lead to first jobs, too, because the company has experience with you.

Talk to the people around you. Your chemistry professors can be invaluable. If you've got a prof you really connect with, that person has likely trained a myriad of other scientists and the professor can help connect you up with people who do what you're interested in.

I was so afraid to ask questions when I was in college. It is scary to ask. Do it anyway. :)

Answered 7 years ago

Susan Parker