harnima
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to anyone who has experience or knowledge about careers in biology, chemistry, life sciences, biochemistry etc...

i’m currently trying to choose a career path /degree and i have a dilemma:
- my A Level options are biology, chemistry, french and art
- i especially enjoy biology and chemistry
- i want to make good money lol
- but i DONT want to do a degree in medicine

what options do i have for careers / degrees?
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XnessieX
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Bioinformatics, biomedical engineering, biostatistics, biotechnology and Pharmacology are all good options career wise. Look out for programmes that offer a sandwich year in the industry, that's how you get your foot in the door.
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medicphd
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If money is a dealbreaker, definitely stay away from academia. Generally speaking, well-paid careers in biology/chemistry are industry jobs, whether that's pharmaceuticals/biotechnology/research etc. It will really depend on what you find interesting within biology/chemistry as there is a vast array of jobs available. Most biomedical/biological/biotechnology degrees give you plenty of options, but like mentioned above, if your intention is industry, definitely look for a degree with a year in industry as experience is a must.
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harnima
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(Original post by medicphd)
If money is a dealbreaker, definitely stay away from academia. Generally speaking, well-paid careers in biology/chemistry are industry jobs, whether that's pharmaceuticals/biotechnology/research etc. It will really depend on what you find interesting within biology/chemistry as there is a vast array of jobs available. Most biomedical/biological/biotechnology degrees give you plenty of options, but like mentioned above, if your intention is industry, definitely look for a degree with a year in industry as experience is a must.
this is very useful, thank you so much! i would love to do scientific research specifically but i am afraid that it doesn’t pay well... i’m also unsure of which degrees have a year in industry (is there a way to find out?) thank you again for your help
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physgradstudent
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(Original post by harnima)
this is very useful, thank you so much! i would love to do scientific research specifically but i am afraid that it doesn’t pay well... i’m also unsure of which degrees have a year in industry (is there a way to find out?) thank you again for your help
If you gain programming skills you can go into computational biology, which is an area that pays slightly more.
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medicphd
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(Original post by harnima)
this is very useful, thank you so much! i would love to do scientific research specifically but i am afraid that it doesn’t pay well... i’m also unsure of which degrees have a year in industry (is there a way to find out?) thank you again for your help
I work in scientific research at the moment, I'm a PhD student working in academia, so if you have questions about that I'd be happy to try and answer them for you.

Honestly, regarding a year in industry, I'm not 100% sure if there's any kind of database that you can filter degrees down to only show ones with a year in industry. As far as I understand it though most degrees offer that as an option. When I was doing my undergrad biology degree there was an option to take a year out and work in industry. You're probably better to think about what degree you want to go for (biology/biomed/biotechnology etc.) and which unis you're interested in, and then look directly at their websites. If they offer a year in industry it'll be on the course page. I think it's becoming more and more common for most unis/courses to offer an industry year as an option.
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harnima
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(Original post by medicphd)
I work in scientific research at the moment, I'm a PhD student working in academia, so if you have questions about that I'd be happy to try and answer them for you.

Honestly, regarding a year in industry, I'm not 100% sure if there's any kind of database that you can filter degrees down to only show ones with a year in industry. As far as I understand it though most degrees offer that as an option. When I was doing my undergrad biology degree there was an option to take a year out and work in industry. You're probably better to think about what degree you want to go for (biology/biomed/biotechnology etc.) and which unis you're interested in, and then look directly at their websites. If they offer a year in industry it'll be on the course page. I think it's becoming more and more common for most unis/courses to offer an industry year as an option.
Thank you so much, noted. What did you do at university, if you don't mind me asking? And how has your personal experience been in scientific research/academia?
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medicphd
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(Original post by harnima)
Thank you so much, noted. What did you do at university, if you don't mind me asking? And how has your personal experience been in scientific research/academia?
I did a biological sciences BSc, genetics MSc and I'm now doing a PhD in cancer bioinformatics.

In terms of academia, doing a PhD has opened my eyes to the lack of job security you can have working in academia. The traditional endpoint for people working in academia is to become a Professor at a uni and have their own lab where they direct their own research. To get there you usually do a PhD, then 1-3 post-doc positions (usually lasting ~3 years each). There's not really any job security until you get to have your own lab, and even then a lot of time is spent applying for grants. Unfortunately, research within academia is long hours for little pay. Most of the PhD students at my institute want to go into industry because it offers a better work-life balance, more money and more job security. I can't speak to how it is working in research in industry as I don't have personal experience of this, but it's much better than academia from what I've heard.

All of this is incredibly unfortunate because I will say the people I work with are great, all incredibly passionate about their subject, and willing to help with anything. I don't want to put you off going into research because it's incredibly rewarding, I would just think very hard about going into academia.
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