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  • #21
    Originally posted by Slaptail View Post
    The 55k estimate I got was from websites that calculated averages of people's income, and yes, 55k was one of the lower ones (other sites estimated 60 - 70+) but I thought it was better to take the lower value vs the higher incase I end up being the lower.

    When I say biology, I mean the job title is a biologist. I'd like to do lab research, preferably away from the public.

    I'm interested in pharma/med related biology, but after researching it a little bit it said that the jobs require a phD and I'm not sure I'd like to be in school for that long (though it may be something I'd look into in the future.)

    hoopoe - If you don't mind, what's your job title specifically? How would you recommend someone enter into that field?

    .
    I am a Senior Research Assoc at a west coast cancer bio-pharma with one approved drug and a few on the way. We have gone, in the time I have worked here, from a one building presence to 11 buildings locally and with 2 offices in Europe. I am lucky to have landed here after a few missteps in the wrong places. That is the downside of bio-pharma some jobs can come and go with failures of the vision.

    My AA is in veterinary technology and I worked 20 years in clinical before getting back on track in research in my late 30s. I got in to my first research position based on my extensive clinical experience. I entered my current job as an RAII and promoted up over 16 years. I have been senior for about 8 years. Everything I have now I got along the way, on the job learning. I do in-vivo work with mice and specialize in tumor modeling and manage a cell bank. In my position I am a go-to person for a company division and help new scientists with their study concepts. I am near retirement. I also mentor and guide new associates in my group.

    The majority of my co-workers have BS degrees; cell biology, microbiology, chemistry, protein biology, microbiology and general biology and pharmacology. They do extensive discovery work in their interest area; cell biology, protein engineering, target validation , histology and pathology. Almost all are co-authors on papers and meeting presentations( international conventions)

    The title "Scientist: is usually reserved for PhDs and their jobs are more personnel management and oversight, not actually working on the bench. They direct and manage the knowledge.

    There are also many working in clinical trial management, manufacturing and process sciences. We have a very extensive field team of sale marketing and medical liaisons. You have to have the passion and drive for sales and personal contact for those jobs.

    I would say of your 60-75 K range, that is likely to be the top entry point for most of our science associates. We also get stock options based on our performance and annual bonus based on company performance as determined by the BOD. Top tier benefits( which really adds value) , student loan consolidation support, maternity / paternity leave, sabbatical at 8 year and 16 year, many other life balance benefits what will not show up in the average wage numbers you mention.

    This is not easy work. It can be quite intense and grinding. There are many experienced people in my field who prefer the smaller companies and will often move on to another smaller company when their current company becomes large and successful. They enjoy the "birth" process

    I would encourage you to continue your journey and probably consider focus on cell biology. Immunology is also a very hot field. Thing about the sciences is that there is always something more and new to learn. If you like to learn, being in a company like mine you will never lack for opportunity.

    You need to get out into the real world and if you can, get a part time job or internship in a company lab where you can find out for yourself what the work is like, gain experience and discover that spark that will guide you. Our company offers paid summer internship as do many larger bio-pharma. We get students from all over the country.
    _\\]
    -- * > hoopoe
    Procrastinate NOW
    Introverted Since 1957

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    • #22
      I have a Biochemistry degree (well, technically a double major in Biology and Chemistry), and went straight into the lab out of college. I was there for a few years before deciding that there really wasn't any money in it, and I wanted to keep doing the horses as seriously as I always had. So I jumped into sales....and have never looked back. I have always had both the money and (maybe more importantly?) the time to ride. Don't get me wrong, it involves a lot of juggling and prioritizing (clean house? HA!), and many cold rides in the dark through the winter months, but I have my herd of horses on my own farm and have kept showing at 8-10 big horseshows (and many smaller shows and clinics) a year through the years.

      If you're not a people person, as one of your comments implies, there are many roles in a sales organization that don't require walking into labs to talk to people. And the salaries, in a non-direct-customer facing role (e.g. marketing, product management, sales operations, etc.), can range from the 75k - 150k to much more if you have a job with a good commission plan.

      I've never regretted getting a "useful" degree ("useful" defined as something that gives you more flexibility), and have coached many kids into heading into the sciences. Science degrees also transfer well into advanced degrees (law school, med school, and the like).

      ETA: I just read hoopoe's post and agree with everything said. I also want to add a disclaimer to my offhand comment about not making money in the lab - for context, I was working in a small, non-profit lab working on 3rd world country diseases. It was extremely rewarding work on a personal level, just not profitable FOR ME (I joke that I learned there that "non-profit" referred to the employees, not just the company, lol!). I had several friends who went into biotechs and pharma who were making a lot more than I was, and my perspective would likely be much different had I taken that track out of school. Also, don't minimize what stock options, bonuses, and benefits can bring to the table. And to that point, focus on what you might get after 5 or so years in a job, not in year one.
      __________________________________
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW

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      • #23
        OP FYI, Jenners, PNW Jumper and I all live in the same area
        _\\]
        -- * > hoopoe
        Procrastinate NOW
        Introverted Since 1957

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Slaptail View Post
          Guilherme I've always been taught mean and average are the same thing.. what do you mean by the mean being more realistic?

          I want a career that pays well and (preferably) that I like. And if I can't get one I like, then I'll give that up and get something boring that pays well. I don't want to live a lifestyle where I'm always worrying about bills, or constantly scraping by. And I'd really like to include horses in that if I can, but they aren't the thing that is driving my decision.

          LSMarnell Thanks for replying. I wouldn't mind low starting if I can get better pay with experience. What might be a better stand-alone degree? Biochem or biomed? Or another type of science?
          I'm neither a math type nor a statistician! With that in mind I found this explanation which is how I was taught to use these in the professions I've worked in (Naval Aviator, lawyer, horse breeder):

          http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/qq/dat...00/julie1.html

          G.
          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

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          • #25
            I would also add that worrying about bills and living pay cheque to pay cheque can happen at any income level, and that conversely one can live within one's income at almost any moderate salary level. It is about choice and habit.

            And really don't discount cost of living and commute. If you could say buy a nice enough horse property for say $200,000 and live with your horses riding after work could be easier than if you buy a condo for $500,000 and have to drive 25 miles in different directions for work and horse. Having your own property makes it much more affordable to have multiple horses as well. Low property costs also mean more money for fun stuff like horses.

            I lived in the mid South USA about 20 years ago when the median income there was $35,000. But a condo townhouse cost $20,000, a hobby farm estate cost $100,000, and gas was $1 gallon (could fill my tank for $12).

            Where l live now the median family income is about $75,000 but it costs $60 to fill the same size tank and a nice horse property is $5 million at least.



            ​​​​​​

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            • #26
              It's as much about the cost of living where you choose to live as it is about the salary. I've always gotten the impression that biology degrees require at least a master's in order to land a decent job - from the friends I have w/ biology degrees.

              I'm a registered nurse and make a little over 50k annually. I live in a relatively rural area. That's enough for me to afford to board a horse at a decent barn (albeit I trail ride), buy a house, pay for international trips every few years and still save an ample amount for retirement. In a more urban area with a higher cost of living? That would be peanuts and I would probably be dead broke. At the very least, I'm sure there would be no horse involved.

              You could always consider doing a half-lease at first until you get established, financially-speaking, after school. Just something to think about.

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              • Original Poster

                #27

                PNWjumper Is your sales job related to your degree, or is it separate? Thank you for the suggestions that aren't face-to-face, those are some things I wouldn't have thought of!

                What you and hoopoe said is super inspiring!! I'll definitely try looking into an internship over the summer.

                Scribbler Thanks, that makes sense. I don't really have a location in mind that I'd like to live, right now I am just thinking it needs to be somewhere that I can also find work. If I have the means, I'd wanna have my own property but it'll probably be way down the line.

                ChestnutArabianMare I'll definitely keep a lease in mind. What I was worrying about is that even after I'm established, that I wouldn't be able to afford it.

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                • #28
                  I also agree that most professional jobs require additional training past the BA level now. That could be a specific professional program like law, medicine, teacher certification, or CPA certificate. Or it could be an MA or MBA. Or a PhD. Best to figure out what you need and factor it into the training time rather than not really be employable for good jobs in your field.

                  As far as owning horse property that is going to be entirely dependent on where you live and the cost and availability of land in reasonable commute to your job. End up in Manhattan and horses will not be on the cards in any form.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Slaptail View Post
                    PNWjumper Is your sales job related to your degree, or is it separate? Thank you for the suggestions that aren't face-to-face, those are some things I wouldn't have thought of!
                    I've been in sales for Biotech companies (e.g. Agilent, Qiagen, Illumina, etc.) for many years. A science degree is required and time spent in the lab is viewed very positively. Biotech sales reps sell to the research labs in hospitals/universities, biotech companies, and small and large pharmaceutical companies. For the record, it is a very different job than a pharmaceutical sales rep.
                    __________________________________
                    Flying F Sport Horses
                    Horses in the NW

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                      End up in Manhattan and horses will not be on the cards in any form.
                      I would beg to differ on this point. There are many lucrative jobs in Manhattan. And there are tons of barns on L.I., NJ, and points north of Manhattan. I found the bigger question was tolerance for travel time. Traveling to and from a barn in the "burbs" can easily take 60-90 minutes or more, each way. Back in the day, I would travel 75 minutes each way with no traffic to ride. Sometimes I was traveling from Manhattan, sometimes from NJ. It was a grind, but it is doable. Just depends on what your priorities are at that stage in your life.

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by OneTwoMany View Post
                        I would beg to differ on this point. There are many lucrative jobs in Manhattan. And there are tons of barns on L.I., NJ, and points north of Manhattan. I found the bigger question was tolerance for travel time. Traveling to and from a barn in the "burbs" can easily take 60-90 minutes or more, each way. Back in the day, I would travel 75 minutes each way with no traffic to ride. Sometimes I was traveling from Manhattan, sometimes from NJ. It was a grind, but it is doable. Just depends on what your priorities are at that stage in your life.
                        Ok point taken. However I do think it would be difficult or impossible to live in Manhattan and ride daily if you have a full time job. I suppose you could live in the commuting suburbs, have a horse near your home, and commute into work. When I used to visit friends there, it took a good hour for them to get home from Manhattan jobs just to Park Slopes in Brooklyn.

                        Obviously Manhattan tends to have top flight salaries in many fields and is the center of the universe for many careers. But I still recall all the NYT articles pointing out that a family income of $200,000 would barely keep you in the comfortable upper middle class whereas it would be wealthy in most other parts of the country.

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                        • #32
                          I should add that there are also way different tiers of horses. You can keep a recreational horse relatively affordably if you have the time or setup to do it yourself. Any professional job in a reasonably horse friendly area will allow you to keep say a $5000 horse st a barn that charged $500 a month, especially if you don't have to support husband and children yet.

                          On the other hand if "horses" means a $70,000 AA hunter in full training and spending thousands on showing that will be a stretch for any employed adult both for cash and time off work to compete.

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                          • #33
                            PNW Jumper I suspect you know where I work
                            ​​​​​​
                            _\\]
                            -- * > hoopoe
                            Procrastinate NOW
                            Introverted Since 1957

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by hoopoe View Post
                              PNW Jumper I suspect you know where I work
                              ​​​​​​
                              I do! But really only because you posted it on another thread. But yes, your company is in the group of accounts I've focused on over the years, and really right in the wheelhouse of the company I work for now. But I manage a team of sales reps now, so I don't get to spend as much time out in the actual accounts.
                              __________________________________
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Slaptail View Post
                                If I have the means, I'd wanna have my own property but it'll probably be way down the line.
                                Keep in mind that this also limits your choices. I agree that it is best kept for once you've established yourself in a career path and understand its demands. Lots of jobs, especially early on, have travel requirements, and/or unpredictable hours. The more lucrative jobs tend to be the most intrusive on the rest of your life.

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                                • #36
                                  I agree with the posters who've said get a degree in a field that you're interested in and if you're flexible for relocating all the better. If biology and genetics is where your interest is then go for it. I live in Maryland and 10 minutes from my house is a corridor of nothing but biotech businesses.. The state is full of them. Then there's also NIH. One of my former barnmates got her degree in Animal and Dairy Science. She's been gainfully employed since graduating college first at NIH and now at a local medical university center in a managerial position. I don't think she's 30 yet. Here's a link to a list of biotech companies in Maryland. Go do some of their websites - check out the career pages to view some of the open positions they have - look for the qualifications etc. Also check out companies' internship programs which is a great way to get your foot in the door. My brother-in-law is an ornithologist for Pete's Sake. Who'd think you could make a living being a bird guy - but he has a very lucrative career, is a renowned expert. So you never know.


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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by Slaptail View Post

                                    When I say biology, I mean the job title is a biologist. I'd like to do lab research, preferably away from the public.

                                    I'm interested in pharma/med related biology, but after researching it a little bit it said that the jobs require a phD and I'm not sure I'd like to be in school for that long (though it may be something I'd look into in the future.)

                                    I'm also super interested in genetics and a biology degree is a good place to start for that, but again, I'd like to be done with school after I get my bachelor's.

                                    Right now it's just me, no children or partners. If I do have kids, itll be after I graduate and (preferably) have a few years of experience in my field.
                                    Have you investigated whether your preference (in the lab, doing research) is viable with only that bachelors' degree you want? I'm not a scientist by any means (just a historian!), but I do have friends in the sciences, and they all have at least a Master's, if not the actual doctorate.

                                    Even for teaching, you will have to have that Master's degree. I could not have my job in academia without my MA, and honestly, I applied for a full-time teaching job a few years ago in which they only interviewed candidates with Ph.Ds - not because it was required, but because they had SO MANY APPLY. I'm not advocating that you go into massive debt just for that advanced degree, but is what you want to do do-able with just that Bachelor's?

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                                    • #38
                                      I'll chime in on career paths in the sciences. I have a chemical engineering degree (BS, MSc) and looked at quite a few other majors before landed in ChE. I looked at just chemistry for one and nixed it due to the job outlook unless I got a graduate degree (which my dumb self went and got anyway, oh well). In general what I have seen is in the general sciences like biology and chemistry the vast majority of BS only degree holder jobs are lab tech type jobs that can have lengthy promotional pathways to scientist level positions. There's a major fortunate 500 company in my city (my husband actually works there) that starts out non-engineer science degrees as "researchers" and the pathway to promotion to where an engineer BS starts averages something insane like 8 years (personally I think they're idiots about it but not my circus, not my monkeys). It was always a rule of thumb when I was a student that the general science degrees needed at least an MS if not a PhD to really get ahead. There are or course always exceptions to every rule.

                                      My BIL has a BS in bio and did get an MS in some more specific and medicinal space and works in genetic sciences out on the west coast. He is a scientist of some sort in title and spends his days in a lab. He has a pretty low ceiling on how high he can go without his PhD, and he is also not a people person and is unwilling to schmooze and play office politics to get ahead, which makes that ceiling even lower. He's in a tough spot, because his industry is heavily concentrated in the southern California area so he's paying SoCal cost of living with an income that won't make many significant step changes upwards in that industry given his education and personality (which is a shame because he is a really good scientist, but it always reaches a point where that's not enough on its own). Also from what I've seen the industry is pretty brutal and tends to chew up and spit out people in the lower levels pretty frequently. He's been in a couple different labs and their turnover rates are high, he is just tremendously stubborn. If he made that same money in a different part of the country though, like the midwest or the south (I live in the midwest and briefly lived in the south but I grew up in the northeast, yikes to those prices) he'd be much better off. Cost of living factors in significantly.

                                      On the other hand, I had a friend spend her entire 2014 competition year point chasing and then competing in NAL jumper finals on a leased horse while making only about $40-45k a year (totally non-science industry but not dissimilar pay at the time to a lab tech). She lived paycheck to paycheck, ate a lot of PBJ's and needed to win money to keep going (which she did) but that included showing almost every other weekend for half the year to get points and taking 2x lessons a week. This was in the midwest. so if you're smart with your money and you're doing a whole lot less than that, which sounds like what you want to do, it can certainly be done. She even owned a home but it was small and she had roommates who paid her rent that covered almost all of the mortgage.

                                      You've got lots of time to make a choice still, and careers take all sorts of different paths that we often never expect or plan for, finding something you enjoy doing that doesn't suck the life out of you is definitely important. Having a job you hate for a high paycheck isn't worth it and having a job that pays great but that requires you to work a 90 hour week with no time to ride won't be fun either.

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                                      • #39
                                        remember too you do not have to finish school in one bang. One of my colleagues started here as an intern, went to full time with her BA and then got her Masters while continuing to work full time . Our company helps with tuition stipends. . She then left for a few years to get her PhD and is now back with us.

                                        get your base education. Get out into the world and find your passion, you can continue your education as the road takes you. There is no rule you have to check all your life boxes by a certain age. Being at a large university may open up opportunities via exposure to lectures and events where you see the possibility of what the sciences hold.

                                        I have a young friend currently a sophomore in college. She attended a lecture on campus about CRISPER technology and is really fascinated. She got an internship at Fred Hutchinson and continues to work part time during the school year. She is going to get out with her BS and a wealth of real world experience and connections. She will have a real leg up when it comes to competition for jobs and I have no doubt she will be a strong asset to any lab or company she joins.

                                        Living your dream of a nice horse or two, shows and low key training is entirely doable. I did it, you can too.
                                        _\\]
                                        -- * > hoopoe
                                        Procrastinate NOW
                                        Introverted Since 1957

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                                        • #40
                                          I have a PhD in chemistry and teach at a community college in the Los Angeles area. Maybe not the best career path for someone who doesn't want to deal with a lot of people, though. You'll need at least a masters and possibly a PhD plus teaching experience that includes having full responsibility for a course in order to land a full time job. But the salary and benefits are good, I have summers off, and a schedule that includes three evenings and one afternoon, meaning lots of daylight time to ride. I'm never going to have the money to take two horses to a bunch of A shows every year, but I do have a lot of time to ride.

                                          For the OP, in addition to sales and bio lab work, you might consider engineering, assuming that appeals to you. At least in this area, it seems like someone with a BS degree can find more fulfilling jobs with decent salaries in engineering than working in a bio lab.
                                          The Evil Chem Prof

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