The Professional Concentration of the BS Chemistry degree is based on the ACS Certified Program guidelines and provides the most comprehensive preparation in chemistry among all of the tracks and is excellent preparation for a job as a chemist, entry into a chemistry graduate program, or entry into a professional program such as medical, dental, or pharmacy school. In addition to the most comprehensive array of chemistry coursework, graduates will have completed a significant number of mathematics courses, leading to high value in the workplace. Graduates have traditionally shown that they are highly prepared for and successful in graduate programs, medical school, or dental school.
Chemistry is the study of matter, and an understanding of matter and materials is necessary in healthcare, manufacturing, and scientific research. It is a fundamental area of knowledge that provides a foundation for most other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) areas. Chemistry graduates also have skills in data gathering, data interpretation, and problem solving that translate well into desirable careers outside of science.
STEM graduates have a wide variety of career options, both in STEM areas and in non-STEM areas. The 2012 STEM Report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce provides interesting data on the value of a STEM degree. STEM graduates will have lifetime earning substantially greater than non-STEM graduates ($2.2 million vs. $1.7 million). Nationally, 43% of STEM graduates work outside of a STEM area, often choosing a highly-paid non-STEM occupation, demonstrating the versatility of a STEM degree. Meanwhile, STEM occupations such as chemistry are growing more quickly than the economy as a whole (17% vs. 10%).
The American Chemical Society 2013 Salary Survey shows that chemists have low unemployment (3.5%) compared to the overall unemployment rate (7.4% according to Bureau of Labor Statistics). The median salary for a BS Chemist is $73,300. Using your chemistry degree for a graduate or professional degree results in higher salaries (e.g. median for PhD chemist is $102,000). A BS Chemistry graduate earns a 23% higher salary than the average BS degree graduate (www.salaryexplorer.com).
Skills and interests suited to a career in chemistry
Successful chemistry majors develop strong problem-solving skills, including comfort with math and working with abstract ideas. While facts and knowledge are present, chemistry courses focus on understanding how and why nature behaves as it does, and relies little on rote memorization. Many chemistry majors enjoy tinkering with things and find great satisfaction with the laboratory work including manipulation of materials and operating analytical instruments.
About the program
The Professional Concentration ensures that students have experience in all 5 traditional areas of chemistry- inorganic, organic, physical, analytical, and biochemistry. Major electives allow students to include undergraduate research or explore other course areas such as medicinal, forensic, or nuclear chemistry. A minor is not required for this degree.