Advanced degrees in chemistry give you the opportunity and experience for developing your own style of research. You will learn advanced laboratory techniques and organizational skills. You will become more specialized, and can focus on specific research interests. Graduate training encourages intellectual independence. This quality is essential to postdoctoral and upper-level industrial and academic employment.
Continuing your education beyond the B.S. degree will give you more employment options. College level academic positions areessentially restricted to doctoral level degrees. In industry and government, advancement is faster and salaries are higher with a graduate degree.
In almost all cases, you will be paid to go to graduate school. Research or teaching assistantships provide for a reasonable standard of living, and most or all tuition costs are waived. In some cases, your employer may pay for graduate training.
Salaries at the Ph.D. level are significantly greater than starting salaries at the B.S. level. The doctoral degree provides the greatest flexibility for career options and advancement. The only real disadvantage for continuing into graduate school is that it takes time. You can expect to spend 45-65 hours per week in classes, research, or teaching. It usually takes 4-6 years to complete your degree.
Acceptance into a graduate program in chemistry is not as competitive as one may think. Schools go to great lengths to attract doctoral candidates. Incentives such as tuition waivers, health insurance, and entry level research stipends are common. Graduate schools are looking for good academic records (GPA >3) and GRE scores. You will also need to provide evidence of research experience, and good letters of recommendation from your undergraduate faculty.