what can I do with a major in biology and chemistry, in terms of available jobs?
Here’s the thing. You can do anything with your university degree if you’re crafty enough. I hate to sound like a crotchety old whiner, but it’s getting harder and harder these days for university graduates to get jobs, and that means that people have to be increasingly creative in getting jobs. You can’t limit yourself to a set number of possibilities, because it’s very likely that you’ll have to apply for jobs radically outside the realm of those possibilities, and sooner than you might expect.
HOWEVER! It’s still good to explore your options and see what you’re interested in, and do your darn best to try and get into those careers that you’re excited about. So here’s a very modest list of possible paths you can take after getting a degree in bio and chem:
1. Medical jobs, including but not limited to: doctor, pharmacist, nurse, dentist, veterinarian, health policy developer, nutritionist, occupational therapist, bioethicist…the list goes on. I should note that all of these require a professional or graduate degree. You can browse all the graduate programs at uoft here.
2. Research. Typically done in a lab. Erlenmeyer flasks, very fancy and expensive pipettes; that sort of thing. Obviously, a Ph.D. (or an M.Sc. at the very least) is necessary if you’re interested in this.
3. Teaching. And if you pull the whole “those who can’t do, teach,” thing, EVEN IN YOUR MIND, my spirit will show up personally to your house tonight and PUMMEL you while you SLEEP.
4. If staying in school and getting another degree isn’t really your thing, and you’re adamant about getting a job in science, then a B.Sc.-holder can always become a research technician/technologist. Info about being a research technician with the Canadian government here.
As you can see, the vast majority of high-paying jobs listed here (and even some of the not so high-paying ones) require additional degrees or college certifications. This is one of the reasons that I’m so impatient with the whole “B.A.s are useless!” mentality. Sure they are, but they’re not that much more useless than any other Bachelor’s degree in Canada.*
So, what to do? Well, like I said, you can be creative – you can accept that your career might not lie in science, and start looking at any and all jobs that will take you (retail, executive assistant, etc.). Or, if bio/chem is really the one thing you want to pursue, you can look into some of these graduate/professional degrees and further certifications.
Would you like some sugar with which to swallow that bitter pill?
I hope that was helpful and that you are not too discouraged! Don’t worry: worst comes to worst, I can always sublet you my spare cardboard box on spadina. Just for you, friend. I’ll even throw in some spare newspapers.
*In other countries, it’s a different situation. For example, did you know that in England, you can become a certified lawyer with just a first-entry, 3-year undergraduate degree? I know. I hate them too. Although, would you really want a 21-year-old representing you in a court of law? Food for thought.