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Molecular Biologist Salary Range


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Ahrenhase

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:42 AM

I know this question is a bit personal, but I just got my B.S. and I'm not quite sure which route I should take. I currently have a good government job as a research biologist and it pays alright for just getting out of school. I'm sorry to say but money is a huge incentive for me, but it isn't everything. I get more pride out of solving problems and being on the cutting edge of something, but I've just seen too many people in life tormented because of the fact that they didn't make enough money. And I don't want to be one of them. I noticed the salaries in the research field vary. Some PhD's make ~60K/yr and some M.S. make upwards of $100K. I could live comfortably with 80-100K/yr. I do enjoy molecular biology, but I'm just worried it won't pay off.

#2 klinmed

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 10:05 AM

I know this question is a bit personal, but I just got my B.S. and I'm not quite sure which route I should take. I currently have a good government job as a research biologist and it pays alright for just getting out of school. I'm sorry to say but money is a huge incentive for me, but it isn't everything. I get more pride out of solving problems and being on the cutting edge of something, but I've just seen too many people in life tormented because of the fact that they didn't make enough money. And I don't want to be one of them. I noticed the salaries in the research field vary. Some PhD's make ~60K/yr and some M.S. make upwards of $100K. I could live comfortably with 80-100K/yr. I do enjoy molecular biology, but I'm just worried it won't pay off.

You have just finished you BS. In research science, this is about the level of learning to feed yourself (or cleaning yourself after.....without mummy. IF, you are accepted for a PhD program (I hope you have good grades, and oral skills) work for +4 years on a low wage. It is THEN that you become valuable. During that time you are an apprentice: In the old days YOU would have to pay for this training
Learn to do good science, write grants, fund your own salary. Then, do good research, write papers, sit on committees AND fund the salary of your techs and students. After all this, you MAY be worth what you think you are. BUT....

Good luck!
I hope your message was a joke.....

#3 casandra

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 07:12 PM

Actually I have my own inquiry and klinmed, I swear, this is not a joke, “Where the heck can I find that job which pays upwards of 100k?” :lol: Ahrenhase, I think we all need money, the only ones who don’t are either dead or have always had lots of it that they don’t know what it means to have little or none of it. I guess you’re being honest by saying you are strongly motivated by it and you think people are tormented bec they don't make enough of it...but the question is, how much of it do you really need? 100 k will not have the same value in NYC or LA as in Charleston or Baton Rouge in the south. Likewise, there would be a difference if you’re single or supporting a family. A government position may pay lower than the private industry but you could have better perks and more stability and even lifetime employment. So you have lot of these factors to consider. And we’ve had already a number of variation of this topic in the forum: is there money in research or in science; are we here for the money or the passion; which is better- working for the academe or the industry etc. I think we pretty much have a consensus: many of us don't go into research for the money since there's not much money in it in the first place especially now with the global recession....

In general, I think that a higher education would eventually mean a better pay (it’s logical, right) unless one is really, really lucky. But then to get into a graduate program-that’s a whole new different story that you should seriously study and decide upon. Klinmed outlined the progression quite nicely too (if you skip some of the capped words). And although making good money is ideal, it shouldn’t be the major reason why you'd wanna go into grad school.....it can't be the end-all or be-all of our existence.

casandra

Edited by casandra, 11 April 2009 - 07:31 PM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#4 hobglobin

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 06:51 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :(
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#5 mdfenko

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 10:43 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :(


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.
talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#6 hobglobin

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:09 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :(


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#7 casandra

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 11:54 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :(


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....

:) ..it's ok md...he's much older than Methusaleh so we can forgive him for this.....
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#8 mdfenko

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:09 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :blink:


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....

;) ..it's ok md...he's much older than Methusaleh so we can forgive him for this.....

if he's older than methuselah then what does that make me (or phage434, for that matter)?

Edited by mdfenko, 17 April 2009 - 10:19 AM.

talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#9 casandra

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:38 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :rolleyes:


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....

:lol: ..it's ok md...he's much older than Methusaleh so we can forgive him for this.....

if he's older than methuselah then what does that make me (or phage434, for that matter)?


Well, I can do the archeology for you (instead of the math i.e.)........and I couldn't decide between a fossil and a dinosaur... ..you and phage are two of the wisest old men of the forum (oops, did I just make it worse.....:lol:).....I also like your sig Md...
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#10 hobglobin

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:45 AM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :rolleyes:


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....

:lol: ..it's ok md...he's much older than Methusaleh so we can forgive him for this.....

if he's older than methuselah then what does that make me (or phage434, for that matter)?


Well, I can do the archeology for you (instead of the math i.e.)........and I couldn't decide between a fossil and a dinosaur... ..you and phage are two of the wisest old men of the forum (oops, did I just make it worse.....:lol:).....I also like your sig Md...


You are as old as you feel. But let the sprogs have their fun. Living fossils are above such things. :)
One must presume that long and short arguments contribute to the same end. - Epicurus
...except casandra's that belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#11 casandra

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:21 PM

Someone (forgot who, sorry) here had a nice signature:

"Talent does what it can
Genius does what it must
I do what I get paid to do"

That's a statement. :rolleyes:


i can't imagine to whom you are referring.

:) okay my memory is really bad....

:lol: ..it's ok md...he's much older than Methusaleh so we can forgive him for this.....

if he's older than methuselah then what does that make me (or phage434, for that matter)?


Well, I can do the archeology for you (instead of the math i.e.)........and I couldn't decide between a fossil and a dinosaur... ..you and phage are two of the wisest old men of the forum (oops, did I just make it worse.....:)).....I also like your sig Md...


You are as old as you feel. But let the sprogs have their fun. Living fossils are above such things. :)

So how do YOU feel, dr H? :lol:
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#12 aimikins

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 02:57 PM

another factor to consider is starting wage vs wage in 5 years vs wage in 10 years. I'm going to outline the BS-only course because that's the one I know the best.

if you 'only' have a BS, you will probably start pretty low unless you get VERY lucky. the job may not be very exciting. however, you'll pick up skills and a foundation for later.

by the time you've been in the field 5 years, maybe in one or two labs, you're doing a little better. probably not paid well (again, unless you're very lucky and get into the right job) but you're doing better and you have a solid experience base.

at this point, if you've done well at your job, you should be justified in asking for a little more money. by the time you're in the lab 10 years, if you've proven yourself to be a valuable asset, have your name on publications, do some writing, maybe even manage your own lab-slaves...at this point, you'll make anywhere from 35-75K depending on what sort of place you're working. the average is probably 45-50 at this point. the high end would be almost impossible, but you're most likely well over 35K if you have some work ethic and decent hands at the bench.

so....from everything I have heard from experienced parties: unless you go MD-PhD, or get a PhD and step into a very lucky, stable industry-position, your actual salary is not much higher.

would I trade ~15K a year that a PhD would give me for another 6 years of school and poverty? have to write my own grants and deal with even more paperwork than I do now?

it's not worth it to me. because of other factors in my life, I'm very glad I had delayed the decision to go to grad school.

do I ever regret not getting a PhD? sometimes...but only because I may have wasted some of my potential. I love my job. I have a lot of freedom to run my own studies, no one is micro-managing me, and I can do puzzles (science) all day long. I don't like to be an administrator. I could certainly stand to make more money, but no matter how much you make that's usually the way it goes :)
"it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education" -A.E.




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