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Physical Science BS image

This program is primarily to prepare students to teach on the secondary through the junior college level and offers a broader, less specialized, background than the Chemistry or Biochemistry major. It may also be used as a basis for Pre-Chemical Engineering, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry or other health-related occupations, e.g. laboratory technician, manufacturing industries, occupational safety/health workers, agricultural scientist, biological scientist and chemical technician.

Educational Qualifications

For teaching at the high school level a state credential is required. Once employed as a teacher, you may advance to the Master’s program in the School of Education. For entry into health-related occupations, choices of additional science electives are recommended. Training beyond the B.S. level is eventually required for access to many higher level jobs. Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities are most often required to have a doctoral degree in their field. However, some schools may hire those who have a master’s degree.

Job Outlook

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. From 2012 to 2022, a significant number of older teachers are expected to reach retirement age. These retirements will create job openings for new teachers. In addition to overall openings, many schools report having difficulty filling teaching positions for certain subjects, including math and science (especially chemistry and physics).

Entering Salary

 The median annual wage for chemists was $71,770 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,080, and the top 10 percent earned more than $120,600.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for chemists in the top five industries employing these scientists were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$100,920
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences$79,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing$70,480
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals$57,190
Testing laboratories$55,060

 The median annual wage for high school teachers was $55,050 in May 2012 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $36,930 and the top 10 percent earning more than $85,690. 

 The median annual wage for biochemists was $81,480 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,430, and the top 10 percent earned more than $147,350.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for chemists in the top five industries employing these scientists were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$100,920
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences$79,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing$70,480
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals$57,190
Testing laboratories$55,060

 The median annual wage for high school teachers was $55,050 in May 2012 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $36,930 and the top 10 percent earning more than $85,690. 

Career information adapted from:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh