Are there good cities for entry level careers in science

Apparently Indiana and Ohio are not the hubs of biochemistry that I was led to believe. I only have a BS degree, and am tired of my current benefit-free, part time temp job. I want a full time career with benefits and a future.

I spent about 2 months in San Diego last year looking for work, which is considered the best city in the US for chemistry/biochem/science type jobs. And there were tons of openings I was able to apply for (far more openings than my current area). However I never got past the application and interview stage. But there were more jobs to apply for (however like here, most were temp jobs w/o benefits). However obviously there were going to be more applicants too.

I considered moving to SF for a few months and checking since SF, San Jose and Oakland are all supposedly good areas. But never got around to it. I figured I’d spend thousands on high living expenses to compete for jobs with tons of new graduates who had degrees from UC Berkeley or Stanford. People with better educations, more talent and who know the local area.

Anyway, is there anywhere in the US that is good for low level science careers that is actually hiring and seeing a boom?

I’ve considered Raleigh NC or DC. But never moved there.

I know which cities supposedly have openings (San diego, Boston, San francisco, DC, Raleigh, Boston) in my field. But I don’t know which ones are oversaturated with idle labor and high unemployment vs which ones actually have growing economies, full time careers and openings.

It seems like a lot of professional fields (science, law, engineering, IT) are seeing a labor surplus. The end result is high unemployment combined with shoddy job offers (temp jobs, no benefits, no security, part time, low wage, etc). But I don’t know if it is the same across the US for that, or if there are certain areas where the job offers and applicants are more equal and as a result jobs are easier to get and the wages/benefits are better.

What kind of biochem jobs are you looking for, i.e. basic research, pharmaceutical development, medical, environmental, et cetera? I’m certain you are aware of this, but a BS isn’t even entry level for many positions. The biochemistry area is oversaturated with MSBCh, many of whom were shooting for PhDs before they realized just what a slave labor market PhD research in the biosciences often is, and so they come to the table not only with a graduate degree but hard won research experience. I suspect most people who go in for biochem as a terminal degree program in and of itself are looking to go to med school or pharmacy. This may not be what you want to hear, but if you really want to make a career in science research, you should seriously be looking at graduate school.


My son took his BS in biochemistry from a B-level state school and walked into a job at the University of Chicago. He’s crunching numbers in a cancer-research program. It’s actually pretty much a dead-end job, but after two years, he’s ready to make the jump to graduate school, and has a recommendation from a National Science Foundation program leader in his pocket.

Of course, as a student he had worked on medical research projects, which gave him a HUGE advantage in finding that job. YMMV.

Have you checked out Scripps in Jupiter, FL?


Boston is biotech central and also a major IT center. Unfortunately, it is also very expensive like San Francisco but a single person can make enough to live fairly well on an entry level professional salary as long as you an come up with a few thousand to move. IT is heating up at the moment ahead of most job sectors and looks like it is going to be that way for a while. That would be my pick but you have to do it the smart way. The IT jobs that are in demand are the ones that can’t be offshored but there are still lots of those if you know where to look. If I were in your position, I would try for an entry level professional job that combines IT support with biotech information systems. They pay well and are in demand but you have to do your own research about how to get them based on your interests and experience. Different opportunities could include supporting computerized lab equipment as a tech or specializing in a popular software package that runs in lots of different large companies.

I can predict that the fastest startup, biggest bang for your buck, and the least headache will be going into IT if you have an aptitude for it and specialize in biotech hardware and software. That is good combination to have. It still isn’t easy but neither is grad school.

I knew I should’ve married a rich woman instead of going to college.

Buffalo. I kid you not. The Medical Corridor is booming, and Buffalo’s economy in general weathered the recession fairly well. The cost of housing is quite reasonable, although the days of $700 upper flats in well-off neighborhoods are long gone. Income and real estate taxes are high, but services (schools, etc) are very good. City neighborhoods on the West Side and in North Buffalo, close to the corridor, are very liveable.

Also, in the Buffalo area, it’ll be easier to move on to Cleveland (Cleveland Clinic) and the Toronto area when you advance through the field.

While it’s expensive to live here, there used to be lots of jobs in Montgomery county Maryland area. I haven’t kept up with it in years though so I can’t really tell you what’s going on in the business though. There’s also Fort Detrick in Frederick Maryland. There are a ton of things going on there as well, but again I haven’t kept up with it in years. Frederick’s a nice place to live, though I don’t know how well they pay and I’m not sure how cheap rent is there either.

My first thought was the Raleigh, NC area. There are several bio-chem firms in the RTP.

Fargo is booming, but I don’t know what it would have in terms of biotech. It does have two Universities - both North Dakota and Minnesota have schools right there. It isn’t a sexy place to live - like San Francisco - but there are jobs.

Before you move, have you checked out anything at Dow Aggro? Only guy I know there has PhD + a 3 year postdoc though.

Pittsburgh is pretty good and the cost of living is low.

You can look for jobs at Pitt, CMU and industry.

If you go for an entry level job at the University , you will get above average benifits, including the perk of only paying 10% on your Grad classes.

Philadelphia area isn’t bad either. We have a lot of Universities with Med Schools (Penn, Temple, Drexel/Hahnemann, Thomas Jefferson) and a decent amount of industry in the city and the burbs.