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Career and Education Opportunities for Scientists in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for scientists in the Chicago, Illinois area. The national trend for scientists sees this job pool growing by about 37.4% over the next eight years. Scientists generally study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena.

The income of a scientist is about $42 hourly or $87,730 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $39 hourly or $82,840 per year on average. Earnings for scientists are better than earnings in the general category of Life Sciences in Illinois and better than general Life Sciences category earnings nationally. People working as scientists can fill a number of jobs, such as: research associate, research affiliate, and physical biochemist.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including eleven within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a scientist. Given that the most common education level for scientists is a post-Baccalaureate certificate, you can expect to spend a short time training to become a scientist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or little over four years if you have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Scientist

Scientist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, scientists study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. They also may conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity.

Scientists ready reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes. Finally, scientists share research findings by writing scientific articles and by making presentations at scientific conferences.

Every day, scientists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for scientists to oversee laboratory teams, and monitor the quality of a team's work. They are often called upon to design new methods to study the mechanisms of biological processes. They also design and execute tests to uncover diseases or other abnormalities. They are sometimes expected to research how characteristics of plants and animals are carried through successive generations. Somewhat less frequently, scientists are also expected to share research findings by writing scientific articles and by making presentations at scientific conferences.

Scientists sometimes are asked to layout and build laboratory equipment needed for special research projects. And finally, they sometimes have to research transformations of substances in cells, using atomic isotopes.

Like many other jobs, scientists must be persistant in the face of problems and impediments and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Scientist Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biochemistry, bachelor's degree which graduated 37 students in 2008.
  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.

Elmhurst College - Elmhurst, IL

Elmhurst College, 190 Prospect Ave, Elmhurst, IL 60126-3096. Elmhurst College is a small college located in Elmhurst, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,315 students and an admission rate of 69%. Elmhurst College has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry.

North Central College - Naperville, IL

North Central College, 30 N Brainard St, Naperville, IL 60540. North Central College is a small college located in Naperville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,726 students and an admission rate of 69%. North Central College has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biophysics, doctor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Molecular Biochemistry, doctor's degree which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Benedictine University - Lisle, IL

Benedictine University, 5700 College Rd, Lisle, IL 60532-0900. Benedictine University is a medium sized university located in Lisle, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,053 students and an admission rate of 80%. Benedictine University has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry.

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science - North Chicago, IL

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Rd, North Chicago, IL 60064. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a small university located in North Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,741 students. Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biophysics, master's degree and doctor's degree.
  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, master's degree and doctor's degree.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, doctor's degree.
  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties, master's degree and doctor's degree.

Loyola University Chicago - Chicago, IL

Loyola University Chicago, 820 N. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60611-9810. Loyola University Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 15,670 students and an admission rate of 74%. Loyola University Chicago has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biochemistry, master's degree.
  • Molecular Biochemistry, master's degree and doctor's degree.

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biochemistry, bachelor's degree which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • Biochemistry/Biophysics and Molecular Biology, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated fourteen, zero, and three students respectively in 2008.

Rush University - Chicago, IL

Rush University, 600 S. Paulina St. STE 440, Chicago, IL 60612. Rush University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,764 students. Rush University has 2 areas of study related to Scientist. They are:

  • Biochemistry, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated zero and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Biophysics, master's degree and doctor's degree.

CERTIFICATIONS

Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.