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The Fastest Growing Career in Science you don’t Know About

Whether you are a recent STEM college graduate or have a career in science, you may have heard about Mass Spectrometry. However, the number of scientists with expertise in the field is surprisingly small, and in recent years has not been enough to satisfy the rapidly growing job market.
The exponential growth in the use of Mass Spectrometers as diagnostic, investigative, and translational technology is producing more vast and accurate data than ever before. While the first Mass Spectrometer was built over 100 years ago by the scientist Francis William Aston, new applications are becoming apparent every day.
This growth in industrial and clinical usage is creating jobs for specialists at such an accelerated rate that many job vacancies are remaining empty. There are over 7000 job vacancies for mass spectrometrists across the United States alone, many with salaries in excess of $100,000.

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Why are these jobs so hard to fill?

The issue facing many employers is a lack of appropriately qualified applicants for their positions. Whether in the food industry or the field of environmental science, theoretical understanding of mass spectrometry and experience with the technology are a rare combination of skills that are in increasingly high demand in all manner of fields of study. Those with Biotechnology degrees have some knowledge, but for many employers, these individuals lack the depth of knowledge required to adequately perform the full scope of tasks required of a fully qualified Mass Spectrometrist. The unfortunate truth is that on the rare occasion a lab takes the time to properly train someone in mass spectrometry, that individual is then often hired immediately by an industrial competitor for more money.

What can you do to prepare?

To have the sufficient expertise, prospective employees must undertake a rigorous program of study rooted in the theory and practice of Mass Spectrometry. The current paradigm is on-the-job training in mass spectrometry, either as part of a lengthy and unpredictable PhD program or through years of entry-level position training in industry. The new CAMS program at Loyola University Chicago is the only one-year Master’s Degree designed to provide focused, condensed training in mass spectrometry meant to replace this existing lengthy process. Those with the foresight to complete this program will enter the job market having already set themselves apart in the eyes of employers.