• If You're a Struggling Scientist, a Shortcut to a Lucrative Career in Patent Law Awaits You

  • An article at CNN lists academic research scientists as one of the top three "Big jobs that pay badly". The article states that this career track has "one of the most disproportionate ratios of training to pay".

    I believe it.

    As a one-time research scientist myself, I experienced the low pay first-hand. In all honesty, it was barely enough to support my modest living needs, let alone a family. I found myself in the uncomfortable position of actually making less than a full-time waitress. This was with my Master's degree in Molecular Biology working at a prestigious academic institute.

    And as much as I'd like to say it gets better with more education, I can't. Unfortunately, the salary and job expectations only seem to only worsen with the degree level. If you're a postdoc, you know exactly what I mean.

    Decades ago, the postdoctoral position was merely a "stepping stone" on the road to something bigger and better. But today, many postdocs are trapped in their temporary positions. Some spend as long as a decade, or more, just biding their time, searching for their "big-break" into the small pool of permanent Ph.D. positions.

    Even those that make it are forced to go where the money is, which might not be where their ideas and dreams would take them.

    I can imagine if you're in this position, you're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up. To rub in how incredibly underpaid you are? No. Instead, I want to let you in on a little secret.

    It's a shortcut actually.

    You see, my story changed when I found out that as a scientist, I qualified to begin a career in patent law. All I needed to gain status as a registered Patent Agent was pass an exam conducted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Upon passing this exam, I would be legally eligible to write and prosecute patents in the U.S.

    Chances are you qualify to take this exam and become a Patent Agent too.

    A licensed Patent Agent (with no law degree) makes an average expected salary of $74,900 a year (as reported by PayScale.com in 2005). Contrast this with the $45,000 average salary of a Research Associate in the field of Biotechnology. That's almost $30,000 more in a single year.

    The salary for a Ph.D. in a postdoc position is a mere $38,000. And the average number of hours a postdoc works in a typical week is 51. If you do the math, it becomes apparent that a postdoc's hourly wage is just under $15/hour. This is less than the average salary earned by recent college graduates with only a bachelor's degree. Once again, let me remind you of the average salary of a Patent Agent -- $74,900 a year.

    And it's not all about money. A career as a Patent Agent has its rewards. It's a highly respectable and honorable career where you may put your knowledge to the test and solve fascinating technical and legal problems. It is your opportunity to really use that science degree (or the degrees) you worked so hard to get and earn the prestige you so deserve.

    You will be right on the cutting edge of research and development, quite possibly even closer to it than you are today tucked away running experiments in the laboratory. You will be positioned to learn about new and exciting discoveries before anyone else.

    In addition to the prestige offered by a career in patent law, there is virtually unlimited potential. Patent law is one of the few legal specialties that is actually growing. And since many biotech innovations truly do advance society, you will have the opportunity to do something positive for mankind (which is probably why you became a scientist in the first place).

    And you may always choose to get a law degree after you gain experience as a Patent Agent. As you might guess, you can expect a higher pay and even more challenges as a Patent Attorney (in fact, the average pay for a Patent Attorney is $100,000 with some partners earning well over $200,000 a year).

    So with all the benefits of a career in patent law, why don't more scientists opt for this opportunity? Especially when all that stands between them and this career is an exam? Well the truth is, many just don't know the opportunity exists. My goal is to change that.

    As you can see, passing the Patent Bar exam can open an entirely new career door for you. It can pave the way to a higher salary and a highly rewarding career. So if you're interested in a career change of this sort, please seek out more information today. As you know, shortcuts don't always last forever, especially when the word gets out.

    Copyright © 2005 Lisa Parmley

    For more information on the Patent Bar Exam and a career in patent law, please visit Patent Bar Exam News. Download the free report and discover how you can land an exclusive career in patent law.