When you think of jobs to do with science, you’re probably imagining a mad scientist in a long white coat, dreaming up experiments in a chemistry lab.
Well, those people exist. But when it comes to jobs in science, they’re only a small part of the story. The field of science is huge, with plenty of different roles, everything from working with animals to exploring the night sky.
In this guide we’ll talk you through jobs to do with science, looking at what they are, the skills and characteristics required, and how you can launch science careers.
What is science?
Yep that’s right, we’re going back to basics – way back. Science is essentially a way of gathering information about anything in our universe. The idea is that this info has been tested and experimented, so we view it as knowledge.
That's why people with science jobs are a curious, creative bunch who want to find out how things work.
What science jobs can I do?
As we mentioned, there are many science careers available to you. We’ll run through a handful of them with a short description of what each one does.
- Biologists study living things like plants and animals.
- Chemists study chemicals.
- Research scientists do experiments and investigations into different things.
- Physicists explore why matter and energy behave the way they do.
- Forensic scientists help to investigate crimes by gathering and analysing evidence.
- Food scientists study elements of food and help make food products.
- Astronomers explore the origin and structure of the universe – that includes stars, planets and dark matter.
- Nuclear engineers research nuclear energy and radiation.
- Meteorologists observe and analyse weather conditions. Read this to find out how to become one.
Is that all?
No way! We’ve just included a sample of science jobs above. There are lots more you could do, in many different fields. For example:
- Agriculture & Environment: agricultural engineer, geologist, ecologist, archeologist, seismologist, botanist.
- Animal Welfare: zoologist, pet behaviour counsellor.
- Engineering: chemical engineer, aerospace engineer.
- Police, Security & Emergencies: scene of crime investigator, fingerprint officer.
- Sport & Fitness: sports scientist.
What if I like the idea of science careers but I don't want to be a scientist?
Maybe you’re inquisitive and imaginative, with a knack for solving problems, but you don’t fancy actually becoming a scientist. There are plenty of roles in other fields where you can show off your scientific know-how.
These include: teaching, banking, medicine, scientific publishing – and many others.
How to get a job in science
Since there are so many different jobs to do with science, the skills required will vary depending on what role you’re interested in. But here’s a list of characteristics that will come in super handy if you’re thinking of a science career.
- An enquiring attitude.
- Good problem solving skills.
- Ability to think logically and methodically.
- Strong communication skills.
- A methodical approach to work.
- Research and analytical skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Determination and adaptability.
- Able to work independently.
- People skills, such as team-working ability and having an open mind.
- …and a knack for science of course!
I'm still not sure if being a scientist is right for me
If you’ve matched your skills with lots on the list above, but you’re still wondering if science is the path for you, let’s hear from some real-life scientists. Here are some of the brilliant posts on #IAmAScientistBecause:
- “There are moments when I learn something in the lab and think, I’m the only human that knows this right now”.
- “When you are constantly questioning, you are constantly learning. It is a profession where you grow daily.”
- “Science turns ‘I don't know’ into ‘I don't know... yet’”
- “I spend my days studying what fascinates me whilst at the same time working on improving people’s lives”
How can I get started?
In order to bag yourself an awesome science job, the core subjects at GSCE and A-level are: maths, biology, physics, chemistry and ICT. Studying a subject like English or history can help to develop your communication skills.
After school, there are a few routes into a science career. There are intermediate or advanced apprenticeships for jobs like lab assistant and electronics engineer. Or you could choose to do a degree in a science-based subject, for example zoology or biomedical science. Depending on the job, some employers will require you to also have a postgraduate qualification, like a master’s degree or even a PhD.