Beyond the Lab: Career Options for Science Geeks

scienceNo doubt you know that some of the United States’ fastest growing occupations are scientific in nature. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sixty-percent of them are (Fastest Growing Occupations, 2014-2024). Yes, we need researchers to advance science and develop new products, and healthcare professionals to improve health for all people. But what if neither of those options appeals to you?

Take a look at the many ways you can put your knowledge to work.


Science education

Share your love of science with children, college students, and the general public through teaching in schools, colleges, science museums, and professional associations.


Public health

Analyze and evaluate public health programs; collect statistics to summarize and report on public health issues for NGOs, federal and state agencies.


Scientific testing

Perform analysis for environmental and public health agencies, or forensic testing for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.


Science writing

Explain science and research to the greater public through magazines and newspapers, books, museums, television, and the Internet.


Intellectual property

Identify industry, academic or government research with potential commercial value and create strategies to profit from it. Help inventors navigate the patent application process.


Science policy

Advocate for and interpret science to create good public policy: Work for legislators drafting scientific legislation and liaise with their scientific constituents. Represent scientific nonprofits, promoting their positions to Congress.


Science and business

Identify and develop business opportunities for biotech companies; analyze biomedical and biotechnology investments for potential investors; bring your own innovative ideas to market by starting a business.


Sales and marketing of science-related products

Develop and implement strategy to promote company products to prescribers and users. Educate physicians, pharmacists, health facilities and consumers about new pharmaceutical products.


Drug and device approval and production

Ensure that companies abide by regulations, laws and guidelines in developing, producing, and selling products in regulated industries, such as food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, energy, biotech, clinical, and health care products.


Clinical research management

Coordinate medical research studies for pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment designers and other health-related manufacturers to test the effectiveness and safety of new products.


So how do you know which path is right for you?


  • Take the time to look closely at your skills and interests, and most importantly your work values, those things of utmost importance to you in a job. Some examples of values are earning within a certain salary range, living in a specific geographic location, experiencing job security, having the opportunity for positive work/life balance. Knowing your “must haves” will help you sort through all of your options. Begin this process at, a web-based career assessment designed specifically for scientists. Then schedule an appointment with a career counselor to discuss your results and get started on your search.
  • Check out job postings online. Learn about needed qualifications and skills by searching,, or Your career counselor can advise you on job titles to search.