Not sure where a scientific background can take you? It’s time to consider your options…
Whether you studied chemistry, physics, biology, or another sub-sector, your prospects after graduating with a degree in science are probably wider than you think.
Because although research and teaching based roles are common amongst all of the sciences, you could also be using your transferable skills and specialist expertise in less conventional positions – from IT and finance, to writing and healthcare.
To make sure you know what’s out there, here’s what you can actually do with your science degree:
If you studied chemistry…
Whether you want to use your skills to analyse and transform substances, solve crimes, or develop drugs and medicines, there are a range of job options for chemistry graduates.
Here are a few roles you could consider:
Analytical Chemist – This role involves using a range of scientific methods to investigate and analyse the chemical nature of substances. The research carried out could help towards drug development, forensic analysis, and toxicology.
Chemical Engineer – If you choose to enter the field of chemical engineering, you’d be responsible planning, engineering, and operating the processes that turn raw materials into everyday products.
Forensic Scientist – If solving crimes is your forte, a career in forensic analysis could be for you. It involves using scientific analysis to assess biological evidence found in a crime scene.
Other potential roles: Pharmacologist, Toxicologist, Science Writer, Teacher, Lecturer, Environmental Consultant, Chemist, Research Scientist.
How to get there: Phlebotomists and Lab Technicians are great entry-level chemistry roles. Not only will they practically prove your research and analysis skills, you’ll also get the practical work experience you need to move up in the industry. Experience (even if only freelance) as a Copywriter or an Editor could also improve your chances of being considered for science writing roles.
If you studied physics…
Physics is a broad field with a range of job options, including everything from the study of space, to the development of physical manmade structures. Other career choices could include anything where you’ll be able to utilise your skills in maths and analysis, such as IT or engineering.
Here are a few other potential jobs for physics graduates:
Aerospace Engineer – An Aerospace Engineer is responsible for designing, developing, and testing everything from helicopters and planes, to spaceships, rockets, and weapons.
Research Scientist – If you choose to become a Research Scientist in physics, your role will include researching, studying, and analysing non-living physical structures like volcanos, earthquakes, and rocks.
Geophysicist – If you’re interested in how the world works, this role could be for you. Geophysicists use a range of scientific and mathematical knowledge to study the earth’s crust and physical structure.
Other potential roles: Metallurgist, Patent Attorney, Lecturer, Architect, Systems Developer, Astrophysicist, Researcher, Clinical Scientist, Meteorologist.
How to get there: Make the most of your transferrable skills, and focus on the getting more experience in the areas you have specialist skills in (even if it means starting from the bottom). For example, beginning your physics career as a Researcher or a Research Assistant will give you the skills needed to move up within a particular field of research – and will be attainable with a physics degree.
If you studied biology…
From studying the environment, plants, and animals, to healthcare, teaching, and writing, there are a variety of fields you could choose to work in with a biological science degree. It all depends on what area of biology you studied.
Here are a few career directions you could go in:
Microbiologist – this role involves the study and analysis of various types of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The research helps to understand how they live and interact with the environment, and results in the development of new drugs and medicines.
Biomedical Scientist – Biomedical Scientists screen and test for diseases and abnormalities in human samples, specialising in infection, blood, or cells.This helps healthcare professionals diagnose and treat diseases.
Environmental Biologist – if your skills lie in environmental biology, helping to preserve and protect the environment and its habitants could be the right role for you. Your job would involve carrying out field work and assessments to determine and reduce the environmental impact of both urban and agricultural influences.
Other potential roles: Research Scientist, Marine Biologist, Secondary School Teacher, Lecturer, Dietician, Dentist, Physician, Botanist, Epidemiologist, Zoologist, Science Advisor/Writer.
How to get there: If you’re lacking in practical experience, working as a Data Entry Assistant at a company that deals with your preferred area of science is a great starting point. Alternatively, there are certain professions such as Nutritionist or Research Scientist which you may be able to start soon after gaining you degree. Not only will it enable you to move onto more advanced positions, it will also give you an opportunity to network and branch out into other fields of science. Working as an Analyst could also help to prove your ability to research, analyse, and problem solve.
Skills to utilise
If you’re not set on a career in science, or you want to branch out into a different specialism, don’t panic.
No matter what type of science degree you have, you’ll have gained a range of valuable skills – many of them transferrable enough to be used in a variety of fields.
After all, every sub-sector provides a high level of research and analysis skills, which are valuable in many jobs.
As long as you make your skills clear in your CV, can back them up with examples, and understand how you could apply them to the career you want – you’re on the right track to getting your dream job.
Here are some key skills to take away from a science degree:
- Problem solving skills
- Organisational skills
- Project management
- Practical skills
- Mathematical skills
- Analytical skills
- Time management
- Research skills
- An ability to communicate information effectively
If you’re looking to develop your skills further, you want to specialise in a particular field of the type of science, or you’re interested in trying something new, studying for a Masters or a PhD could be the best option.
Many courses offer a combination of work and study, which will allow you to gain some practical work experience while enhancing your qualifications. Teaching jobs will also require further study, in the form of a PGCE.
Not only will taking on further education open doors to positions in more niche areas, as well as make you more attractive to employers, it’ll also allow a higher income and greater career progression in the long run.
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