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A Career Guide to Jobs in Science 

Published: Friday 1st May 2020

If you want to make a real contribution to society, then a career as a scientist could give you the opportunity to do that. However, there are a lot of different types of scientific jobs out there, and not all are in a lab. So it’s a good idea to do some research first to see which science jobs suit you. 

How to know if a career in science is for you? 

If you’re considering a career in science, firstly, you should have enjoyed the subject at school. You’ll be passionate about understanding how things work, have good numeric skills and be interested in scientific developments.  

For most scientific jobs, you’ll be working with other scientists, as well as people from other backgrounds, so the ability to work in a team and communicate effectively will be vital. These days, science jobs involve a lot of technology, so good IT skills will be a definite advantageFor jobs that involve a lot of testing, patience and creative thinking for problem solving will be definite assets 

Qualifications for jobs in science 

Unlike some other industries, the best way into a career in science is by studying for a degree in the scientific discipline of your choice. Most jobs require a degree as a minimum. For highly skilled roles, a postgraduate qualification is often required. Science degrees vary widely and include biology, chemistry and physics, as well as more niche areas such as bio-medicine, forensic science and astronomy. 

close up of teacher hand with marker while teaching lessons in school classroom to students

Of course, where you go with your degree can be equally diverse. A chemistry degree could take you into pharma, petrochemicals or manufacturing, while a biology degree could see you going into food, horticulture, conservation, or genetics. A physics qualification could lead to a career in aerospace, defence, telecommunications or astrophysics.  

Jobs in science are hugely diverse and many scientists work as teachers or start a career as a lecturer, in journalism, or go into business enterprise. When choosing your career, if you’re not sure where you want to specialise, it’s a good idea to start with a broader science subject and major in a sub-genre later on when you discover a niche you’re passionate about. 

Where can I find science jobs near me? 

Laboratory scientist working at lab with test tubes

There are many ways to find your first science job. Many graduates start out in work placements where they are able to gain some valuable experience before specialising further. Interns often end up working for their employers long-term, while others will find jobs through graduate programmes at the likes of Johnson & Johnson, or Unilever.  

As a scientist, typically you’ll work normal business hours, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, however, some specific roles, such as an astronomer, may require evening or shift work. Given the wide range of science jobs, salaries vary massively. As an intern or apprentice, you could be earning very little, but experienced full-time scientists can expect a good living with average salaries coming in around £50,000 or more. 

See some of the latest science jobs available by searching the Zoek job site or by downloading our job search app. 

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