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What are the not-so-known careers in science?

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Lorraine’s Answer

Many students think that teaching or working in chemical or bioscience manufacturing are the main careers for a science degree. Here's another example: clinical research associate. These individuals typically have a bachelor of science degree, but may have advanced training such as a master of science or even be a doctorate level. The primary responsibility of a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) is to monitor clinical trials that are ongoing at clinical trial sites, for a given scientifically designed protocol. A clinical trial site can be located at a doctor's office or hospital. The CRA ensures that the site is conducting informed consent with each trial volunteer and makes sure that the safety of the volunteers is prioritized, tracked and reported to the company or organization sponsoring the trial. The CRA verifies that key information about volunteers which is being entered anonymously into a database is accurate and complete. If you like looking over documents for completeness and accuracy, this might be a good career. It is very detail oriented, but can lead to managerial positions which are more high level such as lead CRA, project manager, or medical monitor.

Thank you, Mrs. Burnham, I'd never heard of a clinical research associate. Grace E.

You're welcome, Grace. Best wishes to you, as you discover careers. Lorraine Burnham

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John’s Answer

With such an extraordinary breadth of fields to study, there are plenty of cool, strange and unusual science jobs that you may not have heard of. Rather than being confined to their labs, some scientists move into areas that seem more akin to something from a Hollywood movie, conducting research in some pretty strange locales, far away from the usual lab or office.


RESEARCH GENETICIST– Study the inherited characteristics of humans, animals, and plants. Their experiments and analyses contribute to the knowledge of human behavior, genetic diseases and the development of crops, among other topics. Genetic laboratory directors lead the development of new products, such as drug treatments, disease-resistant livestock, and larger-growing crops. Forensic geneticists working for law enforcement organizations use DNA sampling to positively identify suspects. Geneticists also work in academia and at private research institutes, where laboratory time must be supplemented with grant applications and other fundraising activities required to support projects. University researchers are typically faculty members who supervise the work of students in advanced degree programs.

OPHTHALMOLOGIST – Are physicians who specialize in treating and diagnosing ailments of the eye. Such problems can include diseases like cataracts or glaucoma; injuries; and problems with vision, like farsightedness. Ophthalmologists have more specialized training in the eye than family doctors and, contrary to optometrists, have completed medical school and have knowledge of general medicine and surgery. Because of this training, ophthalmologists often get referrals of patients with serious eye disorders from optometrists and family physicians. Coursework in a medical school program includes general health studies, such as anatomy and physiology.

ASTROPHYSICISTS – Are physicists who specialize in understanding the universe. Astrophysicists may work in scientific research or be employed by colleges, universities or the government. They concentrate on trying to answer questions about things such as the origins of the universe and whether there is life on other planets. While astrophysicists may concentrate more on research, their work can be used to help locate things like black holes.

GEOPHYSICIST – Are scientists who use physics, chemistry, geology and advanced mathematics to study the Earth and its composition, including its atmosphere, internal make-up, oceans and electrical and other fields. Some geophysicists may specialize their study in areas like the Earth's magnetic and gravitational fields, planetary movement and seismic activity. Using sophisticated instruments and research methods, a geophysicist may help locate natural resources like groundwater or petroleum. Others assist with environmental preservation and protection. Many geophysicists, like those that specialize in seismic activities, develop methods and techniques for earthquake monitoring and prediction. Geophysicists may be required to do extensive field research in remote areas or foreign countries.

VOLCANOLOGIST – A volcanologist is a highly educated specialist in geophysics who studies active and inactive volcanoes. Active volcanoes are studied to understand the movement and formation of molten rock (or magma) deep under the earth's surface. Inactive volcanoes have rock formations that were created by eruptions tens of thousands of years ago, and are a great source of information and detective work for volcanologists. This career is not a 'typical' career, in that the job tasks can vary a great deal. There will be days when volcanologists will watch volcanoes erupt, days when they'll be doing paperwork at the office, days when they'll be flying in a helicopter and installing instruments, and days when they'll be attending scientific conferences.

Grace some of these jobs are logical – but interesting – extensions of existing branches of science, others are maybe not what you’d expect to hear about. Hope this was Helpful, Good Luck.

Thank you, I should definitely look into these careers. Grace E.

You are welcome Grace, Its was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” John Frick

Thank You Charles. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike John Frick

Thank You Su. “Our generation has the ability and the responsibility to make our ever-more connected world a more hopeful, stable and peaceful place.” — Natalie Portman John Frick

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Wayne’s Answer


Here are a few not-so-known careers in science:


You may find more details on these career paths here -- https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/85104/10-little-known-fascinating-stem-fields-explore

Whatever path you decide to choose, go with your gut and good luck!

wow never heard of most of these, thank you. Grace E.

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Eric’s Answer

Hi Grace, I think this a great question. I have a BS in Biology and coming out of school I did not what to do or what my options really were. I began working at a Medical Device company as a Medical Device Reporter. I had no idea this job was out there until I applied. A Medical Device Reporter (MDR) is a role where you evaluate complaints from different sources (Doctors, Nurse, Sales Reps, Patients, etc). When evaluating these complaints you will apply coding which help alert downstream uses of potential unforeseen safety risks or product issues. Another part of the MDR role is submitting reports to different regulatory bodies to ensure they are aware of symptoms/alleged issues with the products.

This is a great way to get into the Medtech profession and can open up many doors for advancement.

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Philip’s Answer

Hi Grace,

Science specialties are vast but I believe one of the best ways to distinguish yourself among many more common science majors. I would suggest that you focus on where your interest lies. Are you fascinated by the way something works in the world or outside this world?

Here are a couple science paths that I know are less travelled but I have friends that have done very well in these science fields:
1. Naval Science
2. Nuclear Science
3. Exploration Science

Again, these are just examples and there are many others. Choosing a niche Science field may be a great way to have an exciting and highly successful career. The key here would be choosing a path that you really enjoy, staying focussed in it, going to the best university for that field and giving all your energy to pursuing the field until you are considered an expert. I hope this helps and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Philip recommends the following next steps:

Research Naval Science degrees: https://www.washington.edu/students/crscat/navsci.html
Research Nuclear Science degrees: http://catalog.mit.edu/schools/engineering/nuclear-science-engineering/
Research Exploration Science Degrees: https://mps.rsmas.miami.edu/degree-tracks/exploration-science/index.html

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Sarah’s Answer

HI Grace!

Bioengineering is not a widely known degree science. I got my degree in bioengineering and now work at a company that designs and manufactures medical devices. If you like to build things and solve problems I'd recommend looking into engineering as a degree.

Best of luck

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Nicole’s Answer

Medical device or pharmaceutical sales would be a good market to get into if you have a science background and want to go into sales. Lucrative role and one that there will always be a need for. Check out some of the major companies such as Stryker, Novartis, Medtronic, Allergan, etc.

Even roles outside of Sales at a Medical Device company are great with a science background. Sometimes people go into real bench R&D work, but sometimes they are a Project Manager for R&D to make sure all the different stakeholders are giving the input they need. I have seen very successful Upstream Marketing people that have a science background, same goes for Clinical Research professionals. Sara Fulcher

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Demetrio’s Answer

There are many good answers on this one, many that do not seem familiar, buy, yet, are very important. Environmental Science has become more applicable over time as it deals with our existence with our surroundings. Most important is how we deal with our waste that we might leave behind. For example, oil leaks, gas leaks, pollution and other material that breaks down and goes into our ground water. 'Not healthy at all.

My cousin is an Environmental Attorney and is as busy as a person can get. Every aspect of purchasing a property or setting up an event, human and business waste buy products need to be controlled. Environmental Science is at the forefront of today and how we might apply it in the future for a better existence among ourselves and the planet.

Ecology has definitely become important, thank you. Grace E.

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Shruti’s Answer

Nuclear Scientist is often overlooked. Its a cool career to have.

Hi Shruti, providing more information on what nuclear scientist do might be more helpful to the student. Can you share details around the role? Gurpreet Lally

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Kathy’s Answer

You can go to sites like www.careeronestop.org to find information on career exploration, training, and jobs. This site has tons of great information as you begin your search. You can look at different careers and what it takes for you to receive training, watch videos on different job types, and get questions answered.

You can also go to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics at https://www.bls.gov/audience/jobseekers.htm to look at various occupations and learn about the current and future jobs outlook, advancement and training requirements, employment, salary, and a 10 year outlook for those occupations. There are also lots of other topics to explore on this page that will give you great information to help you get started.

Good Luck!

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Jason’s Answer

Hi Grace,

Here are some unusual stem careers, hope can help you,


Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster might be the stuff of legend, but cryptozoologists are very real. These people study to try to detect the presence of cryptids – animals that are considered to be long extinct or maybe even mythical. Before you scoff, we’ll have you know that cryptozoology has contributed to discovering some very valuable species – animals such as giant squids, Komodo dragons and okapi were all once considered creatures of legend but have since been proven to exist. To be a cryptozoologist, you need a degree in zoology or biology and the willingness to travel long distances to remote locations in pursuit of clues. The good news is that if you do discover a previously unknown species, you can name it whatever you like!

Cybersecurity analyst

If the latest WannaCrypt ransomware attack has taught us anything, it’s the importance of cybersecurity analysts – information security professionals who are in charge of monitoring and safeguarding computer networks, sensitive information and proprietary data from hackers and malware. To be a cybersecurity analyst requires a degree in computer science, information technology or another computer technology-related field.


Aquarists are professionals who care and maintain marine life in aquariums and marine conservation centres. They can specialise in a number of different areas, including safely breeding creatures in captivity, creating and maintaining aquatic exhibits and shows, training sea life, and educating the public about sea life. To work as an aquarist, you need a degree in either marine biology or zoology and a compulsory scuba diving qualification, as much of the job involves underwater activities. That alone makes the job fun!


If studying a volcano doesn’t sound exciting enough, just think of all the travel to exotic places or the importance of saving lives by predicting volcanic eruptions. Volcanologists are specialised geologists who study the patterns of volcanoes. But how can you study something that’s spewing lava, ash and poisonous gas? Well, you certainly don’t climb inside it. Volcanologists study a variety of ash and rock samples, simulate controlled explosions that mimic volcanic activity, and even listen to the gurgles of a volcano. Most volcanologists are geologists with an extensive knowledge of geophysics and geochemistry, alongside a qualification in either oceanography (most volcanoes are formed in the ocean) or meteorology.

Environmental specialist

Environmental specialists collect and study samples of soil and water to determine the level and quantity of pollutants present in the samples. Most environmental specialists need degrees in environmental science, biology or chemistry. It’s an environmental specialist’s job to determine the effects of pollutants on animal, plant and human life. What’s more is that Forbes magazine rated environmental specialists as being in one of the best-paid green jobs.

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Demetrio’s Answer

There are many good answers on this one, many that do not seem familiar, buy, yet, are very important. Environmental Science has become more applicable over time as it deals with our existence with our surroundings. Most important is how we deal with our waste that we might leave behind. For example, oil leaks, gas leaks, pollution and other material that breaks down and goes into our ground water. 'Not healthy at all.

My cousin is an Environmental Attorney and is as busy as a person can get. Every aspect of purchasing a property or setting up an event, human and business waste buy products need to be controlled. Environmental Science is at the forefront of today and how we might apply it in the future for a better existence among ourselves and the planet.

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Julia’s Answer

Hi Grace,

Here are a few examples of no-so-know careers in science:

1. Sustainability Specialist
2. Forensic Scientist
3. Storm Chaser
4. Fermentation Scientist
5. Science Policy

Hope this helps!

Thank you, it did help. Grace E.

Thank you, it does help. Grace E.

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Su’s Answer

Hi Grace!

One area that is really expanding fast is Data Science. I don't think I saw that on any of the lists above. Data Science can be used in any field and is becoming a big need in the market place.

Data science is an inter-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many structural and unstructured data. Data science is related to data mining, deep learning and big data.

Best to you!