Is becoming a scientist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do scientists do?
Career Satisfaction
Are scientists happy with their careers?
What are scientists like?

Still unsure if becoming a scientist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a scientist or another similar career!

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How to become a Scientist

Becoming a scientist involves a combination of education, research experience, and professional networking. Here are the general steps to pursue a career as a scientist:

  • Educational Background: Obtain a strong educational foundation by earning a bachelor's degree in a specific field of science you are passionate about, such as biology, chemistry, physics, astrophysics, environmental science, engineering, or computer science.
  • Internships and Research Opportunities: Seek opportunities early in your academic career. Participate in undergraduate internships, research programs, or lab assistant positions to gain hands-on experience and exposure to scientific research.
  • Advanced Degrees: Pursue a master's or Ph.D. program in your chosen field. A Ph.D. is typically required for positions involving independent research and university faculty roles. Choose a reputable graduate program with faculty members conducting research aligned with your interests.
  • Publish Research and Build a Professional Reputation: Contribute to research projects and aim to publish your findings in scientific journals. Publishing is a crucial aspect of establishing your credibility as a scientist and contributing to the scientific community. Establish a strong professional reputation by actively contributing to your field, collaborating with other researchers, and presenting your work at conferences. A positive reputation can lead to job opportunities and collaborations.
  • Teaching Experience: Gain teaching experience, especially if you are interested in academia. Teaching can be part of a scientist's responsibilities in academic settings, and experience in the classroom is valued.
  • Apply for Grants and Funding: As a scientist, you may need to secure funding for your research. Develop strong grant-writing skills and apply for research grants from government agencies, private foundations, or industry sources.
  • Job Search: Look for job opportunities in academia, research institutions, government agencies, or private industries. Job search platforms, university career services, and professional organizations in your field can be valuable resources.

Helpful Resources
Here are some helpful resources for scientists:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Offers resources, publications, and opportunities for networking and professional development.
  • American Chemical Society (ACS): Provides a platform for chemists with conferences, publications, and career resources.
  • American Physical Society (APS): Supports physicists with conferences, journals, and career services.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): A major funding source for research in various scientific disciplines.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): Focuses on funding biomedical and health-related research.
  • Science Careers: A job board and career resource for scientists, managed by AAAS.
  • Nature Careers: Features job listings, articles, and advice for scientists.
  • PubMed: A comprehensive database for biomedical and life sciences research articles.
  • IEEE Xplore: A digital library for electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics literature.
  • Coursera and edX: Platforms offering online courses from universities and institutions worldwide, allowing scientists to expand their skills.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare: Provides free access to MIT's course materials, including lecture notes and assignments.
  • Conference Alerts: A platform to find upcoming conferences in various scientific fields.
  • Eventbrite: Lists scientific events, workshops, and seminars happening in the U.S.
  • LinkedIn: A professional networking platform to connect with other scientists, researchers, and professionals.
  • ResearchGate: A social networking site for researchers to share publications and connect with peers.
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Offers resources and funding for research in energy-related fields.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Provides opportunities for space-related research.
  • ScienceDirect: Provides access to a vast collection of scientific and technical research articles.
  • JSTOR: Offers a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source materials.
  • The Conversation: Publishes articles written by academics to communicate research findings to a broader audience.
  • ComSciCon: Organizes workshops to help scientists improve their science communication skills.
  • AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships: Offers opportunities for scientists to engage in policy-related work.