What happens when you have worked so hard to get a science degree and even a Ph.D., only to realise that you don’t want to follow the expected research trajectory, and instead you want to try something new?
The good news is scientists are not confined to the lab anymore. In fact, candidates with a science degree and a science background are becoming increasingly desirable in other fields.
We’ve compiled a list of seven popular alternative career paths for scientists looking for a change.
- A career in scientific writing
Writing requires many of the same skills you learn whilst studying a science degree; analysing a lot of information and presenting it in a way that is easy to understand.
The best writers are the ones who know first-hand about the topics they discuss in their writing. Consequently, writers with a science background are always in high demand for scientific writing.
Writing opens up a world of opportunities including journalism and writing about science and science novelties for the general public, or technical writing and presenting science findings for patents and authority bodies.
Alternatively, if you love reading and writing, a science degree can help you get a job for a specialist publisher such as Bloomsbury Sigma or IOP, whether that be in production, editing or proof reading.
- Working in intellectual property law
If you are interested in the legal side of science, becoming a patent attorney could be an interesting option. Patent law is already a well-established career path for scientists, as companies recruiting trainee patent attorneys usually ask for a degree in science or another STEM subject. This is because to draft a patent, you need to understand the research and technology behind it.
- Turning to consultancy
Moving into consulting is another popular move for scientists looking for a more client-facing role.
Big consultancies such as BCG, Accenture and Deloitte will have a dedicated science department recruiting analytical candidates with science backgrounds, to head projects for clients in the science and clinical space. Alternatively, there are also opportunities at a number of specialist scientific consultancies like IQVIA and Alacrita.
- Working for a funding body
If working in an office seems more appealing than working in a lab, but you still want to stay up-to-date with the latest science news, then working in funding could be a great option. You might want to look at organisations such as Research Councils UK (for example, the BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC and the STFC) and major funding bodies like the Leverhulme Trust and the Wellcome Trust.
- Sales and marketing for Pharmaceutical companies
Why not explore different areas of the value chain, and look at jobs selling and promoting products, rather than creating them?
Being knowledgeable on the product you are selling is particularly useful when presenting products and answering client needs and questions. These jobs tend to be less about pure selling and more about becoming a product expert.
If you enjoy using your people skills, then specialist recruitment companies like CK Science are always looking for recruitment consultants with science backgrounds.
Good knowledge of the science world helps recruitment consultants not only understand the jobs they are recruiting for, but also understand which skills are needed and which types of candidates would be better placed in each role.
Science teachers at all levels are in high demand right now in the UK, as great initiatives are being taken to close the current STEM skill gap. So, if you have a passion for science and sharing your knowledge, teaching might be something to consider.
Thinking of trying out something new? At CK we offer a range of different jobs for experts with a science background. Why not have a look at our jobs here or get in touch for recommendations.