Career Guides for Scientists

With a higher science degree under your belt, there are a diversity of options available to you. You can stay in academia and work towards a professorship, switch to industry, apply your skills to nonprofit research, teach at the primary level or become a science lobbyist, activist or motivator. The route you take will depend on your personality type, your larger life goals, and your desire for a life work balance. The resources provided here will take you through these decisions and will help you along your way.


  1. Getting an Academic Job
    As professor of computer science and engineering, Michael Ernst, says in the introduction to this article, there is a vast amount of advice available online for landing an academic job in the sciences. In this constantly updated document, Ernst links to a number of the best resources to help you with everything from preparation through to the interview. He offers his own advice as well, making this resource especially relevant to those job hunting in the fields of math and science.
  2. The Next Level: Life After a Postdoc
    Moving into industry can be a lucrative and satisfying career choice. However, the stresses are numerous, pressure to make a breakthrough is high, and you will definitely need to make a mentality shift as you transition outside of the academic workplace. This presentation by Julie E. Tetzlaff, a former neuroscience postdoc who made the transition into industry herself, will take you through qualities to seek in an employer, where and how to look, the application and interview process, and top tips from the people who actually do the hiring.
  3. The National Academies: Career Guide
    The National Academies consist of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. This exhaustive list of science job resources covers every aspect of career planning, from researching in biomedical, behavioral and clinical labs to what you should expect as a woman in science. This is a great place both to begin your research and deepen it.
  4. Putting Your Science to Work: Practical Career Strategies for Scientists and Engineers
    This 36-page workshop created by leading scientist, Peter Fiske, starts by listing the skills acquired through a science degree and mapping them directly to skills that apply to job titles outside of academia. This concrete and actionable strategy permeates the entire presentation, from self-assessments to tips on networking, funding, securing publications and oh so much more. There are even essays from other seasoned scientists in the field, creating an expert compendium of advice. A must-read.
  5. Career Paths for PhD Graduates
    "What can I do with a PhD?" It's a question many graduating scientists ask, and one the Association of American Medical College answers in this resource guide for those within the biomedical field. This is a comprehensive list, broken up into academic institutions, government agencies, mass communication organizations, consulting firms, and philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Links are provided to job resources within each of these categories.