Employment opportunities abound for science majors


Employment opportunities abound for science majors

While some students go into undergraduate and graduate school with the thought that a science-related degree is a fairly one-track program, the truth is there are dozens of opportunities for people with science backgrounds.

Whether it is in biological, computer, clinical or milling sciences, there are jobs available that are far from the traditional scientist in a white lab coat, according to the Kansas State Career Center.

For example, milling science graduates, who study chemistry, management and operations, have seen great success in positions such as plant managers, plant engineers and plant superintendents. Graduates can also work in research and development departments, quality control and technical sales. Others have even gone on to pursue purchasing, risk management, marketing, sales and commodities trading.

More specifically, milling science majors can become new product researchers in the agricultural and food science industries, where they work to ensure agricultural productivity and safety, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students who receive degrees in biological sciences also view their career path as relatively narrow, but even this focus can lead to several different job opportunities. According to Rutgers Career Services, biological science majors can also find positions in management or administration, where they plan programs for food and drug testing, or manage a botanical garden.

The university provides an extensive list of some of the most common career choices for biological science majors, which includes food and drug inspector, medical illustrator, patent specialist, pharmaceutical sales representative, technical writer, environmental health educator and numerous others. Some of the most common employers that hire biological science graduates include environmental consulting firms, fisheries, scientific journals, food manufacturers and public utilities.

Even graduates of clinical laboratory science - perhaps the field that most vividly conjures up images of lab coats and clean rooms - have strong job prospects upon graduation. Many people with this background have gone on to become cell culture consultants, environmental health specialists, proficiency test consultants and science program directors.  These jobs are often found in hospitals, health clinics, research centers and sometimes in government.

According to the BLS, as of 2011, about 1.08 million people worked in the life, physical, and social sciences industries. Scientific research and development services employed the most science graduates, following closely by the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing sector. The paint, coating and adhesive manufacturing industries came in third.