What are the Different Science Careers?

Ken Black

Science careers involve so many different fields and specialties, it would be difficult to list them all, but they do fall into some basic categories. There are three broad areas that will encompass many science careers: teaching, research, and practical application. Each of these three categories are somewhat dependent on one another. Further, many scientists may work in more than one of these broad areas, depending on what their careers call for.

Some science careers involve laboratory testing.
Some science careers involve laboratory testing.

Careers in science dealing with research involve discovering new things that build upon previously-established knowledge or principles. For example, if it is known that a certain drug is effective against viruses, some scientists may do research to fine tune that drug for specific viruses. Environmental science careers, such as the work of an ecologist, will often involve a great deal of research work as well. In some cases, a scientist working in the area of research may devote most of his or life to a single project.

A pharmacist is a scientist who mixes and dispenses medication.
A pharmacist is a scientist who mixes and dispenses medication.

Science careers that focus on practical application involve using scientific principles to produce immediate benefits. This could be seen in a computer science career, where the work done today could go into tomorrow's technology. Medical doctors are also a type of science career where practical application is very important. Without figuring out how to apply science to areas of health, there would be no effective healthcare. It is important for the doctor to understand how biological processes work, and how they may be affected by different treatments.

Science careers include categories such as teaching, research and practical application of findings.
Science careers include categories such as teaching, research and practical application of findings.

Educational opportunities in science encompass all fields. Science professors often instill the value of science as a way of personal enrichment and intellectual development. Those who are interested in science careers in education may not only spend time in the classroom, but in the practical application and research fields as well. The other advantage of this field is that there is often a shortage of teachers in many science areas. Therefore, those who want a career with prospects for steady employment would do well to consider the educational side of the equation.

Though many individuals involved in science careers may not be called scientists, that is exactly what they are, to one extent or another. A television weather forcaster is a type of scientist, who focuses on atmospheric conditions. A pharmacist is a scientist concerned more with chemistry and biology than anything else. No matter what science career is chosen, there are often many different types of jobs. Whether one is called a scientist or not, science still has a lot to do with many occupations.

Many scientists are employed as university professors.
Many scientists are employed as university professors.

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Discussion Comments


I love science. It's really fun and enjoyable. I've always been a keen learner and would love to do further studies in this area.


@Alchemy- A marine biologist is one of those life sciences careers that many young people aspire to be "when they grow up". Istria gave good advice. I just wanted to add a few more career options for marine biologists.

Marine biologists also work for private research institutions, NGOs, fisheries, consulting agencies and oil and gas companies. In some of these capacities, you may be working to preserve marine ecosystems rather than research marine life forms.


@Alchemy- You will probably be surprised to know that most marine biologists do not work with whales and dolphins. A majority of marine biologists work for the federal government and some state governments for their environmental protections agencies. You will also find that there is a lot of work for marine biologists in zoos and aquariums, especially if you have not finished your graduate studies yet. You may also find yourself looking for jobs in in marine biology at Universities once you have finished your graduate studies.

Regardless of where you would like to work, and with what type of life forms you want to work with, you should be sure to develop good communication skills. Advancement often depends on communication skills, as you will need to be able to write and win grants to continue research. You should also take as many math, computer, and science courses as possible. A certificate in computer sciences may be very helpful.


What career opportunities are there for marine biologists? I love the ocean, and I think it would be the perfect career for me. I have lived by the ocean for most of my life, and the creatures that lurk under the water have always fascinated me. I am getting ready to go to college and I think I might want to study marine biology. Can anyone give me any information on this field beyond studying whales and dolphins?

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