A scientific researcher is someone who conducts experiments or studies on topics that can have practical applications. For example, studying how metals work could help you design better products that are more effective. Studying biology can help you understand why some people get sick more often than others.
Scientific researchers also test theories about the natural world. Scientists study gravity, evolution, and psychology theory and practice. Some research areas focus specifically on disease prevention or cures.
Most importantly, scientists use rigorous logic and methodology in their investigations. They may collect large amounts of data using systematic approaches before making conclusions.
As with any profession, there are various routes to becoming a scientist. Depending upon your career goals and interests, you can choose to pursue doctoral degree programs, bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees, or non-degree courses such as conducting an experiment for a science class.
Finding employment as a new scientist depends heavily on your potential employers’ interest in your current project as well as your overall academic record, professional development activities, and references.
Narrow down your list of topics to one or two
As mentioned earlier, becoming a scientific researcher is very difficult because there are so many fields that researchers work in. Therefore, narrowing down your field can help you determine if this career path is right for you.
Most general education programs include some sort of science major, so considering opportunities in research within those departments might be an easy way to gauge whether or not they feel like your department of study.
Alternatively, you could look into conducting your own experiment as a student scientist or as a professional scientist. Both require strong reasoning and communication skills, but are not as rigorous as doing formal research.
Find a professor who would mentor you
As we mentioned before, being a scientist doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes years of preparation and hard work for someone to choose this career path. But there are ways to get your foot in the door as a researcher!
One of the best things you can do is find an experienced scientist that you look up to and ask if they have any openings. Or maybe you know some people in the field and see what positions are open or closed, so you send off a few emails asking about opportunities.
Either way, be clear with your intentions and stick to them from the start by thinking through the reasons why you are interested in becoming a scientific researcher.
You should also remember that not every academic position has funding, which could make it difficult to pursue this career path without additional income sources.
Overall, though, most scientists enjoy their jobs and contribute to academia and research beyond the paycheck. They connect more with other researchers than anything else due to common interests.
Write down your wish list of research locations
As you can see from our scientific researcher career path, there are really several ways to become a scientist. You do not have to be an under-graduate or graduate student at a university to work in the science field. Even if you don’t have a degree yet, it is totally possible to pursue a career as a scientist!
There are many different types of careers that fit into the broad category of “scientist.” For example, physician scientists study how diseases spread through interacting with both biological systems and environmental factors. Epidemiologists investigate disease patterns and causes to help develop strategies for preventing illness and improving health.
And just like any other profession, the more education you have beyond a college degree, the higher up the ladder you will climb. Scientists who are at the highest level have advanced degrees such as master’s or doctoral degrees. These experts make significant contributions to their fields by doing original research and publishing it (giving credit to others’ work).
Writing a paper or dissertation usefully applies knowledge across various disciplines, so having some formal training is important too.
Pick a few locations and start applying for jobs
Starting your career as a scientific researcher is not like starting any other profession. There are no formal educational programs that prepare you to be a scientist, so what kind of preparation you have beyond a basic degree really matters.
However, there are some things all scientists share in common: they’re passionate about science, they’re organized, and they’re able to communicate effectively.
If you can develop these skills, then chances are good that you’ll find a job as a young professional scientist or as an experienced one.
Find a lab that you would like to work in
As with any career, there are different levels of scientific researcher. There is an executive level position, next is associate, then staff scientist, and finally research professor or principal investigator (PI).
The PI is the most experienced person at your field within the laboratory they work in. You can also be a member of a study team where you contribute data or resources while another individual leads the project.
There are many ways to become a junior level position such as assistant, graduate student, or postdoctoral fellow. Each of these positions requires you have enough experience for the job so do not rush into one if you are not sure about it!
Research universities offer several programs and courses designed to get students ready to apply for their professional degree. Many of these focus on giving you academic knowledge but what people look for in employment is practical skills.
These include things such as working with others, time management, organization, and communication. All of these are important when looking for jobs and being successful at meeting deadlines and keeping projects organized.
Talk to coworkers in the lab about working there
In addition to doing research that makes sense to you, being a scientist means having a passion for science. If this doesn’t sound like you, then don’t worry! There are many different ways to become a scientific researcher.
One way is to become an engineering student. These students take courses in things such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and economics to prepare them to work in fields such as medicine or aerospace.
But before you start studying those hard sciences, try becoming a biologist first! Bacteria, plants, and animals make up almost half of all living organisms so there’s definitely a need for people who know how to study them.
And while engineers get to design cool gadgets, biologists get to explore the inner workings of life by looking at it through a lens called “scientific theory.”
So what kind of theories do scientists use to explain the world around us? For example, Isaac Newton discovered his version of gravity with his Third Law of Motion. Karl Popper developed his ideas about falsifiability (or able to be refuted) from Friedrich Nietzsche.
These two concepts have played a big part in shaping our current understanding of science.
Check for biosafety violations
A growing field of scientific research is looking into how infectious diseases are transmitted from one organism to another. This area is called biomaterial transmission or bioterrorism studies.
Research in this area typically looks at how easily pathogens can be spread through contaminated biological materials, such as saliva, blood, stool, or other bodily fluids.
Scientists look at these materials under a lite using high-powered microscopes and test kits that detect specific markers (determinants) of disease agents. If they find a marker, then they know there is an infection present and can do some math to determine how likely it was caused by a particular pathogen.
Make sure the location has the proper certification
Recent graduates with no professional experience may be tempted to try their hand at becoming a scientific researcher by working as an assistant professor or associate professor in a university.
This is a very popular way to become a scientist, but it can also be one of the most frustrating routes. Almost every position requires that you have advanced degrees- either PhDs or MA/MS levels. Even when they do not, many academic positions require several years of relevant work experience which these recent grads often lack.
The other problem is that even if there are openings for inexperienced researchers, there are usually only a few thousand candidates for each position. This means that unless you are highly motivated and dedicated, your chance will likely be limited too.
There are ways around all three of these problems, however. For instance, you can always start off doing unpaid research projects while seeking out more experienced colleagues who might want help from you.