Do you have a child that loves science? Does he love to learn about plants, animals, electricity, molecules, and even blow things up? There are a lot of exciting careers in the science field other than than the traditional ones we all think of. Many of these are in great demand with a positive outlook for the future and offer a sizable salary.
Careers in the Science Field
If your child seems to be leaning in that direction as a possible career, you may want to check out a few of these options. There may be something he hasn’t heard of and perhaps this will spark some interest. When I say he, I am by no means excluding the girls. The push for girls to become involved in science is greater than ever and has opened up a lot of opportunities!
I have made a point to include some occupations that don’t require years and years of schooling and a Ph.D. for the who are not interested in going beyond an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
1. Geotech (Geological Technicians)
Our world depends on oil and gas for things like heating our homes, fuel for vehicles, and running equipment. A geotech is the person who is out there discovering and acquiring these natural resources from new areas. This would be great for the child who likes to think outside the box and it very hands-on.
The great thing about this job is that some companies will hire individuals with just a high school diploma; however, many would prefer the candidate to have an associate’s degree in geology or chemistry. The demand for this job is expected to grow by 16 percent through 2026, and the average salary is $54,000. Not too shabby for a high school diploma or associate’s degree!
This person is the one most expecting parents can’t wait to see. A diagnostic medical sonographer gets to determine if they are having a boy or a girl. While this is a fun part of the job, there are more serious reasons a sonographer needs to be seen. They help diagnose many medical issues through images taken of the tissues and organs in the body. There are a quite a few areas a sonographer can specialize in. The list includes musculoskeletal, breast, abdominal, and neurosonographer.
A sonographer must be skilled and perform his job well in order to get an accurate diagnosis. This is often the first test recommended because it is less invasive and more cost effective. Because this is usually the first test run, it’s important to point out the sonographer needs to be empathetic and have good bedside manners since these patients will most likely be nervous. If you have child who is a natural nurturer and likes to care for others, this may interest him.
The demand for this job is expected to increase 23 percent by the year 2026. The average salary is $69,000. To get started in this occupation, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in sonography is required. However, if someone is already a health professional, he may only need to complete a one-year program for a certificate.
3. Veterinary Technician
This is a great one for the animal lover in your family. A vet tech can pretty much do anything a veterinarian can do other than prescribe medications, make a diagnosis, and perform surgery. They are qualified to assist during surgery, perform nursing duties, run lab work, and many other services.
While there is the fun of playing with puppies and kittens, there is also a side to this job that’s not so pretty. Cleaning up after animals when they have accidents comes with the territory but most likely something they are willing to do it if they love animals.
The demand for this career is predicted to rise 18 percent in the next 10 years. The average salary is $32,000 with a requirement of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology.
4. Forensic Scientist and Crime Scene Investigator
If you have seen any shows on television about crime investigations, then you are most likely familiar with what a forensic scientist or crime scene investigator does. Their job is to collect and examine evidence found at the scene of a crime in order to prove what happened and who was involved. Courts heavily rely on this type of evidence to prove or disprove someone’s innocence. Because technology continues to evolve and plays a large part in this field, this is a growing career to consider.
A bachelor’s degree in forensic science is just a starting point because it only allows someone to do general work. Going on to get a master’s degree allows for a specialization in toxicology, ballistics, forensic engineering, or multimedia and digital sciences. In addition to that course work, there are opportunities to do lab work for more hands-on learning. Some fields will require an additional doctorate degree. This occupation has been exploding and is expected to continue to grow by 27 percent through 2024. The average salary is $55,000 but can vary by field.
5. Botanist and Forester
Perhaps you have a child who just loves the outdoors and would not want to be confined inside four walls. Both a forester and botanist spend a lot of time outside focusing on plants and trees. The forester manages and conserves forests and parks, while the botanist learns about the different kinds of plants to categorize and protect them.
Only an associate’s degree is needed to become a forest and conservation technician, but a bachelor’s degree is required to become a forester. The general rule is if more physical work is required, the less education that will be needed and in place of that will be more on the job training. The future isn’t as booming for this field as others, but it is still expected to grow by about 6 percent and the average salary ranges between $35,000- $60,000.
A bachelor’s degree related to botany is required to get an entry-level position as a botanist, but many go on to get a master’s or doctoral degree. A botanist’s salary can range from $60,000- $100,000 and there is an expected growth of up to 14 percent by the year 2022.
Having lab work done is a huge part of medicine. When a doctor orders any test to be done, a pathologist (who is also a physician) is the person who interprets the results and determines a diagnosis. They are also responsible for keeping track of the blood supply at a hospital and whether it is safe for patients. In some cases, a pathologist can be part of an autopsy determining an unknown cause of death as part of forensic evidence. For those aspiring to become a doctor, this is another angle of medicine to explore.
A minimum of three years of undergraduate study is usually required before a student can enter medical school. However, most get a bachelor’s degree. After completing medical school, a four-year residency is required and if entering a specialization, a fellowship of one to two years will follow. The projected growth of this career is 14 percent through 2024 and the average annual salary is around $192,000.
7. Agriculture and Food Scientist
To be an agriculture and food scientist, your child had better like to do research and experiments. This person’s job is to understand and improve our food supply and make sure it is safe. He also deals with farm animals that provide food for us as well. Because of the broad amount of information that must be researched, there are three different areas one can specialize in. They are animal scientists, food scientists and technologists, and soil and plant scientists.
Developing new food products and enhancing how they are packaged are some of the responsibilities. In addition, they must analyze the soil and how it affects the growth of plants. An interesting but critical function is discovering outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli.
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college is a minimum requirement for this job, but many go on to get a higher degree. There is at least one college in every state that has an agricultural science degree program. The average yearly salary for this job is $69,000 but of course it can vary depending on the field of specialization.
8. Atmospheric Scientist and Meteorologist
Atmospheric scientists and meteorologists study the weather and climate, as well as the Earth’s atmosphere, which is used to forecast the weather. Most times this job is done indoors in an office, lab, or weather station. However, there can be instances where going out in the elements to observe the weather is necessary. Some of those times may be situations like hurricanes and other weather emergencies. If your child loves everything about the weather and is very interested in how it works, this may be a great choice!
A bachelor’s of science degree in meteorology or atmospheric science is required. If you are interested in the research part, usually a master’s degree or Ph.D. is necessary. Meteorologists and atmospheric scientists are paid on average around $92,000 a year. The demand for this occupation is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026.
9. Oceanography and Marine Biology
Because two-thirds of the earth’s surface is made up of water, there is a lot to study! Oceanographers have the job of studying the sea itself, while marine biologists observe and examine what lives underwater. Either of these two fields has a variety of careers to choose from. Their knowledge can be used as a public or private researcher, aquarium curator, education specialist, science writer, or even Congressional aide. These two jobs have so many different opportunities to find something that interests your child.
Depending on what is chosen, the education requirement ranges from a bachelor’s degree to very specialized master’s and/or doctorate degrees. Even some education in chemistry, physics, and mathematics can be helpful as well. Because there is such a wide range, the average salary can vary from around $37,000 to $90,000. The growth rate is expected to be around four percent by 2024.
10. Animal Scientist
The career of an animal scientist can vary depending on the area he is involved in. Opportunities are available in education, production, research, or regulation. The education and research positions are meant to teach others, as well as do research and studies in the area of animal science.
A person involved in regulations will do inspections of farms, feedlots, and dairies to make sure they are running properly and following the health guidelines and treatment laws. Those who work in production can develop techniques to increase the production of eggs, milk, and meat. They are also responsible for managing the herd.
This job is expected to grow by 13 percent by 2024. The average salary is $61,000 with a bachelor’s degree but those with higher degrees will be paid more.
11. Health, Medical, and Scientific Writer
With the internet at our disposal to learn about anything, good writers are in demand. Some of the most researched topics include medicine, health, and science and because of this, these types of writers are among the top paid. If you have a child who loves to write and also has a passion for any of these subjects, this may be a great field to pursue.
There are several ways to become one of these writers. A journalism degree is generally the requirement to get started, but many medical writers go on for a master’s or doctorate degree in science or health-related fields. The average salary is about $80,000 annually, but higher for those who have advanced degrees. Because the demand by both the general public seeking information and medical professionals looking for continuing education continues to increase, the job market is expected to be strong throughout the future.
Epidemiologists are scientists who have the critical job of studying diseases within certain populations of people. Their job is to study and determine why an outbreak occurs and the best way to treat and prevent it from happening again in the future. This is another occupation for a child who loves to discover things but also has a strong desire to help others.
Most epidemiologists get a master’s degree in public health and then specialize in epidemiology; however, it is also possible to have a master’s degree and specialization in different areas. The average salary is around $66,000 and because the health industry is booming, this job is expected to rise around 10 percent by 2022.
Here is a video describing a few more ideas for science careers.
There are so many exciting careers in the science field there is sure to be something that intrigues your science lover. Encourage your student to learn more about these different jobs by reading books, watching videos, and taking field trips. Many of these are so fascinating the trick will be narrowing it down to just one to pursue!
It’s important to take strengths, weaknesses, and personality into consideration when choosing a career. Be sure to read my article on career planning. I have also created some Career Exploration Worksheets to guide your student through the step-by-step process of figuring out the best types of jobs he would be suited for.
Do you have a child who loves science and can see him/her being excited about one of these fields? Also, if you know of some other great careers in science, let me know in the comments below.