If you’re looking at science careers, but don’t fancy being stuck in a lab, read on. There are plenty of alternative science jobs where you don’t have to wear a white coat.
Many students don’t realise the scope of career pathways that a degree or a-level in science offers – we’re here to change that. From communications to the courtroom, we’re shining a light on some of the less well-known science careers.
You could use the knowledge gained from a science degree to work for a publisher who specialises in science.
This publishing specialism involves the production of books, journals, textbooks, and revision guides, related to science. The leading UK publishers in this field are:
- Bloomsbury Sigma
- Springer Nature
- Taylor and Francis
There are various jobs available, including proofreading, editing, and production. In terms of qualifications required, some employers may accept an undergraduate degree in a science subject, but the industry is competitive so it’s best to obtain a postgraduate qualification in publishing to help you stand out.
Beyond qualifications, you’ll need to demonstrate your experience and commitment to the industry, so try writing for university newspapers, starting your own science blog, or even interning at a scientific publisher.
Intellectual property and patent law
Patent examiners usually work for the Intellectual Property Office. They use their scientific, technical, and legal skills to assess applications for patents, which give successful applicants the right to stop other people using, selling, or making their inventions. Training takes place on the job, so you don’t need a law qualification to enter the field, but you will need 2:2 degree or above in a relevant science, engineering, mathematics, or computer science subject.
Meanwhile, Patent attorneys assess whether inventions are sufficiently new and innovative to be eligible for a patent. Applicants usually require a degree in a science, engineering, technical or mathematics-based subject. Once employed, you will undertake further studies and exams to earn entry to the UK register of Patent Attorneys.
Science communications involves explaining and presenting scientific knowledge and information to non-experts in a way they can understand.
The work may involve
- Presenting research findings to politicians,
- Working as a science writer or journalist to relay science news to the public via media outlets.
- Visiting educational settings to promote science-related subjects and activities.
- Working in museums and research settings to explain scientific concepts to visitors.
- Some science graduates even pursue career in public relations!
To enter this field, you’ll need a science degree at 2:2 or above, and employers may ask for a postgraduate or industry qualification in communications, but the best way to get ahead of the crowd is to develop industry contacts and gain relevant work experience. The latter could include writing for university publications, organising events, or volunteering at science museums.
Careers in this area require you to draw on your scientific knowledge and understanding to inform and assist policy formulation. The work could involve identifying and analysing policy issues, collecting information on scientific issues, drafting reports, and writing briefing papers. Jobs are available in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and employers may include charities, governmental departments, trade associations, public sector bodies, and professional bodies (e.g., The Royal Society of Chemistry)
It’s a competitive area, and jobs can be hard to come by, so you’ll certainly need a postgraduate qualification in politics, social politics, or policy studies as well as your BSC.
Finally, there’s teaching. Science and maths graduates are in huge demand at every level of education, from primary and secondary schools to higher education. If you’d like to help inspire the next generation of scientists, it could be the career for you. If you’d like to share your passion for science with future generations, you should consider teaching in schools, colleges, or universities.
You’ll need a teaching qualification to enter the profession, and there are several training routes, so it should be easy to find one that works for you. Some courses and programmes will even offer bursaries for graduates who train to teach a STEM subject.
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