Author: Tara Smylie
When you think about what it means to be employed in STEM, do you think of syringes, microscopes, and lab coats? If so, you’re not alone! In reality, however, lab jobs are just one path you can take as a life science graduate.
Within STEM and biopharma, there are many hidden-gem positions that simply don’t get as much attention as they should. If you have an interest in science but also enjoy analysis, management, or communications, there is no shortage of exciting and non-traditional job prospects out there for you to explore.
STEM and Business
Not all STEM positions are primarily scientific. Most will require at least a foundational understanding of STEM concepts, but some also call for a strong big-picture grasp of business operations.
As such, if you possess both a science background and a keen understanding of economics, markets, and/or human behavior, you’re in luck. Job-seekers with passions for both science and business can consider the following options:
- Medical science liaison: this position requires both people skills and a knack for clearly communicating important information. The main duty associated with this role is the provision of medical product information to key players in the pharma and life science industries.
- Life science recruiter: if you have a strong network and enjoy the thrill of the chase, this position may be for you. Recruiters in the life sciences have the chance to make new connections across many different fields, and to gain an insider perspective on the back-end of science-based business operations.
- Biopharmaceutical sales rep: if you have an advanced science degree, a go-getter attitude, and are a self-professed “people person”, you may find a perfect match in this position. The earning potential is very high, and for the right fit, the work environment can be exhilarating.
STEM and Communications
Any job in scientific communications will require both a keen analytical mind and the ability to articulate high-level concepts. If you’ve cultivated that elusive blend of “soft” communications skills and “harder” data and research skills, this may be the niche you’ve been searching for.
If you’re interested in finding a job in this field, here are some positions to keep on your radar:
- Technical/Medical Writer: If you feel comfortable communicating scientific concepts to wide audiences, consider looking into medical or technical writing as a career. Some science writers work on a freelance basis, while others are employed by corporations.
- Science Journalist: science journalism is similar to technical writing, but potentially broader in scope. A scientific journalist produces copy for not only scientific media but also blogs, websites, newspapers, etc.
- Scientific Instructional Designer: this position is ideal for anyone with a teaching background as well as a scientific mind. Instructional design is a growing field, with many roles currently available at life science/biotech companies.
Another path less travelled: health informatics
When it comes to lab-coat-free science positions, health informatics jobs are just about as good as it gets. For one thing, they tend to pay well. And for another, the work they involve usually proves to be both stable and stimulating – the perfect combo. Positions in this field tend to involve management, advising, communicating, and/or analysis. If you possess one or more of these skills, consider that HI could make for a very fulfilling career path.
Here are just a few health informatics jobs available today:
- Clinical Informatics Analyst: this position is all about the data. It involves compiling and analyzing health information, and using that analysis to make policy and workflow changes within an organization.
- Health Information Technology Project Manager: think regular project manager, but with a little added expertise. For an employee in this role, projects often center on the implementation of new technology and the optimization of existing workflows.
- Health Informatics Consultant: often contracted for on a per-project basis, an employee in this role advises a healthcare organization on health-informatics-related challenges, questions, and initiatives. Because of its broad scope, the nature of this position can vary greatly from client to client.
Look before you leap (into a career)
Depending on your skill set and personality, a lab position may be ideal for you. But no matter where you end up, you’ll never regret having explored your options. Remember: modern career paths are not always linear! What you learn now could come in handy years down the line.
Whether you’re looking for a medical writing position, a senior lab job, or just for some career guidance, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you get where you want to go.
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- Top 11 Alternative Careers for Biotechnology & Life Science Graduates
- 12 Careers for PhD Life Scientists Outside of the Lab
- Instructional design helps you create classes, trainings, and apps that people actually learn from.
- 6 Top Careers in Healthcare Informatics