Alternate Careers for Life Scientists


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Traditional academic and industrial life sciences positions are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. This presentation outlines and highlights some alternate career opportunities for scientist who want to pursue non-laboratory research career paths. Learn about opportunities in medical communications, health informatics, management consulting and other careers that PhD-level scientists are qualified for!

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Alternate Careers for Life Scientists

  1. 1. Alternate Careers: Taking the Road Less Traveled Clifford S. Mintz, Ph.D. 04/18/09 1
  2. 2. The Mintz Career Pathway Cornell University (B.S.) University of Wisconsin (Ph.D.) OHSU & Columbia University (Postdocs) University of Miami School of Medicine (Asst. Professor) Transcell Technologies (Project Leader) Middlesex County College (Chair, Biology Dept.) Management Consultant Entrepreneur BioJobBlog BioCrowd Prolong Pharmaceuticals 04/18/09 2
  3. 3. Current Job Market for Life Scientists • Close to 100,000 pharmaceutical employees have lost their jobs since 2007 • Many biotechnology companies have less than 6 months of cash on hand to sustain operations • Academic jobs remain few and far between • Some government agencies like FDA, USDA and CDC are hiring • Many medical devices and diagnostic companies are hiring 04/18/09 3
  4. 4. What Can a Person With a Ph.D. Do? • Think logically and deductively • Solve problems • Work in research laboratory settings • Function as a subject area content expert • Teach? 04/18/09 4
  5. 5. Traditional Job Opportunities for Ph.D.s • Tenure track positions at academic institutions, e.g., research universities, research institutes, medical schools, etc. • Research positions at biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies • Research/administrative positions at government agencies, e.g., NIH, FDA, USDA 04/18/09 5
  6. 6. Alternate Career Options • Teach at a liberal arts college, technical or community college, high school, etc. • Engage in entrepreneurial activities • Become a lawyer • Go to medical /dental/nursing school • Get an MBA • Wall Street analyst/venture capital firms 04/18/09 6
  7. 7. Alternate Career Options (cont’d) • Medical communications • Management consulting • Health informatics, Science Policy, Epidemiology • Sales rep/Medical Science Liaison (MSL) • Not-for-profits • Trade or technical school • Collect unemployment checks/live with parents 04/18/09 7
  8. 8. Parting Messages • Nobody guaranteed you a job after you received your Ph.D. or trained as a postdoctoral fellow • Life is not easy nor fair • Be diligent, work hard and don’t give up • Follow your dreams • Create you own career path; there is no right or wrong way! 04/18/09 8