The many ways you
can use your Bachelor
of Science in the new
world of work
Which undergraduate degree will provide you with the
broadest career opportunities down the road?
t’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Bachelor of Science is the foundation
degree that provides students with the skills essential to a wide-ranging career in the
industries of the future. Sure, over a four-year program, a B.Sc student will focus on
developing applied knowledge in a particular technical field, but – regardless of whether
they major in math, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy or another science – there are
a myriad career options available to them upon entering the professional world.
Scientific progress is one essential
key to our security as a nation,
to our better health, to more jobs,
to a higher standard of living and
to our cultural progress.
A Bachelor of Science prepares graduates for more than just work in a lab – skills such
as critical thinking, strategic analysis and communication are in demand by all sorts of
employers across a range of industries. Government, academia, large corporations and
small industry all seek top talent with the structured and methodical approach to project
work that comes with an undergraduate science degree.
So, if you’re looking to carve out a career that not only taps into your knowledge,
but also complements your personal skills and interests, a Bachelor of Science may
just be the degree for you! In this e-book, we discuss the top growth employment
markets and the reasons they’re hot; the return on your education investment; why
the field of science needs women in its ranks; and the four steps for making it in a
interviewed by Adrianna Gardella
for the NY Times
The world needs STEM, and STEM needs workers
In our world, the innovators that drive economic growth
and competition are rewarded for their efforts
s our society continues to gather momentum in its race towards a more
efficient, cleaner, safer, brighter future, so too does the demand for
knowledge, skills and abilities in the fields of science, technology, engineering
and mathematics (STEM).
In this, the knowledge economy, STEM industries fuel the engines of growth and
productivity. In fact, the US Department of Labor predicts that STEM workers will be
responsible for more than 50% of our nation’s sustained economic expansion.1 Whether
they involve developing the sophisticated technology through which we communicate,
or forging medical advances in response to the aging population, or even finding ways
to conserve our planet, STEM jobs are critical to our national competitiveness – they are
the jobs of the future.
It follows, then, that STEM is one of the fastest-growing occupational categories in the
developed world with Scientist careers rewarding professionals with salaries ranging
from $56,100 to $95,740 per year on average.*
Depending on your major, the skills
you need to develop will vary. If you
are a Biochemist major, operating
scientific equipment, handing and
organizing information, practical
knowledge and biology theory and
statistical awareness are important.
Food Scientists on the other hand need
to possess analytical thinking skills,
mathematical aptitude, scientific
and mechanical abilities.
The five reoccurring critical
skills that all scientists need
to have to succeed are: oral and
written communication skills, critical
thinking, problem solving, technical
skills and team work.
Diane M. Barker,
Director, Center of Excellence –
Science, Kelly Services
US Department of Labor
global stem concentrations
As a percentage of employment, the following countries have the
highest share of Human Resources in science and technology (HRST):
The U.s. (ranked 12th)
Source: OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard
Out of the lab and into the world
A Bachelor of Science opens gateways you’d never expect.
cience is the ‘S’ in STEM. It constitutes 19% of the overall STEM employment
The top ten life, physical and social sciences occupations by employment
category, and of the industries that fall under the STEM umbrella, life and physical
are as follows:
sciences have the highest educated workforce. Nearly 40% of science workers
• Clinical Counseling/School Psychologists
hold a graduate degree, which is almost double the proportion in computer, math and
• Medical Scientists
• Environmental Scientists/Specialists, including Health
A Bachelor of Science degree provides graduates with the foundation for
• Biological Technicians
many career paths, including:
• Chemical Technicians
• industry-based jobs (biochemistry, forensics, pathology)
• Life, Physical and Social Science Technicians
• information jobs (patent attorneys, science journalists)
• Natural Sciences Managers
• broader health care industry-based jobs (health policy development, public
• Urban and Regional Planners
• biomedical research
• work in the medical industry
Firms in the Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Consulting industries rely heavily on
• work in the education and training industries
this scientific talent. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche and
• sales jobs
GlaxoSmithKline are in the business of innovation and will perpetually seek workers with
• work in non-science industries where a science degree/background is required
the right mix of skills and knowledge in order to remain competitive.
• entry into professional study (medicine, veterinarian science, dentistry)
Currently, the industries with the highest concentrations of science workers include:
• Scientific research and development services
• Government (Federal, State and Local)
• Colleges, universities and professional schools
A perfect time to get your foot in the door
There is more focus on jobs in science than ever before. Many of the highest
paying and fastest growing professions are found in these fields.
here are a great many rewards to be had for the most successful science
6. Physicists – There are many specializations within the field of physics, from the
professionals, but things can get competitive. The good news is that many of
philosophical to the practical, but all are concerned with the study of motion and
the highest paying and most rewarding careers in science are also the fastest
matter. The median salary is $105,430 and 14% job growth is expected by 2020 for
growing, so it could be the perfect time to get your foot in the door.
Top List of Careers in Science According to Projected Job Growth
This science career list is based on figures regarding projected growth, according to the
most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook report.
10. Materials Scientists – These scientist careers involve studying both natural and
synthetic materials, and how they are composed, in order to improve them or create
new materials. The median salary is $69,790 and 4% job growth is expected by 2020
for chemists and materials scientists.
9. Atmospheric Scientists – As an atmospheric scientist, you would be involved with
monitoring the atmosphere of the Earth and how it is behaving. The issue of global
warming is an area of focus in this field right now. The median salary is $87,780 and
11% job growth is expected by 2020 for meteorologists and atmospheric scientists.
8. Microbiologists – These scientists study the development of various microscopic
life forms and how they act together with their environment. The median salary for this
profession is $65,920 and 13% job growth is expected by 2020.
7. Astronomers – As you may know, astronomers study celestial bodies and spaces,
including planets, the sun, other stars and galaxies. The median salary is $105,430 and
14% job growth is expected by 2020 for both physicists and astronomers.
5. Hydrologists – As a hydrologist, you would be dedicated to studying rainfall and
bodies of water. The median salary is $75,690 and 18% job growth is expected by 2020.
4. Environmental Scientists – This is among the fastest growing jobs in science today.
The field of environmental science involves researching and helping to protect animals,
humans, plants and all natural resources. The median salary is $61,700 and 19% job
growth is expected by 2020.
3. Geoscientists – These types of scientists aim to understand the origins, characteristics
and evolution of the Earth. The median salary is $82,500 and 21% job growth is
expected by 2020.
2. Biophysicists/Biochemists – These scientists are concerned with how living organisms
are affected by physics and chemistry. The median salary is $79,390 and 31% job growth
is expected by 2020.
1. Medical Scientists – These jobs involve studying diseases and health in humans in
the effort to discover/develop new preventions, treatments and cures. The median
salary is $76,700 and 36% job growth is expected by 2020 – which is much higher
The payback on investing in a Bachelor of Science
The returns for your commitment to an undergrad degree in science are many.
s with the other STEM industries, science knowledge and qualifications
continue to top the list of the most sought-after skills from employers. STEM
degrees are generally known to show positive ‘return on investment’ to
employees for the effort and cost that’s required to achieve them.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the fastest-growing science careers are:
• Medical Scientists (Except Epidemiologists): 36.4% estimated growth rate
• Biochemists/Biophysicists: 30.8% estimated growth rate through 2020.
Graduates with chemistry majors who choose to work in that field, for example, will
enjoy low unemployment prospects (less than 2%) and a vast array of job opportunities
– and not just the expected vocations such as lab technicians or research assistants.
Industry employers also seek chemistry majors for positions such as technical writers,
sales representatives and even managers.
• Survey Researchers: 24.1% estimated growth through 2020.
• Environmental Science and Protection Technicians Including Health: 23.6% estimated
growth rate through 2020.
Of course, work in a number of these jobs will require post-graduate study; however a
Likewise, biology majors can choose from a wide range of technician jobs in research
Bachelor of Science will provide you with the necessary foundation to start out on these
and development, veterinary science, biotechnology or pharmacy. They can also look
and many other paths.
further afield and work as high school biology teachers, for example.
Why science needs women
Diversity is key to innovation and balanced decision-making.
ven though they represent almost half of the overall US workforce, women
Recently, the NSF introduced reforms around the administration of grants, with the aim
hold fewer than 25% of STEM jobs. They are well represented in some fields,
of increasing flexibility in the workplace and encouraging female science professionals to
including the life and physical science areas where they hold up to 40% of
remain in the field.
roles. For the most part, workers in science are male — and they’re also older. Almost
one-third of science workers (31.4%) are over the age of 55, compared to less than one-
Achieving a greater proportion of women in scientific fields is essential to narrowing
quarter (22.2%) of all other workers.
the impending skills gap in STEM, and also to exposing these industries to the benefits
of a more diverse workforce. Organizations know that diversity is key to innovation and
Women’s underrepresentation in STEM has nothing to do with their ability, interests
or skills. Instead, external factors such as culturally prescribed roles and stereotypes, a
lack of women in leadership/decision-making roles, and organizational constraints of
academia negatively impact the diversity of the science workforce. In short, these factors
often prevent women from choosing to pursue a career in a STEM field, and hamper
their advancement when they do.
4 tips for making it in a science career
1. Consider post-graduate education:
3. Work on your ‘people’ skills:
Some science jobs (such as a physicist, for example) require post-grad qualifications.
Generally, employers are seeking employees with the following soft skills:
If you’re considering pursuing further education in the hope of increasing your salary/
a. active listening
employment prospects, or standing out from the BSc crowd, it’s worth checking to
b. cooperation and teamwork
ensure you will realize a return on your investment—a Master’s does not necessarily
guarantee higher pay.
2. Create a network:
e. organization/attention to detail
f. written and oral communication
Become involved with professional organizations. A few you might consider include:
a. Association of Clinical Research Professionals
4. Stay up to date:
b. Drug Information Association
As the world of work has adapted to globalization and ongoing technological
c. The American Chemical Society (ACS)
innovation, to give yourself an edge in the science employment market, it’s worth
d. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
developing ‘emerging’ soft skills, such as:
e. Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
a. cross-cultural competency
f. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
b. new media literacy
c. emotional/social intelligence
d. trans-disciplinary skills
e. virtual collaboration
Next steps for female scientists:
How to use biomedical science degree:
Bachelor of Science Career Possibilities:
What kind of jobs can a biology major get?
What can you do with a Chemistry Degree?
Top paying science degree:
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