• The Who, What, Where of Careers: Government

    What does this person do? 

    • Research: Read literature, identify gaps, develop hypotheses, conduct protocols to test hypotheses, analyze data, and present major findings
    • Science Writing: write content for a lay audience; present it online in forms of articles, videos, podcasts and hard-copy pamphlets and magazines  
    • Program Officer: collect incoming grants/applications, organize reviewers based on expertise to assess the grants/applications, and find large areas in science that need to be funded and researched to advance society
    • Regulatory Affairs: review and approve new drug/medical device applications for clinical studies and marketing purposes

    Where does this person work?  

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    Education and Experience Requirements:

    Position

    Education & Experience

    Lab Technician

    • Associate’s, BS, or MS in science related fields 
    • Some research experience

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    • PhD in science related fields

    Research Scientists

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields
    • Postdoc experience

    Science Writer

    • BS, MS, or PhD in science related fields
    • Experience varies

    Grant Administration/Program Officer

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields 
    • Some administrative experience

    Regulatory Affairs

    • MS, MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields
    • Experience that complements education

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • Unlike academia, there is no teaching, you do research or manage a team that does research
    • Do you like the administrative duties of scheduling, organizing, and leading meetings?
    • There is a lot more paperwork in government to ensure that rules and regulations are followed, can you handle that?

    Other information:

    • If you work at the FDA, you spend 50% of your time doing research and the other 50% doing regulatory work, i.e. reviewing applications.
    • Grant writing is optional, you can write grants so that you can obtain funding to do the research of your choice. Otherwise, if your research is funded by the government, you may be assigned projects by department heads.
    Article Count:
    5
  • The Who, What, Where of Careers: Academia

    What does this person do? 

    • Teach classes to undergraduate and graduate students
    • Write grants to obtain money for labs or training programs
    • Read literature, identify gaps, develop hypotheses, conduct protocols to test hypotheses, analyze data, and present major findings
    • Manage a budget and people in the lab  
    • Sits on committees pertaining to graduate recruitment, curriculum, and training 

    Where does this person work?  

    • Community College
    • Primarily Undergraduate Universities
    • Research Intensive Universities
    • Private and Public Universities

    Education and Experience Requirements:

    Position

    Education & Experience

    Lab Technician

    • BS in science related fields
    • Undergrad research experience

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields

    Research Scientist

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields  
    • 5 years of postdoc experience

    Tenure Professorship

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in science related fields
    • Postdoc or research scientist experience

    Instructor

    • PhD in science related fields
    • BS in science related fields for community college positions
    • Experience varies by college/university

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • How much do you like teaching?
    • Do you like writing grants? Managing a budget?
    • Do you thrive on conducting research? Or coming up with ideas?

    Other information:

    • Teaching and research loads will vary depending on the type of college/university. At community colleges, teaching is the only activity, there is no research.  
    • With a MD or MD/PhD, a person can spend time doing research, teaching, or seeing patients in the clinic – the amount spent on these tasks differ on the job description. 
    Article Count:
    14
  • The Who, What, Where of Careers: Clinical Microbiology

    What does this person do? 

    • Recommend methods for obtaining and transporting clinical specimens that would be most helpful in diagnosing infectious diseases.
    • Isolate and identify bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic agents that are likely to be contributing to infectious processes.
    • Determine the susceptibility of microorganisms to various antimicrobial agents that could be used to treat infections caused by the microorganisms.
    • Report results to healthcare providers caring for patients in a clear, concise and clinically relevant manner.
    • Work with healthcare teams, including public health officials, to improve processes to diagnose and control infectious diseases with a strong emphasis on effective communication at all levels.
    • Work with pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to develop new and improved technologies to confront emerging infectious diseases

    Where does this person work?  

    • Hospital Laboratories
    • Commercial and Reference Laboratories (where more complex lab tests are often performed)
    • Federal and State Government Laboratories
    • State and Local Public Health Laboratories
    • Universities and Medical Schools
    • Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic Instrument Companies

    Where is the greatest need for clinical microbiologists?

     

    • Develop new tests to identify emerging infectious diseases that are rapid, clinically relevant and cost effective.
    • Identify innovative ways to assess the activity of antimicrobial agents against microorganisms that are most predictive of therapeutic outcomes.
    • Provide guidance to computer programmers to develop information technology that can best serve clinicians when ordering tests, reviewing test results and integrating test results with each patients electronic medical record.
    • Work with healthcare teams to better control transmission of infectious diseases within healthcare settings and in communities in the USA and beyond.

    Education and Experience Requirements:

     

    Position

    Education & Experience

    Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)

    • Associate’s Degree
    • Completion of an accredited MLT program
    • ASCP certification (optional)

    Medical Technologist (MT)

    Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS)

    Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS)

    • BS in the biology/health-related sciences
    • Completion of an accredited MT program
    • ASCP certification (optional)

    Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Director

    • MD, PhD, or MD/PhD in Microbiology/Molecular Biology
    • Postdoc through ASM’s CPEP training (optional but desirable), Informal training for 3 years in a clinical microbiology lab, or MD Clinical Microbiology Postgraduate Fellowship
    • ABMM or American Board of Pathology-Medical Microbiology certification (optional)

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • Do you want to work in a healthcare environment?
    • Are you interested in helping to determine what makes people sick?
    • Are you willing to at times work or be available to work weekends, evenings, and holidays?
    • Are you organized and able to multitask in a high workload environment?
    • Can you translate the hard science to both doctors and patients, so they can understand what is happening?

    Other information:

    • You do more bench work as a MLT, MT, MLS, and CLS – as in testing samples, analyzing results, writing reports.
    • When you become director of a clinical microbiology lab, you are handling the team, budget, and legal responsibilities; advise clinicians on test interpretation; select test methods. 

     

    Article Count:
    4
  • The Who, What, Where of Careers: Public Health

    What does this person do? 

    • Learn about how a disease spreads and its genetic backbone
    • Track and eliminate a disease
    • Identify causative agents in objects like mail, food, and in facilities
    • Test for toxic chemicals in the environment
    • Develop effective ways to detect pathogens rapidly
    • Inspect facilities and restaurants at the state level
    • Ensure proper safety of buildings and labs where research on low-risk and high-risk organisms take place  

    Where does this person work?   

    • Federal and State Government Laboratories
    • State and Local Public Health Laboratories

    Education and Experience Requirements:

    • The degree levels in biology reflects the hierarchy in public health:
    1. Entry level scientist positions require BS or MS in science related fields, or a MPH,  and a few years of lab experience
    2. Director level type positions require previous leadership experiences – some have a PhD and others have a MS  

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • You need to know a little bit about every disease and then become an expert when a disease arises.
    • The work load becomes high and fast paced during times of an outbreak and emergencies.
    • The salaries are low since it’s regulated by the government.
    Article Count:
    2
  • The Who, What, Where of Careers: Science Outreach

    What does this person do? 

    • Organize activities that promote communication and training of science students
    • Conduct need base assessments from the serving population
    • Initiate new programs to cover gaps in communication and training
    • Lobby/search for money to fund programs
    • Create relationships with potential volunteers/vendors to assist in programs
    • Promote and market programs

    Where does this person work?   

    • Nonprofit agencies
    • Universities and colleges

    Education and Experience Requirements:

    • The degrees and experience for this position varies:
    1. Positions focused on science communication require a BS, MS, or PhD in science and either journalism experience or degree
    2. Positions focused on training of science students require a BS, MS, or PhD in science, higher education, or career advising
    3. Director level positions require a BS, MS, or PhD with many years of relevant experience

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • Do you like traveling and meeting people? At nonprofits, you attend conferences to recruit volunteers for programs and promote your activities.
    • The work you do stands behind the company’s name, not yours, i.e., there is no publishing.
    Article Count:
    2
  • The Who, What, Where of Careers: Industrial Microbiology

    What does this person do? 

    • Food production: understand and develop the standards of the inoculum in food production, like yogurt, beer, or wine
    • Bioremediation: clean up waste or toxic chemicals with organisms
    • Wastewater management: study the wastewater systems to understand optimum conditions to prevent bacterial growth
    • Microbial control: evaluate existing microbial control techniques & create new products/methods
    • Fermentation and Cell Culture: optimize the conditions and machines used to grow organisms and cells in large quantities during product development
    • Metabolic Engineering: create tools to increase the expression of natural and synthetic products
    • Biotechnology: develop large molecular tools, like reagents and instruments
    • Pharmaceutical: develop novel small molecule drugs and medical devices

    Where does this person work?   

    • Biotechnology companies
    • Pharmaceutical companies
    • Food manufacturing/production companies
    • Skin care product development/manufacturing companies
    • Contracting companies that offer specific services

    Education and Experience Requirements:

    • Varies based on positions:
      • Most research and project manager positions require a PhD with relevant industry experience
      • Research on the preclinical and clinical studies require a PhD or MD with relevant industry experience
      • For sales and marketing positions, companies favor science undergraduate degrees and a MBA, some have advanced degrees   
      • Any positions in regulatory affairs favors science undergraduate degrees, some have advanced degrees
      • For quality assurance and control, you need a science undergraduate degree, some have advanced degrees

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • Do you like to explore projects or stick with the goals/vision of the company?
    • Sometimes projects don’t work and they get terminated, are you okay with that?
    • In industry, each person does their part and hands the project to someone else, do you like working this way? Or do you like seeing projects from start to finish?
    • Because of strict guidelines from the government, are you okay with conducting your work under strict rules and regulations?

    Other information:

    • Once you get into the research side of industry, there are many opportunities to move up the ladder and/or laterally into different business paths.
    Article Count:
    3

TPL_asm2013_SEARCH