• 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:

     

    • There is no teaching in government, but you do research and/or manage a team that does research
    • In government there are more administrative duties like scheduling, organizing, and leading meetings
    • There is a lot more paperwork in government to ensure that rules and regulations are followed

     

    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.

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

    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  
    • Sit 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

    • Associate's, BS, MS 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

    • MS and PhD in science-related fields
    • BS and MS 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 and managing a budget?
    • Do you thrive on conducting research and coming up with ideas?
    • Do you like having flexibility with schedules and research topics?

     

    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. 

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

    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)
    *These 3 designations describe the same position

    • 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 use your science knowledge in a healthcare environment?
    • Would you prefer to stay “behind the scenes” rather than work directly with patients?
    • Are you interested in helping to determine the causes of infections?
    • 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?

    Other information:

    • You analyze specimens and report results as a MLT. MLS’ perform more complex testing than MLTs.
    • After several years of experience “on the bench” as an MLS, you can become a supervisor or manager.
    • As a director of a clinical microbiology lab, you are responsible for tests performed in your laboratory, advise clinicians on test selection and interpretation, and serve as a microbiology resource for your health system beyond the laboratory.

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

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

    What does this person do?  

    • Test human, animal, environmental, food and other samples to identify disease causing agents and identify sources of infection
    • Communicate scientific information to government officials, epidemiologists, clinicians, and the public
    • Conduct disease surveillance and transmit the data to local, state, federal and international databases
    • Determine the modes of transmission in diseases
    • Investigate infectious disease outbreaks
    • Analyze public health threats and provide information for effective responses
    • Interacts with local, state, and federal agencies and partners
    • Research and development for diagnostic test methods not available in clinical labs
    • Develop policies, guidelines, and regulations
    • Provide training and continuing education to clinical labs and medical providers

    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:

    • Entry-level scientist positions require a BS or MS in science-related fields, or an MPH, and a few years of lab experience
    • Supervisor positions require several years of technical laboratory experience in addition to BS/MS/MPH
    • Director-level positions require previous techinical, administrative, and leadership experiences; some have aPhD, while others have an MS
      *Directors that oversee diagnostics and/or environmental testing laboratories need to meet federal and state qualifications for experience, education, and licensure

    What to Consider before Entering the Profession:

    • You will need to know about the basics of infectious disease agents, transmission and diagnostics, and be prepared for a very steep learning curve when a new disease arises.
    • The work load becomes high and fast-paced during times of an outbreak and emergencies.
    • They are government positions and salaries are lower, on average, than similar positions in clinical laboratories and industry.
    • There is usually not mandated weekend or evening shifts except during major outbreaks.

     

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

    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:

    • Positions focused on science communication require a BS, MS, or PhD in science and either journalism experience or degree
    • Positions focused on training of science students require a BS, MS, or PhD in science, higher education, or career advising
    • 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.

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

    Article Count:
    3
  • 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?
    • When working in industry, your research has to fit within the goals/vision of the company—therefore, there is little room for exploratory research.
    • Do you like to overcome the barriers in research or your experiments?
    • Sometimes in industry, projects don’t work and they get terminated.
    • Do you like seeing projects from start to finish? In industry, each person does
    • their part and hands the project to someone else.
    • Do you like conducting your work under strict rules and regulations? Because of the strict guidelines from the government, industries have to follow protocols for their products/drugs.

    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.

     

    Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

    Article Count:
    3

TPL_asm2013_SEARCH