The Who, What, Where of Careers:


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What does this person do? 

  • Teaches lecture and/or laboratory courses to undergraduate and/or graduate students
  • Writes grants to obtain money for labs or training programs
  • Reads literature, identifies gaps, develops hypotheses, conducts protocols to test hypotheses, analyzes data, presents major findings at national and international meetings, and publishes findings in scientific journals
  • Manages a budget and the scientists and trainees in a research lab
  • Sits on committees pertaining to graduate recruitment, curriculum, and training

Where does this person work?  

  • Community Colleges
  • Private and Public Universities (these can be designated as primarily undergraduate universities or research intensive universities)

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? 

Education and Experience Requirements: 


Education and Experience

Lab Technician

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

Postdoctoral Fellow

  • PhD in science-related fields

Staff Research Scientist

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

Tenure Professorship

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


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


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. At primarily undergraduate universities, you will mostly teach and do a little research. This is the inverse for research intensive universities.
  • With an MD or MD/PhD, a person will spend time doing research, teaching, or seeing patients in the hospital. The amount spent on these tasks differs according to the job description.



Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.

ASM Career Development Grant Helps A Postdoc Develop Science Policy Skills

Candace Rouchon Career Grant 2Dr. Candace Rouchon is a postdoctoral fellow at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She researches biofilm-associated infections caused by the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. She shares her experience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Leadership Seminar in Science and Technology Policy.  

ASM Career Development Grant Helps With Studying Ocean Health in Puerto Rico

Amanda Shore Swimming CareerDr. Amanda Shore is a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University. Her research focuses on how human activity influences the health of a variety of marine organisms, like coral. She shares with us how she tied her research interests into a trip to Puerto Rico.

Finding Your Way in Academia: An interview with Dr. Valerie Horsley

ValerieLP 2Dr. Valerie Horsley is an Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. Her academic career has been extremely successful, and she has made numerous contributions to the fields of wound healing and stem cell biology. She is also vocal about equality in academia and keeping a positive lab environment, which was highlighted in an episode of Yale’s Spectrum Podcast. The podcast inspired this interview below, where she talks about navigating academia and mentoring students in the lab.

Testing the Waters of Research: Working as a Lab Technician

picfinalSome of us know that we want to pursue a Ph.D. and conduct research, while others may have doubts. If you’ve had an occasional internship or no research experience at all, becoming a lab tech is a good way to assess whether research excites you. We interviewed Brittney Ivanov, a lab tech at Trinity University, about what she does and what factors to consider for a lab tech job. Her experience has taught her that research is a very collaborative environment.

Navigating a Science Policy Career: Interview with Kate Stoll, Senior Policy Advisor for the MIT Washington Office

Katie Stoll 2Are you interested in science policy? Dr. Kate Stoll, a Senior Policy Advisor, share her career path, what she does in her current position, and how to be competitive for science policy. In her current role, she bridges researchers and policy-makers by creating policy-relevant reports that are shared with the government.