In Honour of Pi day we’ve chosen a science theme for this post. Here’s our list of the 5 best jobs in science, with a description on how to get them. We had to remove our original top choice of mad scientist, as it turns out it’s not a viable career outside of Hollywood. Probably best to stick to keeping it a hobby.
We’re pretty sure that everyone has wanted to be a vet at some point and you have to admit, a job that lets you work with puppies, kittens and all things fluffy on a regular basis is pretty awesome. As a vet, you’ll have a wide range of responsibilities and a job where no two days are the same. And if a regular vet job isn’t wild enough for you, can always become a vet at a wildlife park and try taking care of some seriously big beasts!
To become a vet you’ll need a degree in Veterinary Medicine, which will require you to have A levels in Biology and Chemistry. If you don’t want to be a vet, but still want to work with animals, a Level 4 Diploma in Animal Studies or Psychology can be a great starting point.
Being a psychologist isn’t all about listening to your client talk whilst taking notes. Psychology has hundreds of different facets, so no matter what you’re interested in, there will be a specialisation for you. For example, you might become an academic psychologist conducting research (just try not to be another Milgram!) and teaching, or you could be a psychologist involved in one of the many aspects of mental health or even a corporate psychologist, working to improve and develop your workforce.
Entering into the field of psychology requires you to earn a degree in psychology, so you’ll need to have at least one A level in a science based A level, such as Biology, Physics or Mathematics. Somewhat surprisingly an A level in Psychology is usually not required but it is a useful introduction into the subject. Sociology can also be a good supplementary A level.
Becoming a doctor takes a lot of training and hard work, but is also a fascinating career choice. You’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of different fields, from being a GP to being a specialist in a specific disease. Granted, it’s probably not quite as interesting as Greys Anatomy would have you believe, but it’s still pretty good and it’s hard to imagine a career where you can have a more positive impact on a person’s life.
To become a doctor, you’ll need to complete several years of training at university, where places are highly competitive. To stand the best chance of succeeding in your application you’ll need to have A levels in Biology, Chemistry (are you seeing a trend yet?) and either Maths or Physics. An additional A level in an essay based subject can round out your application.
2. Forensic scientist.
We’ve all seen C.S.I. so we all know what Forensics is all about right? Wrong. Forensic science isn’t just about crime scenes (though there are lots of forensic scientists working in that field), but is rather a specific scientific method. Unified by a common methodology, forensic science splits into hundreds of different disciplines, from archaeology to botany and engineering. Accountants even squeeze themselves in via the field of forensic Accounting.
To work as a forensic scientist, you’ll need to earn a university degree, which means you’ll need between 250 and 320 UCAS points. Unlike most of the jobs that we’ve listed so far, you don’t necessarily need biology and chemistry, but they will still serve you in good stead. Some universities will also accept a BTEC HND in a related subject.
1. Environmental Scientist.
Floods in the UK, Smog in China and wild weather everywhere show how important it is that we learn to understand the environment. As a forensic scientist, you might investigate the effects of fracking, the migration patterns of sharks or measure the progress of acid rain.
Working in environmental science doesn’t always require a degree, as practical experience and knowledge will greatly open up the number of jobs open to you. For those interested in getting started, our BTEC HND in environmental science can be a great starting point.
Bonus – You don’t have to be an astronaut to work for NASA!
You could argue that no organisation is as synonymous with science as NASA. You can work for them too, with no experience required. NASA is asking for volunteers to participate in a study, all you have to do is lie down. For 11 weeks. Continuously. Perfect for the lazy, or those who enjoy being paid for moving very little.
Earning over £1000 a week, the volunteers will help NASA understand how long trips in space will affect the physiology of future astronauts.
So there you go – science without having to get up!
Photo courtesy of Steve Berger