Careers in Science and Engineering
OR
Everything you might never hear about
cool science careers that we want you
to know!
Part I: Science and Alternative Careers
Developed by
Mark Hartman, Emily Dunkel
GK-12 Fellows: Harvard University & Cambridge Public Schools
Sponsored by
National Science Foundation
How much is a “good” salary?
 City of Cambridge (2003)
Apartment Size
Typical Monthly Rent
Minimum Household
income required
(assume 30% goes
toward rent)
1 Bedroom
$1400
$56, 000
2 Bedroom
$1725
$69, 000
3 Bedroom
$2300
$92, 000
 HUD estimated median income for family of 4:
$80,800
How to think about salary
 Some jobs are offered as a salary per year, others as
wages by the hour.
 Assuming a 40 hour week, a year is 2000 hours and the
following rates of pay are equivalent:
Yearly salary
$10,300
$20,000
$30,000
$50,000
$80,000
Hourly wage
$5.15 (minimum wage)
$10.00
$15.00
$25.00
$40.00
Higher Degree = More Earnings
Average Yearly Salary / Cost
70,000
60,000
Salary
50,000
40,000
"1 bedrm Apt in
Cambridge"
doctorate
master's
bachelor's
2-yr college
hs diploma
no hs diploma
30,000
20,000
10,000
0
What do you want to be?
 Physician?
– Median salary up to $100k/yr ($250k for
surgeons)
– 4 years of university (you pay)
– 4 years of medical school (you pay)
– 4 years of residency (you make about
$40k/year)
– Malpractice insurance anywhere from $50k –
$200k per year
 Lawyer?
– Median salary around $80k / year
– 4 years of university (you pay)
– 3 years of Law school (you pay)
– Pass Bar Exam
– High profile lawfirms pay well but require
much more than 40 hours of work per week
for the first 2-3 years
 Musician?
– Begin training at early age
– 40% are part-time
– Talent alone is no guarantee of success
– Few benefits (vacation, health insurance)
– Median salary $36,500 (although highest 10%
earn above $96,000)
 Professional Athlete?
– Extreme dedication, irregular work hours
– 37% part time, 27% self-employed
– 8 to 10 years of preparation (college, farm
teams, etc.) for a career of only a few years,
due to injury or age
– Median salary: $45,000 (although highest 10%
earn above $145,000)
 Science/Engineering?
– Salaries range from $30k – $100k/yr depending on education…
– Training without 4 year college:
Level of
education
Time
commitment
past high
school
Yearly tuition What you get Level of
($1k = $1000) when you
science job
come out
you are
prepared for
High School
--
--
Diploma
Community
college/Tech
School
2 years
$2k – $3k
Associate in
Technician /
Science (A.S.) Data analyst
degree
Military
service
2-3 years
You GET
paid
Technical
Technician/
skills, GI bill to Data analyst
pay for
college if you
want
Basic
technician /
Data entry
 Science/Engineering?
– 4 year college/university and beyond:
Level of
education
Time
commitment
Yearly tuition What you get Level of job
when you
you are
come out
prepared for
College /
University
4 years
$5k – $15k
(public)
$20k – $35k
(private)
Bachelor of
Science
(B.S.) degree
Engineer,
Programmer,
Lab
technologist,
grad student
Graduate
School
2 years
beyond
University
You GET
paid
OR
Same as
university
above
Master of
Science
(M.S.) degree
Same as
above, but
with
equivalent of
2-3 years
experience
Graduate
School
5-6 years
beyond
University
You GET
paid
$17k – $30k
Ph.D. (Doctor Professor,
of Philosophy) senior
engineer,
senior
scientist
Overarching Science/Engineering
Skills
 Complex problem solving (analyzing):
– Seeing a large problem as made of its essential
parts.
 Teamwork:
– Almost no one works on their own in the real
world!
 Creativity (synthesizing):
– Bringing together seemingly unrelated pieces of
information and skills to accomplish a new task!
Biology: Life Sciences
Median total cash compensation of some jobs in survey of 12, 600 individuals employed in the life sciences:
Research Vice Presidents/Directors
2 or 4 year degree
$142,000
Research Managers
$139,000
Chief Operating Officers
$129,000
College/University Department Heads
$129,000
"Distinguished" Researchers
$126,000
Professors (12-month appointment)
$118,000
Research Section Heads
$108,387
Government Section Heads
$98,000
Laboratory Directors
$90,000
Research Unit Supervisors
$85,000
Professors (9-10 month appointment)
$85,000
Laboratory Managers
$53,000
Intermediate Researchers
$50,250
Assistant Professors (9-10 month appointment)
$49,713
Secondary School Teachers
$44,200
Post-Doctoral Researchers (12-month
appointment)
$36,366
Laboratory Technicians
$35,000
Intermediate Research Technicians
$33,000
Source: Abbott, Langer & Associates, Compensation of Life Scientists in the United States of America –
2003, published 9/03
Biology: Life Sciences
 Zoo Keeper / animal care (HS, 4 year degree)
– Care for lab or exotic animals
 Ecologist (4 year degree)
– Analyze human environmental impact
 Food Science (4 year degree)
– Study how nutrition is affected by additives,
contaminants
 Genomics/Bioinformatics (graduate degree)
– Extract statistical information from genetic material to
develop new therapies, drugs
Chemistry
 Chemical Technician (2 year
degree)
– Monitor production
– Salary: $30k – $40k
 Chemical Sales (only 60% have
chemistry degree)
– Connect labs with customers
– Speak foreign languages
– Salary: $24k – high $40k
 Forensic Chemist (4 year degree)
– Give evidence in court
– Salary: high $30k – $60k
 Oil and Petroleum chemist
(graduate degree)
– “Fingerprinting” oil from a spill
– Develop new plastics
– Salary: mid $40k – $60k (BS), mid
$80k – $95k (doctoral)
Physics
Bachelor’s
Degree
Holders
Salary Ranges
Master’s Degree Holders
Ph.D. Holders
Where do Physics B.S. holders go?
Physics
 Telescope operator (4 year
degree)
– Perform the art of accurate
observations
 Video Game Designer (4
year degree)
– Program realistic 3D motion
 String Theorist (graduate
degree)
– Question the beginning of
the universe/nature of reality
– Probe smallest and largest
scales of the universe
Mathematics
 Statistician, IRS (2/4 year degree)
– Analyze spending and identify patterns
 Actuary (4 year degree)
– Calculate odds of accidents, death
– Salary: $37k with Bachelor’s
 Computer encryption (graduate degree)
– Develop algorithms to protect data
transmission
 Gambling (for the Casino!) (4 year
degree)
– Calculate odds and advise owners on
payouts
Cross-Disciplinary:
Government/Policy
 Bioethics advisor (Ph.D)
– Should we do cloning?
 NSF grant administrator (B.S. –
Ph.D.)
– Help determine who’s science
gets your tax money
 Genetic counseling (B.S. –
M.S.)
– Explaining options to parents-tobe
 Congressional science advisor /
lobbyist (B.S.)
– Nuclear waste, alternative energy
Media / Arts
 Science Journalist (B.S.)
– Convey difficult topics to the
public
 Playwright (B.S. or “Life
experience”!)
– “Copenhagen”: Best Play Tony
Award 2000
 Science museum staff / director
(High School, B.S.)
– Develop engaging
programs/exhibits
 Technology artist (High School,
B.S.)
– Andrea Polli:
Atmospherics/Weather Works
 Historian of science (B.S. –
Ph.D.)
– Letter from Einstein to
Roosevelt
Business / Law
 Wall Street Analyst (M.S. – Ph.D.)
– Apply complex mathematical modeling
– Predict behaviour of stock market
 Intellectual property / Patent law (J.D.—law
degree)
– guarding rights to original ideas
Degree Statistics
High School
Diploma (or more)
Some college (or
more)
Bachelor’s
Degree (or more)
All
90.2
58.0
30.5
Professional/speci
alty
99.2
93.4
76.7
Technician and
support
98.8
78.5
30.4
Administrative
support:
secretaries/office
workers
96.3
55.2
15.6
Profession
Source: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, March 1999
• Only about 25% of the US population has a bachelor’s
degree! (34% in Massachusetts)
• Although science jobs can be found at all levels, a B.S.
degree gets you more opportunities and higher pay!
If you forget everything else,
remember this!
 The skills you develop in science classes are
VERY widely applicable and valuable.
 Satisfying, well-paying jobs in science and
engineering are available at ALL levels of
education.
 Attempting higher degrees opens many more
doors for interesting jobs and higher pay.
If you don’t do it, who will be the engineers and
scientists in the future?
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Careers in Science and Engineering