Discover new facts about the natural world.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$38,000 – $125,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Scientists do?

Maybe as a kid you were fascinated by spider webs, quartz crystals, or constellations in the sky. And you were probably driving your parents crazy asking, “Why, why, why?” If you can carry that passion and curiosity about how things work into your adult life, you might be cut out to be a Scientist.

The term “Scientist” covers a lot of possible jobs, of course. If your job is research based (usually for a university or government agency), you could be honing in on the diets of vampire bats, the effects of hot peppers on taste buds, or the chemical makeup of Saturn’s ring.

In an applied science field, you would be gathering information and running procedures for a specific, immediate purpose: for example, using readings of past weather patterns to forecast future weather for a news program, or collecting and analyzing findings at a crime scene to be used as evidence in a case.

Either way, you won’t be tinkering with test tubes all the time; you’ll also have to work with people. Scientists don’t work in isolation, and a good deal of your time might be spent planning projects with a team, talking to funders, explaining your findings in plain English to non-Scientists, or training students to work as assistants.

If pure curiosity isn’t enough to keep you motivated, most careers in science also help people or the environment in some way. Goals like curing AIDS or saving an endangered species won’t be reached overnight, but your perseverance and continued experimentation may pay off down the line.

Should I be a Scientist?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Clinical Research Scientist, Medical Scientist

    How to become a Scientist

    We recommend at least a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Scientist-related education!
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