The Footnotes

AGRICULTURE & ENVIRONMENT

8 careers if you love Science

Are you feeling the chemistry?

A Doctor 

If studying Medicine is on your radar…  you should be should taking at
least one science in your final years. In fact, some universities will only accept undergraduate doctors that have completed Chemistry.

How to get there:

Want to hear some advice for getting into medicine (UMAT study advice, scaling advice and interview tips) from an Undergraduate student at University of Newcastle? Read it here

Astronomer

A day in the life of as astronomer is filled with observation, research, and interpreting astronomical phenomena. You’ll live for reports (both scientific and technical) and find the idea of working on in-depth research projects or developing theories super interesting.

Essentially, there is no difference between astronomy and astrophysics, other than the fact that “astrophysics” sounds more impressive to some people. Physics is the study of the laws of nature, and how particles interact with one another. Astronomy is a science where we observe physics at work throughout the universe!

Astronomers use physics to help us understand what we are seeing in all the images that are recorded via the telescopes. Astronomers have helped physicists discover all kinds of exciting things, like Relativity, black holes, and nuclear fusion. Physics has helped astronomers to understand what makes spiral galaxies have spiral shapes, how stars form, and even how to detect other planets around other stars!

Astronomers use maths and physics daily.  Most astronomers graduate with degrees in physics and/or astronomy. Once out of university they usually commence a postgraduate degrees.  Day to day, astronomers could be at an observatory, running telescopes and making sure everything is in working order for the visiting astronomers. Or they may go into computer programming, or aerospace engineering. 

How to get there: You’ll need a Bachelor of Science with a major in physics before undertaking a Master of Science (Astrophysics). Though, our recommendation is to study an undergraduate in Engineering & specialise later as astronomy is a very competitive field (even for those with excellent PhDs).

Chemist

Life as a chemist is math-heavy so if you’re leaning towards this career, we have to warn you, you’ll need to know your numbers. Chemists will conduct chemical analyses and experiments (usually in a lab setting) for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge. As a chemist you could be employed for a variety of organisations including government agencies, not-for-profits, universities (usually thanks to a research grant) or companies with tangible products to develop and market.

How to get there: You’ll need an a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) or similar to succeed here. A postgraduate degree will improve career prospects so is optional.

Veterinarian

” “Oh my gosh! Your job is so cool! I wish I could play with puppies and kittens all day! You must just love it!”

Secretly, I roll my eyes.

This is the typical response you receive after announcing your profession is in veterinary practice. It is usually followed up by “I could never do that though! I couldn’t stand to see them put to sleep!” Again, eye roll.

Realistically, the general public is very sheltered from what the true life of a veterinarian entails. People envision us dramatically saving lives, snuggling puppies and kittens all day. ” – Find out what the career is really like, here 

Some vets go into general, domestic pet care (mainly cats, dogs and birds etc.) while others specialise in reptilian or marsupial species and find themselves employed in zoos or wildlife centres, or work in large animal care.

How to get there: You’ll need an undergraduate veterinary science degree (available at seven universities nation-wide) before registering with the veterinary registration board. Alternatively, you can do an undergraduate degree in a related field such as science, agriculture or biomedicine before undertaking a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Epidemiologist

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and causes of disease. It aims to solve or control health problems. Epidemiology integrates experiments, risk assessment, statistical analysis, surveys, and interviews to study disease patterns. Epidemiologists investigate patterns and causes of diseases and injuries that affect people. They try to reduce diseases and injuries through community education and policy. Environmental epidemiologists study diseases that are known or suspected to be caused by environmental factors.

How to get there: You’ll need to start with an undergraduate degree in a related field such as medicine or science with majors in biomedical sciences, sociology, mathematics etc. before undertaking either a master’s degree or PhD in epidemiology or biostatistics.

There are many and varied pathways to becoming an epidemiologist.

They usually involve an undergraduate degree in a related field such as medicine, health science, science with majors in mathematics/statistics or psychology. The options for postgraduate study include:

  1. a graduate diploma or masters degree in epidemiology, biostatistics or public health that involve substantial coursework, including units in epidemiology, and completion of a minor research project with dissertation
  2. a Masters by research degree or PhD in epidemiology, biostatistics or public health focused on a major research project usually with at least some coursework undertaken prior to or during the period of study.

Biophysicist/Biochemist

A biophysicist or a biochemist, studies life at every level. From atoms, molecules and cells to full organisms and environments, nothing is off limits for the biophysicist. A biophysicist/biochemist will need to be a master of almost all mediums (chemistry, physics, biologist and math) in their efforts to study the growth, reproduction, metabolism and heredity characteristics of… well, pretty much any and everything.

How to get there: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in either physics, chemistry or biology as well as lab experience (from an internship or uni experience) to gain entry-level employment. To work in research or product development, you’ll need a master’s degree.

 

Forensic scientist

We’ve all seen Law & Order so we’ll go fast on the intro here. A forensic scientist collects and analyses physical evidence surrounding a crime. This evidence can be more general or under a specialisation like ballistic (bullets) or toxicology. A forensic scientist will not only need laboratory skills and attention to detail but they may be required to present their evidence in court so an ability to communicate and synthesise complex information is a must.

Note: Forensics is a highly specialised career and there are only a few employment opportunities in the occupation.

The main employers of forensic scientists are State and Commonwealth Government health departments, and State and Federal police forces. Most forensic scientists have had extensive experience specialising in a particular scientific field such as microbiology, chemistry or physics, before moving into the forensic area.

The Australian Federal Police, through its Forensic Services Division in Canberra, employs forensic scientists in the disciplines of crime scene examinations, fingerprint identification, firearms and ammunition identification, document examination, forensic biology, forensic chemistry and applied physics.

You’ll also need a tough disposition to succeed in this field. It can get a little confronting.

How to get there: UTS offers a Bachelor of Forensic Science.

Marine Biologist

But, Marine biology, in a nutshell, is the study of marine organisms, their behaviours, and interactions with the environment. It includes many different sub-disciplines and, consequently, an array of potential career directions.

Would you like to be a microbiologist, a behavioural ecologist, a system analyst, a geneticist, a professor, even an environmental lawyer – or perhaps some combination of these?

There are many roads to choose from and many organisations that hire marine biologists, so having a fairly precise idea of what you would like to do is an important first step in the right direction.

How to get there:

As a start, take all the science courses available to you in high school and as an undergraduate. Basic biology, zoology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are essential, but other courses such as ichthyology, conservation, and oceanography are also quite valuable, as well as those related to your specific field. Then there’s the study of statistics; this is something you must know and be good at and no, you can’t get around it.

Check out the course on offer at UTS. 

Geneticist

If you’ve got even an inkling about the concept of genes, you’ve probably figured this one out but just in case, we’ll lay it out. A geneticist essentially studies traits and how they are inherited. A geneticist will often deal with a sub-category referred to as epigenetics – the turning ‘on’ or ‘off’ of genomes (genetic material) by external factors e.g. diet or pollution or even the genetic causes behind disease. Geneticists need to be good at math and statistics as well as more traditional science skills and will likely be employed as academic researchers, so you’ll need to be able to put pen to paper too.

How to get there: You’ll need to pursue an undergraduate degree at minimum with a major in Genetics. From there a masters is favourable.

Want to look for the right course?

 

8 careers if you love Science
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