Careers Involving Scientific Research

Jan 17, 2020

Career Options Involving Scientific Research

Scientific research can be applied to many different fields, but careers involving scientific research are most prevalent in the fields of science (including life and physical sciences), engineering and the social sciences. Learn about a few of the possible career options that encompass scientific research in some way.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Environmental Engineers $87,620 5%
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $63,420 5%
Chemists $76,890 3%
Psychologists $100,770 (psychologists, all other) 14%
Astronomers $105,680 5%
Medical Scientists $84,810 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Careers Involving Scientific Research

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers work to improve the environment by solving environmental problems using the physical sciences and engineering principles. They may work on a local, regional or even global scale to do things like improve drinking water, combat climate change and improve recycling efforts. Their work requires extensive research and analysis of environmental data to fully understand the problem, and then work to solve it. Once they have implemented a solution, environmental engineers closely monitor the progress of a program and report their findings. These professionals need a bachelor's degree, and practical experience is highly valued.

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study different aspects of all kinds of animals. They also look at the animal's habitat and ecosystem to study the impact humans and other animals may have on it. These scientists may focus their research on animal behavior, animal interactions or physical and social characteristics of a species. Often, their research findings help advance breeding programs and other conservation efforts for the species. Zoologists and wildlife biologists may make presentations to the public about their research to generate interest in conservation as well. These scientists must have a bachelor's degree, but most have a master's or Ph.D. to conduct research.


There are many different kinds of chemists, including analytical, theoretical, physical, inorganic, organic and even medical chemists. No matter their area of focus, these scientists conduct complex research projects to study different things on the atomic and molecular levels. They may research and analyze different substances and chemical processes that are used in products or manufacturing to ensure safety and quality. Like most careers involving scientific research, their findings are published in scientific articles, reports or presentations. Chemists in research positions generally need a master's or Ph.D., but some jobs only require a bachelor's degree.


Psychologists conduct scientific experiments to study human behavior and brain functions. They try to find patterns in behavior and responses, in order to predict behavior and help treat patients with varying mental health issues. Research includes studying the emotional, cognitive and social processes of the human mind using data from observations, surveys or interviews. Their work is also reported in articles and research papers. To practice, psychologists need a Ph.D. and a license, but some jobs only require a master's degree.


Astronomers study the universe through complex and theoretical scientific experiments and observations. They may use telescopes, lasers and other astronomical data to try and explain the origin of our universe and the galaxies within it. Their work also usually involves complex calculations, computer modeling and high-tech equipment. To fund their work, astronomers often need to write research grant proposals. They may present their findings through papers, lectures and presentations to the public and other scientists. To conduct research or teach, astronomers need a Ph.D., but bachelor's and master's degree holders may pursue research assistant or research & development positions, respectively.

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists work to improve human health by studying things like diseases, pathogens or other health hazards. Their research is applied to the testing and development of drugs, treatments and medical equipment used to fight these particular issues. Like astronomers, medical scientists typically need to apply for funding for things like clinical trials and new equipment. Their results are not only published, but may be used to help create health programs in a specific area to educate and benefit the general public. Medical scientists usually need a Ph.D., and some may have medical experience or a medical degree.

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