Non-Laboratory Science Careers

Jan 20, 2020

Science careers are available in areas that do not involve working in a laboratory, like sales, teaching and fieldwork. There are various educational requirements for these careers, as well as differing job duties, which are discussed in detail.

Non-Laboratory Science Careers

There are a number of science-related careers that do not require individuals to spend their days working in a laboratory setting. These careers are available across a number of interesting fields, from zoology to museum work, and all involve science in some way. We will look at five of these different careers below in greater detail by discussing what each career entails and what kind of education is necessary to obtain one of these jobs.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative, Technical and Scientific Products $79,680 4%
Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist $63,420 5%
Conservation Scientist/Forester $61,340 3%
Biological Science Postsecondary Teacher $82,550 12%
Conservator or Curator $43,020 (museum technicians and conservators); $53,780 (curators) 9% (museum technicians and conservators); 10% (curators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Information About Non-Laboratory Science Careers

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative, Technical and Scientific Products

Individuals who have a science background may find a career as a wholesale and manufacturing sales representative for scientific or technical products to be a good fit. This position would require sales representatives to reach out to potential customers and clients who may be interested in their product, maintain relationships with current clients, and negotiate sales contracts. These sales representatives may be involved in selling products that require a science background, like pharmaceutical products or medical devices, and they often work from an office or travel around to visit clients and potential customers. A bachelor's degree in a relevant scientific field is likely necessary to be eligible for one of these positions.

Zoologist/Wildlife Biologist

As a zoologist or wildlife biologist, you would be involved in studying different types of plant and animal species, the environments they live in, and the impact that humans have on their lives and ecosystems. While this job may sometimes involve research conducted in a laboratory, many zoologists and wildlife biologists spend their time working from the field in locations that are relevant to their specific area of interest. For example, cetologists may spend much of their time on the ocean studying marine mammals, while ornithologists may travel to different forests and other locations to study birds. To become a zoologist or wildlife biologist, you will typically need at least a bachelor's degree, though more advanced positions often require a master's or doctoral degree.

Conservation Scientist/Forester

Conservation scientists and foresters are interested in the study of various lands, like forests and parks, and have a number of different responsibilities that are typically carried out in a non-laboratory setting, like the outdoors. Conservation scientists often work with farmers and landowners to improve the quality of their soil and land and to help create plans for land management. Foresters are involved in making sure that various foresting activities, like burning and clearing, are done safely and with as little negative impact to the environment as possible. These positions generally require a bachelor's degree in a field like forestry or environmental science.

Biological Science Postsecondary Teacher

Individuals who are interested in sharing their interest in science with the next generation may want to consider a career as a postsecondary teacher of a scientific field, like biology. This job would require leading courses that cover topics in biology, assigning homework to students, creating exams and assessments, and giving students grades to judge their performance in the course. Though some class sessions may take place in labs, postsecondary teachers typically work in classrooms and often also have their own office. To become a postsecondary teacher of biology, you will typically need at least a master's degree in biology, though a doctoral degree is more common.

Conservator or Curator

It may also be possible to apply a background in science to a career as a conservator or curator, depending on the position and type of museum. Conservators, for example, are responsible for preserving and recording museum items, including specimens. Some of their tasks may involve laboratory equipment, like microscopes and x rays, but they work in the museum itself rather than in a lab. Meanwhile, individuals with a scientific background in biology or one of the natural sciences may be able to become a curator in a natural history museum, which involves maintaining a museum's collection and acquiring new items for it. The educational requirements for these positions differ: conservators likely need a master's degree in museum conservation, while curators will need a master's degree in a field like museum studies.

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