You don’t have to wear a white coat to work in Science
Working in chemistry does not mean you have to be the one in the white coat staring at test tubes. There are lots of career options that allow you to continue to work in scientific environment and put your expertise to use without getting your hands dirty.
There are lots of options out there for people who want to be in science based role but don’t necessarily want to be in a laboratory wearing a white coat. So we have put together a list of some career options that are a little more “hands-off” but are still very much rooted in scientific base.
The role of a patent attorney is to assess inventions and determine if they are new and innovative enough to be patented.
Some of the responsibilities of a patent attorney are:
• Speaking to inventors and manufacturers to assess if they are likely to be granted a patent
• Analysing technical documents to assess if the invention is new and innovative
• Writing details and precise technical descriptions of inventions in precise legal terms.
In order to become a patent attorney you don’t need to have any legal qualifications but it usually requires you to have a degree in a STEM subject, all other training can be done on the job.
Patent attorney could be a great career option for people who want to be at the heart of science and technological advances without being at a laboratory bench.
In this type of role you will use your technical knowledge along with your sales skills to provide advice and support on a range of products. Working in sales you will become a key point of contact for clients where you will provide both pre and post sales advice.
Some of the responsibilities of this role are:
• Research to find new potential clients who may benefit from your companies products and services
• Develop and maintain long term relationships with businesses, allowing you to manage their specific requirements
• Supporting marketing activities by attending trade shows, conferences and other marketing events.
Most entry level sales roles will be happy to take on fresh graduates with a degree in a relevant subject, having previous sales experience would be advantageous but not necessarily essential depending on the role and company you are applying with.
Regulatory Affairs/Quality Assurance
Regulatory affairs and quality assurance officers are essential across a range of industries from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics to the food and drink industries. Their roles are varied but they provide a crucial role within a company ensuring that its products meet required legal legislation.
Some of the responsibilities of regulatory affairs/quality assurance officers are:
• Ensuring a companies products comply with the regulations of the regions they are being distributed
• Checking the products data against pre-determined specifications to ensure its quality.
• Write and review quality documentation to ensure it complies with regulation.
This is a perfect career option for someone who wants to work very closely with scientists but be in a desk based role.
Jobs within scientific policy allows you to use your scientific knowledge and understanding to help inform and assist in policy formation. The typical employs for this type of work include charities, government departments and other public sector organizations.
Responsibilities within this role could include:
• Identifying and analyzing policy issues
• Collecting information on scientific issues
• Drafting reports and writing briefing papers
This is an unusual career option and therefore opportunities are rare, however it would be an ideal opportunity for someone who is passionate about both science and current affairs.
Science writers are used across a range of publications, they write news articles, trade and professional publications, specialist science journals and many more.
The responsibilities of a science writer vary depending the job but they may include:
• Producing articles according to an agreed style
• Keeping to strict deadlines
• Reading and researching specialist literature
This a role which requires you to have a broad knowledge range and the ability to understand to understand complex scientific information. This would be a great career option for someone who has a flare for writing alongside their interest in science.
Last but not least, Recruitment. Coming from a science background can make you ideally placed to help find companies and organizations great scientists. The main role of a recruitment consultant is to find companies the right candidates for their vacancies.
Some other responsibilities of the role could include:
• Using sales, business development and networking to attract business from companies
• Drafting job descriptions and advertising them across a range of platforms
• Using various platforms to build up a strong network of candidates
Having a degree is not a requirement to be a recruitment consultant but having either a science degree or relevant industry experience would be a great asset if you were to go into a specialist field such as Chemistry recruitment. Having that industry knowledge allows you to better understand what it is your clients are looking for.
The above career options are by no means an exhaustive list of career options available to those who don’t want to wear a white coat, they are just some of the examples of the range of options available to those who are looking for something different.
Written by Hannah Crawley, LiCa Scientific Ltd