Solar Week - Ask a Question

Come here during Solar Week (next one: March 22-26, 2021) to interact. To post a question, click on your area of interest from the topics below, and then click on the "Ask New Question" button. Or EMAIL or tweet or plant in Answer Garden your question about the Sun or life as a scientist to us -- and watch for it to appear here.  You can also visit our FAQs (frequently asked questions). In between Solar Weeks in October and March, you can view all the archives here.

PrevPrev Go to previous topic
NextNext Go to next topic
Last Post 3/24/2021 2:08 PM by  KD Leka
Jobs for scientists
 2 Replies
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages
Orange Ball

3/24/2021 6:12 AM
    Are there jobs for new scientists in the US? Is it better to go to another country?
    Tags: career
    Kris Sigsbee
    Basic Member
    Posts:415 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 8:18 AM

    The job market for scientists in the U.S. depends upon what sort of educational background and research experience you have, if you are interested in teaching, or would prefer to do research in an academic, government, or industry setting. In solar and magnetospheric physics, most scientists will have degrees in physics or astrophysics, usually a PhD or doctoral degree. In the planetary sciences, you will also find people with these educational backgrounds, but you will also find scientists with degrees in geology/Earth science, chemistry, or even biology. Sometimes people working in the space sciences will have degrees in computer science or engineering.

    It can be difficult to find tenure track faculty positions at large state or private universities that do a lot of federally funded research. However, if you are mostly interested in teaching, it can be easier to find jobs teaching at small liberal arts colleges or community colleges.

    If you are mostly interested in research, civil servant positions at NASA centers and other government laboratories can also be difficult to find, but there are other options, such as working as a contractor or soft-money (grant funded) researcher at a NASA center or a university. There are also places like The Aerospace Corporation and Los Alamos National Laboratory, which are federally funded research and development centers, built around public-private partnerships that conduct research and development for the United States Government. There are also independent, nonprofit, applied research and development (R&D) organizations like Southwest Research Institute that support research in the space sciences. One thing to keep in mind is that many positions at some of these organizations require employees to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, so it can be difficult for foreigners to obtain employment there.

    And of course, there are also scientists who work in industry, although the types of work they do will be different from a scientist employed at an educational institution or research and development laboratory.

    KD Leka
    Basic Member
    Posts:115 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 2:08 PM
    I'd like to echo Kris' answer that there is quite a large variety of jobs available, maybe not always what you think you'll be doing, but interesting nonetheless. I also want to say that the US has a number of "soft-money" (grant- and contract- based) institutions which are not Universities and not Federal centers. I work at one - we are a "for profit" company, a small business, that is owned by the scientists. We do primarily pure & applied research and many of our scientists hold affiliate positions at universities, too. We can host / employ foreign citizens for most work, and what is really nice is the flexibility in the kind of work you can do. It is, however, not a "secure" job in the sense that there is no one else paying my salary, I need to win grants to do so. But in my group of scientists and software engineers, many are non-US citizens.

    The situation in other countries can be better in some ways, worse in others. Most countries are facing a really tough lack of funding, and some have many restrictions on who can work in science, and how. Very few countries have the breadth and flexibility of funding opportunities for science as the US does (number of different agencies, etc).

    I will also say that as all of science progresses, complimentary degrees in statistics, machine learning, engineering, are all needed. There are a lot of cross-disciplinary options, and as Kris said, depending on what you end up being interested in, remember there are a LOT of people across a LOT of disciplines who contribute to large missions for example.
    You are not authorized to post a reply.

    Twitter Feed

    Scientist Leaderboard

    Name # of replies
    Multiverse skin is based on Greytness by Adammer