Science Editor

Science editors assign, review, and edit science writing. They work in the news media, book publishing, television production, healthcare, documentary filmmaking, and many other fields. A science editor must have a strong background in science as well as a firm grasp of written English. Because they are in charge of a number of different stories or projects at one time, science editors must excel at time management in order to meet deadlines. Science editors sometimes start off as writers or journalists; others get into editing after years in scientific research, education, or other fields. At least one science degree is often a requirement.

[See also the career profiles for Science Writer and Environmental Journalist.]

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Environmental Consultant

When an engineering company wants to build a wastewater treatment plant or other facility, they hire an environmental consultant to conduct studies of the likely environmental impact of the project. This may involve taking measurements of soil, air, and water quality, reading through previous reports, communicating with engineers, and projecting how the ecology of an area might change as a result of the proposed project. The consultant usually compiles the findings into a standardized report called an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which is then reviewed by government agencies, town planners, and others who must approve of the project. Environmental consultants also check existing buildings, plants, factories, and other facilities to ensure that they remain in compliance with environmental regulations.

Consultants often specialize in one area, such as waste management, water quality, or air quality, and each specialty may require certification. A degree in environmental studies, chemistry, geology, or another related subject is enough to get entry-level work, but you will have more career options with a Master’s or Ph.D. degree.

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Paleontologist

Paleontologists study the fossil record to better understand evolution, the biology of long-extinct species, and what life on Earth was like in the past. Paleontology is a broad field of science, and requires knowledge in all major sciences: physics, biology, chemistry, and geology. Specialized fields within paleontology include paleobotany (ancient plants), vertebrate paleontology (ancient animals with backbones), and paleoecology (ancient ecosystems). A paleontology career should begin with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and/or geology, with plenty of physics, chemistry, and math coursework. Many paleontologists look for fossils in remote deserts in foreign countries, so knowing a foreign language (or several) is very helpful. You will eventually need a Ph.D. to work as a researcher or professor.

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Marine Biologist

Marine biologists study life in the seas. Subjects of research include fisheries biology, marine mammals, marine plants and algae, coral reefs, deep-sea communities, zooplankton, and many more. This field is vast and growing, but it is also one of the more popular sciences. Competition for jobs can be tough and salaries are not often high.

To work in marine biology, you will eventually need an M.S. or Ph.D. College graduates who have hands-on experience in the field or laboratory tend to have an advantage when seeking entry-level work or admission to a graduate program, so try to get an internship or volunteer position during college. Marine biologists work for research institutions, universities, government agencies, television production companies, conservation groups, and more.

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X-Ray Technician

An X-ray technician, also known as a radiologic technologist, uses X-rays and other types of radiation to take pictures of a patient’s internal anatomy, usually under the guidance of a radiologist. They may also use other diagnostic technologies, such as injecting radioactive dyes into a patient’s bloodstream. The abilities to work high-tech equipment and offer personal attention to patients are assets in this field. You can receive the necessary training in radiologic technology in as little as one year of technical college or as long as four, depending on your prior experience in healthcare. The U.S. Armed Forces also offers training in radiologic technology.

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Ultrasound Technician

An ultrasound technician, also known as a diagnostic sonographer, uses ultrasound technology to create images or video of the soft tissues inside a patient, allowing a physician to diagnose medical conditions. Sonographers can specialize in certain areas or systems of the body, such as the female reproductive system or the cardiovascular system. Sonographers must be technically skilled but also capable of explaining ultrasound procedures and their results to patients. Hospitals, colleges, technical/vocational schools, and the U.S. Armed Forces offer training in sonography. Most sonographers have an Associate’s Degree in the subject. This field is one of the top ten highest paying jobs for people with an Associate’s Degree.

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Surgical Technician

A surgical technician, or technologist, assists a surgical team by preparing a sterile operating room and assisting with preparing the patient for surgery. The surgical technologist also checks vital signs and other diagnostics during a surgical procedure, and passes surgical tools to the surgeon. Attention to detail, quick thinking, compassion for patients, and an ability to remain calm and controlled are all helpful traits. Hospitals, colleges, vocational schools, and the U.S. Armed Forces all offer training in surgical technology, with most programs taking one or two years to finish.

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Sports Trainer

A sports trainer works with athletes to prevent and treat injuries. They are often the first to respond to an injury, meaning they must assess the damage and determine if the athlete can continue to compete. They are especially skilled at using ice, heat, pain-relieving medicines, massage, and bandage wraps to allow athletes to play through pain or recover in time for the next event. Because trainers must attend athletic events, their work schedule can be irregular and they may need to travel often. Trainers need a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in athletic training or a related subject, but most have a Master’s or Ph.D. degree as well. Most states have their own licensing test and also require that trainers be certified with the national Board of Certification. Sports trainers find full-time and part-time work with high schools, universities, sports medicine clinics, and professional sports teams.

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Speech-Language Pathologist

A speech-language pathologist treats people who have difficulty speaking clearly or using their voices. This can involve treating people whose speech difficulties result from a wide variety of medical issues, from Downs Syndrome to stuttering to serious brain injury. Much of a speech-language pathologist’s work involves one-on-one work with patients. Pathologists must be excellent listeners, and patience and compassion come in handy because some patients need a lot of time to show improvement. To work as a speech-language pathologist, you will need a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology and a passing score on a national exam.

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Science Writer

The job of a science writer is to put science in a language that a general audience can understand and enjoy. Science writers’ works appear in general interest magazines, newspapers, textbooks, websites, radio programs, television shows, and much more. The challenge in science writing is to first understand the science and then write about it in a way that will be engaging and understandable to an audience. Some science writers are reporters who write every day on a new discovery or outcome of research; others are best-selling authors who spend months or years researching and writing on a specific topic. Most benefit from a background in both science and English, journalism, or writing. There are a number of graduate programs in science writing, but a graduate degree is not required to work in this field.

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