Careers in Neuroscience

What do I do when I graduate?

First and foremost, perhaps the most important resource to consult would be the University of Scranton's Office of Career Services This office "strives to facilitate the process of career choice by helping students and alumni focus on a personal sense of meaning and career direction consistent with their unique talents, aspirations, and vision for living." They are very helpful for helping you search for jobs, write your resume, and succeed at phone and job interviews.

You should also consult the alumni website and the The University of Scranton Career Network. Alumni networks are useful for making contacts for possible job opportunities.

So what kinds of jobs can Neuroscience graduates get?

The first jobs that would probably come to your mind are ones that directly utilize your science knowledge. Examples of such careers would include:

  • Pharmaceutical sales - while the primary skills of salespeople would be salesmanship, interpersonal relations, and networking, drug companies often look for people who understand the science behind their products so that they can converse intelligently with doctors. Biology graduates who have good interpersonal skills would make great pharmaceutical sales representatives.
  • Data analysts - many companies (especially pharmaceuticals and scientific manufacturing companies) need experts who can process and analyze data (such as clinical research).
  • Private school teacher - while many public schools require that teachers have an undergraduate degree in Education, some private schools do not.
  • Government agencies  - these government agencies hire people in various capacities for field research, data collection and analysis, and other general tasks. Employment at government agencies can be very rewarding and secure.
  • EMTs and other health care professionals

Ones careers that you could explore are ones that rely on your laboratory skills and training. Examples of such careers would be

  • Laboratory technicians - many pharmaceutical and chemical companies (such as Merck, Sanofi-Pasteur, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, etc.) hire biology graduates with laboratory experience to work in their research laboratories or drug manufacturing facilities. Graduates who opt for such a career path are paid quite well, and have many opportunities for career advancement
  • Academic Research - research laboratories in universities hire undergraduates as research technicians to assist faculty, post-doctoral scientists, and graduate students to conduct research and support the laboratory. While these jobs do not pay as well, many of them come with educational benefits.
  • Research technicians for public and non-profit agencies - companies like public utilities (water, power) often hire researchers to conduct work such as water quality testing, environmental impact assessment, etc.
  • Clinical Research Administrators (CRA) - a CRA is a person who oversees extramural contract research (typically for drug companies). For example, big companies that need to do drug testing will send the drug out to local hospitals, who conduct the research. CRAs coordinate and oversee these projects, and report back to the drug company. While CRAs often need additional education and training, the financial rewards are worthwhile. See the Society for Clinical Research Associates for more information, as well as links for CRA courses.

While the jobs above may be obvious career paths, do not restrict yourself in your job search to these jobs. Remember that as a Biology graduate, you hold a college degree that puts you on the same competitive field as graduates from every other major. So do not limit your search to "science related" jobs. For example, here is a sampling of other jobs that our Biology graduates have gotten in the past - some of these may surprise you:

  • Customer service and support for non-science related companies
  • Managerial positions
  • Law school
  • Self-employed/start your own business
  • Writers (medical writers or non-medical writers)
  • Military service
  • Social Services (for example, working with the City of Philadelphia)
  • Ecotourism travel agent/guide

Bottom lines:

Do not restrict yourself to looking at just the science related jobs. There is a world of opportunity out there, so broaden your horizons!

When you look for jobs, be aggressive in your job search. Believe and know that you are qualified for more than just science jobs.

Keep an open mind