Science writing and communication careers

What does a Career in Science Writing and Communication look like?

Working in science communication encompasses a variety of careers, from traditional journalism, working for scientific journals (i.e. Nature, Science, Cell) to public outreach. Careers exist for general interest scientific publications (i.e. Scientific American, National Geographic), Universities, Federal agencies (NIH, NASA), or even textbook writing. Effective science communication is critical to having a positive impact on the way science is viewed by the public. A PhD is valued in many of these careers. Read more about this from Robert Irion of the University of California, Santa Cruz's Science Communication Program. 

The type of career that is right for you will be related to the audience you want to reach. For example, do you want your audience to be the public, doctors or those in the medical field, scientific researchers, or investors for biotech companies? You will also want to consider the format of your communication. For more information, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has resources on Science Communication and Journalism.

Want to know more about Science Writing?  Check out this book or even this one. Sciencemag writer Jim Austin shares some resources for those interested in Science Writing and editing here or you can visit this Duke University page to learn more about careers in academic publishing.

Some Science Writers become freelance journalists. Learn more about how a scientist becomes a freelance writer from Stephanie Chasteen, some survival secrets published by Sciencemag, and some solid advice from Chris Tachibana of iBiology. 

Ready to get started?  Read about making the transition in The Open Notebook and this Science article titled "Building a Career in Science Communication."  Click here for Practical Science Communication Strategies for graduate students.

 

What are some job titles to search related to Science Writing and Communication?

  • Advisory or Associate Editor
  • Communications Director
  • Communications Specialist
  • Copy-Editor
  • Editor-in-Chief
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Editorial Board Member
  • Freelance Science Journalist
  • Managing Editor
  • Medical Affairs Manager
  • Medical Affairs Publications Manager
  • Medical Writer
  • Outreach Scientist
  • Public Information Officer at a University or College
  • Public Relations Counselor
  • Research Analyst
  • Scientific Advisor (to a law firm or venture capital firm)
  • Science Communicator
  • Science Editor
  • Science Feature Writer
  • Science Journalist/Book Author
  • Science News Editor
  • Science Outreach Program Manager
  • Science Writer
  • Scientific Communications and Writing (Public Relations)
  • Social Media Manager
  • Technical Editor

 

Get experience and build a portfolio

There are many ways to get scientific writing and communication experience. Some examples include:

*Note that these are just examples and deadlines occur throughout the year. Plan ahead.

 

Examples of organizations who hire PhDs

  • Scientific Journals such as PLoS, Cell Press, Nature Reviews, PNAS, American Society for Biochemistry, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and Molecular Biology
  • Non-profits such as iBiology and Organ Preservative Alliance
  • Government funded agencies such as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), NASA, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • Biotech companies such as Addgene, Genentech, Bio-rad, Promega
  • Universities such as UCSF, Penn State University, John Hopkins University, Duke University
  • Exploratorium
  • Forbes
  • Russo Partners
  • ACUMED+
  • Envision Pharma Group+
  • Evoke Health+
  • SCIENOMICS group+
  • Meditech Media+
  • BGB communications+
  • Health Interactions+
  • Caudex Medical+
  • Articulate Science+
  • CMC+
  • Fishawack Communications+
  • Mudskipper+

+see dropoutclub.org/resources

 

Find your Community

 

Is Science Writing and Communication a good fit for you?

MyIDP Results Page

Good question! Find out by completing the AAAS's My Individual Development Plan Assessment Tool, which OCPD co-created. Answer three assessments and it will calculate and compare your skills/interests/values responses to key factors for 60 different career paths within 20 different career categories that are options for you as a scientist (including consulting!). Click on the image to the left to see a sample report.

 

 

 

Ready to start your job search?  

Take a look at some example job descriptions

**these are meant to serve only as examples. Actual job listing may be closed.

Visit HigherEdJobs.com to see an example job search in Editing and Publishing

 

Internship opportunity examples.

**these are meant to serve only as examples. Actual job listing may be closed.

 

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