Research Scientist Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming a Research Scientist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Research Scientist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Research Scientist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become a Research Scientist

If pushing the boundaries of discovery is something that drives you, learn more about becoming a research scientist. This role may be right for you if you're willing to put in the hard work necessary to thrive in this outstanding career. From health care to big data, jobs are readily available in many industries. Start preparing now and follow these steps:
Contents

1

Review your personality traits.

Like in most challenging careers, your personal attributes play a huge role in your success as a research scientist. You should enjoy:

  • Administering scientific research.
  • Conducting experiments.
  • Recording results.
  • Analyzing data.
  • Publishing findings.
  • Public speaking.
  • Collaborating with other professionals.
  • Developing new products and methods.

2

Earn your graduate degree.

Now that you know you have the right personality traits to become a research scientist, the next thing to do is consider your education. A person must hold at least a bachelor's degree to work in this profession. If you plan to advance in your field, most employers require you to complete a master's or doctorate program.

Once you choose to pursue an advanced academic degree in your field of study, selecting the right major is the next essential part of this step. Students can study numerous scientific disciplines, and your career options are directly affected by your chosen path. Job openings are growing in many branches of science, so look for a program that will hold your interest, such as:

  • Biology.
  • Medicine.
  • Computer science.
  • Astronomy.
  • Physics.

What skills do you need to be a Research Scientist?

  • Excellent Communication
  • PHD
  • Graphpad Prism
  • Hplc
  • Written Communication
  • Protocols
  • Proteomics
  • Peptides
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Research Scientist in the United States.

3

Choose your career path.

When preparing for your career as a research scientist, understand that you can pursue a couple of traditional routes, including industry. Companies hire industrial research scientists to:

  • Develop new and better products.
  • Conduct research into new medical drugs.
  • Reduce the company's carbon footprint.

Academia research scientists primarily work for universities or other agencies with a focus on improving the human experience. Employers typically require a Ph.D. for those in this role, as many candidates also teach classes to college science students and budding researchers.

4

Accumulate on-the-job experience.

One of the best places to put your education to work is in the lab. While finding these opportunities to enter the workforce may prove difficult when you're just breaking into the profession, lab experience is essential to kick start this demanding career. You'll accumulate hands-on experience through:

5

Obtain your certification.

A professional certification is a powerful way to show potential employers that you know your stuff. Organizations such as the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) and Dell Technologies offer a variety of educational and certification services to novice research scientists, such as:

  • Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP)
  • Professional Researcher Certification (PRC)
  • Clinical Research Assistant
  • Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC)
  • Certification in General Surgery
  • Associate - Data Science Version 2.0

Seniority Levels

L1

Research Scientist I

2 - 4Years of Experience
$72,000 /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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L2

Research Scientist

2 - 4Years of Experience
$72,000 /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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80% advanced to

L3

Senior Research Scientist

2 - 4Years of Experience
$96,000 /yrAvg. Annual Salary
Learn More

Salary Trajectory

Research Scientist Career Path

$180K
$135K
$90K
$45K
$0
L1
L3
L5
L7
L9
Seniority Levels

Related careers in the Research & Science Industry

Interested in other Research & Science careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Research Scientist skills. Discover some of the most common Research Scientist career transitions, along with skills overlap.