Resources - Nontraditional Careers for Scientists
In researching my book (Nontraditional Careers for Chemists), I spent a lot of time looking for professional societies, educational opportunities, and articles that would provide more information about careers in fields that intersect with chemistry. Below are the (continually updated) results of that research. If you know of other resources that should be included, please let me know!
If you need inspiration, I've compiled a list of nontraditional careers for scientists, as well as a list of people who majored in chemistry, and went on to become famous in other fields, and there are several other good books on the topic.
There are also some traditional, but hidden careers for chemists, including process chemistry (kilomenter blog, C&EN article), process development, and formulations.
I have provided steps for moving your career in a new direction, as well as resources for all sorts of related fields.
Good General Resources
- American Film Institute (www.afi.com/) - Catalyst Workshop weekend focused on storytelling and screenwriting
- ACS Division of Chemical Information (www.acscinf.org/cinf/) electronic mailing list
- American Medical Writers Association (amwa.org) - professional organization
- American Medical Association (ama-assn.org) conducts research and periodically holds conferences on the topic of peer review
- American Book Producers Association (www.abpaonline.org/)
- Association of American Publishers (publishers.org) - trade association
- Careers in Science Writing, Editing, Broadcasting, and Public Relations (blogs.sciencemag.org/sciencecareers/2009/02/science-writing.html) - list of resources from ScienceCareers
- A Guide to Careers in Science Writing (http://casw.org/casw/guide-careers-science-writing)
- CHMINF-L (Chemical Information Sources Discussion List (http://www.indiana.edu/~cheminfo/network.html)
- Chemical Information Sources Wiki (http://cheminfo.informatics.indiana.edu/cicc/cis/index.php/Main_Page) - guide to the many sources of reference materials available for those with questions related to chemistry
- Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (http://casw.org/ and their Career Guide)
- Council of Science Editors (councilscienceeditors.org)
- Editorial Freelancers Association (the-efa.org) - professionl organization for freelance editors.
- Going Hollywood, http://cen.acs.org/articles/89/i44/Hollywood.html
- Hughes Biopharma Advisers LLC - tips for aspiring medical writers
- Medical Communications, Getting Started Guide - sponsored by Carys Mills Recruitment and UBC-Envision
- Medical Writing and Editing Certificates and classes, University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies
- National Organization of Research evelopment Professionals (nordp.org) - work at universities, role is to forge new partnerships, act as interlocutors, create support systems, and form teams that span disciplinary bounds and multiple institutions and obtain researc funding
- National Association of Science Writers (nasw.org) - helps journalists improve their craft and encourage conditions that promote good science writing
- Publishing - Webinar featuring Darla Henderson, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Editorial Development, ACS on careers in science publishing.
- Resources for Independent Technical Writers
- SF Bay Area Editor’s Forum - (www.editorsforum.org/)
- Science writing - University of California-Santa Cruz, MIT, Boston College, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Wisconsin all have one to two year programs that are highly recommended
- Society for Scholarly Publishing (sspnet.org)
- Society for Technical Communication (stc.org)
- Scientific Communication (stcsig.org/sc) Special Interest Group
- Environmental, Safety and Health Communication (stcsig.org/esh) Special Interest Group
- Special Libraries Association (sla.org) - nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners
- TECHWR-L (http://www.techwr-l.com/techwhirl/index.php3) - diverse and active community of technical communicators, including electronic mailing list and searchable archives
- Technical Writing Career Advice from 11 Experts
- Women in Film (wif.org) - their purpose is to empower, promote, nurture, and mentor women in the industry through a network of valuable contacts, events, and programs
- Writer’s Market (writersmarket.com) - lists publications that may contract for articles from freelance writers
- Writers Write Writer’s Guidelines Directory (writerswrite.com/guidelines) - online database of publications that accept submissions
- University of Montana, Bozeman MT (www.montana.edu/)- the only science documentary film program in the country, a two year program sponsored by Discovery Science and Sony
- The 21st -Century Chemistry Library, Sophie Rovner, Chemical and Engineering News, 10 October 2005, pages 52-53.
- American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Information (acscinf.org/cinf/) - source for maintaining professional competency in information resources, information technology, and information policy
- ACS CINF (altchemcareers.wordpress.com/) - blog on careers in chemical information
- American Society of Indexers (asindexing.org) - professional organization devoted to the advancement of indexing, abstracting, and database building
- American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) (asis.org) - society for information professionals leading the search for new and better theories, techniques, and technologies to improve access to information
- Association of American Publishers (publishers.org) - trade association of the book publishing industry
- Association of Independent Information Professionals (aiip.org) - provides a wealth of resources for those who want to know more about the information industry and independent information professionals
- Careers in Chemical Information (http://mail.sci.ccny.cuny.edu/~phibarn/barnett94.html) - links to resources on careers in chemical information
- Cheminfo - Chemical Information Source - (www.indiana.edu/~cheminfo/) - designed to help people find and learn how to use chemical information resources on the Internet and elsewhere
- Chemical Information Sources Wiki (cheminfo.informatics.indiana.edu/cicc/cis/index.php/Main_Page)
- Chronicle of Higher Education (chronicle.com) - lists openings for academic librarians
- Drexel University - offers a Master of Science with specialization in Management of Digital Information and Information/Library Services - see www.cis.drexel.edu/grad/ms/ , or the online program at www.cis.drexel.edu/grad/mslis_online/
- ELD-NET (http://mailman2.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/eldnet-l) - electronic discussion list addressing issues related to or of interest to engineering and related subject area libraries and librarians
- Guide to Careers in Abstracting and Indexing, Anne Marie Cunningham and Wendy Wicks, NFAIS, 1992.
- History of Chemical Information - (www.tu-harburg.de/b/hapke/infohist.htm#chemical)
- Indiana University School of Informatics (www.informatics.indiana.edu) - offers a Master of Science in Chemical Informatics
- International Union of Applied and Pure Chemistry (iupac.org) - chemical terminology and nomenclature
- NFAIS (nfais.org) - serves groups that aggregate, organize, and facilitate access to information
- Salary information (http://www.acscinf.org/) - see Publications link
- Society for Scholarly Publishing (sspnet.org) - works to advance scholarly publication and communication and the professional development of its members
- Special Libraries Association (sla.org) - The local chapter or chemistry division are especially relevant
- University of Indiana (http://www.slis.indiana.edu/) offers a masters degree in library science with a specialization in chemical information.
- What kind of library is right for you? Phil Barnett discussed the differences between a corporate and an academic library his presentation at the 2000 Careers Symposium. Making the Transition from Special to Academic Librarianship.
- Dealing With Data Deluge: Chemical informatics professionals help scientists cope with and benefit from information overload, Career & EmploymentJuly 17, 2006 Volume 84, Number 29 pp. 93-94, 96.
Patents and Law
- "The Chemist's Companion Guide to Patent Law", by Chris P. Miller and Mark J. Evans, published by J Wiley, 2010.
- American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law (abanet.org/intelprop/home.html)
- ACS Division of Chemical Information (http://www.acscinf.org/) - especially their electronic mailing list
- ACS Division of Chemistry and the Law (http://www.acs-chal.org/)
- American Intellectual Property Law Association (aipla.org) - Association of attorneys specializing in the practice of intellectual property law.
- Dialog (dialog.com) - periodically runs workshops on patent searching
- Free Patents Online (freepatentsonline.com) - searchable database
- Patent bar exam (http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/index.jsp)
- Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) (piug.org) - Premier organization for patent professionals. The web site has great links and the discussion list is free to join. Many companies advertise patent searching positions their discussion list.
- Patently-O blog (patentlaw.typepad.com) - great place to learn about the type of issues of interest to intellectual property attorneys
- Pharmaceutical Education & Research Institute (peri.org) - periodically teaches an onsite, 2 day course called "Patent Information for Pharma/Biotech"
- Questel (questel.com/) - offers periodic workshops
- Special Libraries Association (sla.org)
- STN (www.stn-international.de/home.html) - offers free patent information workshops periodically
- United States Patent and Trademark Office (uspto.gov)
- "A Patently Satisfying Career", Chemical & Engineering News, November 6, 2006, pages 56-58.
- "Chemists in the Law", Chemistry Magazine, Winter 2007
Sales and Marketing
- American Chemistry Council (americanchemistry.com) - represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry
- ExecuNet (Execunet.com) - network for Executive Jobs, Career & Executive Recruiting Solutions
ISA (formerly the Instrument Society of America) (isa.org) - nonprofit organization for automation professionals
- Forbes/Wolfe (forbeswolfe.com) - insider's blog on the science, markets, and undiscovered trends of nanotech
- LinkedIn.com (linkedin.com) - online networking system
- Medzilla (medzilla.com) - job board for biotech, pharmaceuticals, health care and science
- MIT Enterprise Forum (mitforumcambridge.org) - Technology entrepreneur networking group
- Nanotechnology Business Alliance (nanobusiness.org) - creating a collective voice for the emerging small tech industry
- Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (alliance.rice.edu) - supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research
- Small Times (smalltimes.com) - news about MEMS, Nanotechnology and Microsystems
- Technical Sales Association (technicalsalesassociation.org) - professional organization for technical account managers
- Success Factors for Chemical Sales Careers - article descibing characteristics of successful chemical salespeople
- Air Force Technology Transfer Handbook (http://www.federallabs.org/education/t2trdb/profile/?id=540&dm=4)
- Association of University Technology Managers (www.autm.net) - nonprofit professional association for intellectual property managers and business executives
- BioSpace (biospace.com/) - Up-to-date industry news, stock quotes, company information, job postings and industry resources for all publicly traded biotechnology and pharmaceutical
- CCL (www.ccl.net) - electronic mailing list for issues in computational chemistry
- CHMINF-L listserver (https://listserv.indiana.edu/archives/chminf-l.html) - electronic mailing list for chemical information professionals
- International QSAR and Modelling Society (www.ndsu.nodak.edu/qsar_soc/index.htm) - organization for scientists who investigate quantitative structure-activity relationships in medicinal, agricultural, or environmental chemistry, by classical QSAR, multivariate statistical modelling, molecular modelling, and computer-aided drug design
- Licensing Executives Society (lesusacanada.org/) - professional society for those engaged in the transfer, use, development, manufacture and marketing of intellectual property
- Network Science Resource Center (www.netsci.org/About/) - pharmaceutical industry resources and articles, free online courses on drug discovery topics
- Postdoctoral Professional Masters (http://www.kgi.edu/Academic-Programs/Postdoc-Professional-Masters-Program-(PPM).html) - designed for PhD scientists to prepare them to commercialize technologies developed in laboratories
- Professional Science Masters (sciencemasters.com) - open to those with the bachelor’s degree in the sciences, this collection of 2 year programs include training in emerging or interdisciplinary fields that are designed to dovetail into career opportunities
- Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program at Case Western Reserve University (step.case.edu) - post-graduate program for scientists to build on their background and learn how to start new hi-tech businesses, or launch new products and services within existing companies. Includes an option to earn a 2-year Master of Science in Chemistry Entrepreneurship degree
- TinyTechJobs (tinytechjobs.com) - news, career information and job postings in nanotechnology, microtechnology, biotechnology, and information technology
- VentureWire (venturewire.com) - news, networking, and information about private technology companies, VC firms, and the people that manage and finance them
Regulatory Affairs/Product Stewardship
- Careers for 2002 and Beyond: Regulatory Affairs, by Corinne A. Marasco, Chemical and Engineering News, 02 December 2002, pages 75-80.
- American Chemistry Council (www.americanchemistry.com/s_acc/index.asp) - represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. They are highly involved in product stewardship and responsible care.
- American Industrial Hygiene Association (www.aiha.org) - dedicated to health and safety in the workplace, community, and environment.Food and Drug Administration (fda.gov) - responsible for protecting the public health
- Food and Drug Law Institute (fdli.org) - provides high quality education and a neutral forum for the generation of ideas and discussion of law and public policy for its legal, policy, and regulatory communities
- Federation Internationale Pharmaceutiques (www.fip.org) - global federation of national organisations of pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists
- Management Sciences for Health (www.msh.org ) - seeks to increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of health services by improving management systems, promoting access to services, and influencing public policy
- National Academy of Science Press - Applications of Toxicogenomics Technologies to Predictive Toxicology and Risk Assessment and Toxicity Testing in the 21 Century; A Vision and a Strategy. Both published in 2007, these books can be read online for no charge, or purchased in pdf or paper versions.
- Office of Personell Management (opm.gov) - government opportunities, benefits
- Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (raps.org) - includes list of degree and certification programs
- Society for Hazardous Chemical Communication (www.schc.org/schcnewsite/home.php) - professional society organized to promote the improvement of hazard communication for chemicals
- Society of Toxicology (www.toxicology.org) - promotes the acquisition and utilization of knowledge in toxicology and aids in the protection of public health
- Strengthening a Workforce for Innovative Regulatory Science in Therapeutics Development - Workshop Summary from the National Academy of Sciences
- World Health Organization (WHO) (www.who.int) - United Nations specialized agency for health.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS , fellowships.aaas.org) - offers yearlong fellowships in science and technology policy. Also has tools for communicating science (communicatingscience.aaas.org) and Science and Policy Programs (aaas.org/spp/leadership)
- Association of Schools of Public Health (asph.org)
- European Medicines Agency (emea.europa.eu/) - European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicines
- Food and Drug Law Institute (fdli.org) - education and a neutral forum for the generation of ideas and discussion of law and public policy
- International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH, ich.org) - brings together the regulatory authorities of Europe, Japan and the United States and experts from the pharmaceutical industry in the three regions to discuss scientific and technical aspects of product registration.
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO, www.iso.org) - network of the national standards institutes of some 150 countries, with a central office in Geneva, Switzerland
- National Association of Science Writers (nasw.org)
- Office of Science and Technology Policy (ostp.gov) - exists to advise the Executive Office on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs
- Union of Concerned Scientists (ucsusa.org) - advocacy group using rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking to promote a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world
- Scientists and Engineers for America - (sefora.org) conducts programs on how to run for office.
Health and Safety
- Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene, 5th Edition, edited by Barbara A. Plog, MPH, CIH, CSP, and published by the National Safety Council, 2001.
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals, by the National Research Council, 1995. Free online edition at books.nap.edu/catalog/4911.html.
- American Board of Industrial Hygiene (abih.org) - aims to improve the practice and educational standards of the profession of industrial hygiene, by certifying persons qualified through training and experience
- American Industrial Hygiene Association (aiha.org) - international association serving the needs of occupational and environmental health professionals practicing industrial hygiene. Their consumer brochures include several that describe industrial hygiene as a profession
- American Society of Agronomy (agronomy.org) - Dedicated to the development of agriculture enabled by science, in harmony withenvironmental and human values
- Crop Science Society of America (crops.org) - professional organization dedicated to the advancement of crop science
- Soil Science Society of America (soils.org) - aims to advance the discipline and practice of soil science
- Division of Chemical Health and Safety, American Chemical Society (membership.acs.org/c/chas) - membership society for safety professionals and other scientists working to promote the responsible use of hazardous chemicals
- Environmental Protection Agency (epa.org)
- Laboratory Safety Institute (labsafety.org) - non-profit, international educational organization for health, safety and environmental affairsOccupational Safety and Health Administration
- United States Department of Labor, (osha.gov) - has Biweekly E-News Memo
- Environmental Science and Technology (pubs.acs.org/journals/esthag/) - journal published by the American Chemical Society
- Safety First (http://chronicle.com/article/Safety-First/129263/) - article on what academic safety officers really do
- Toxicology Resources - (http://www.buylowdrugs.com/pharmacy-articles/Medical-Toxicology-Resource.php) - Toxicology is the study of the effects of poisonous substances on the human body
- Union of Concerned Scientists (uscusa.org) - citizens and scientists for environmental solutions
- Watershed Management Council (watershed.org) - nonprofit group of professionals and others interested in proper management of watersheds
People (Human Resources)
- American Staffing Association (americanstaffing.net) - association of staffing companies
- Industrial Research Institute (iriinc.org) - business association of leaders in research and development, especially the Human Resources Group
- Kelley Scientific Services (www.kellyscientific.com) - provides scientific staffing to a broad spectrum of industries including: chemical, cosmetics, food science pharmaceutical, biomedical, consumer products, environmental, medial, clinical, petrochemical, and clinical research.
- National Association of Personnel Services (recruitinglife.com) - recruiting and staffing community
- Society for Human Resource Management (shrm.org) - international professional organization with over 500 local chapters in the United States
- Yoh Scientific Services (yohscientific.com) - provides long- and short-term temporary and direct placement of technology and professional personnel
- Stlrecuiting blog (stlrecruiting.com) - Jim Durbin's Recruiting, Staffing, Jobs and Job-seeker information from St Louis Missouri
- “Examination of the Employment Environment for Computational Chemistry”, Reviews in Computational Chemistry (2002), Kenny B. Lipkowitz and Donald B. Boyd., Editors, Wiley VCH, John Wiley and Sons, Volume 18, pages 293 - 319.
- “From Lab Bench to Laptop”, Chemical and Engineering News, 18 April 2005, Volume 83, number 16, pages 59-66.
- American Chemical Society (chemistry.org) - especially the COMP division at http://www.acscomp.org/
- Computational Chemistry List (ccl.net) - Founded in January 1991, a public e-mail list and web resource dedicated to all things computational chemistry related
- EuroQSAR (http://www.euroqsar2010.gr/27/article/english/27/18/index.htm) - conference organized by the International QSAR and Modelling Society
- Gordon Conferences (grc.org) - pretigiousinternational forum for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies.
- Joel on Software (joelonsoftware.com) - introduction into software development
- Society for Information Management (simnet.org) - Society for Information Management
Slashdot (slashdot.org) - general technology news and information
- "And Gladly Teach: A Resource Book for Chemists Considering Academic Careers" by a. Truman Schwartz, Ronald D. Archer, Amina K. El-Ashmawy, David K. Lavallee, and Rebecca Eikey, American Chemical Society, 2002. The booklet covers the decision to pursue an academic career, preparation for an academic career, the search for an academic position, and keeping an academic appointment. Available through the American Chemical Society, chemistry.org
- “A Guide to Classroom Instruction for Adjunct Faculty”, 2nd Edition, by John H. Reed, 2006. $15 from the American Chemical Society, chemistry.org or 800-227-5558.
- Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (www.aaalac.org) - promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through accreditation and assessment programs
- Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (aplu.org/)
- Association of University Technology Managers (autm.net/) - deal with economic development and university spin off companies, an important and expanding part of research administration
- ChemEd-L (mailer.uwf.edu/listserv/wa.exe?SUBED1=chemed-l&A=1) - Chemistry Education Discussion list
- Chem 13 News (chem13news.uwaterloo.ca/) - magazine for teachers of introductory chemistry courses
- Chronicle of Higher Education (chronicle.com) - employment listings
- EnCorps Teachers Program (www.encorpsteachers.org) - retiring or retired math, science and engineering professionals will be chosen to teach in California classrooms
- Hach Foundation Grants for teaching as a second career are now administered by the American Chemical Society, chemistry.org
- Hal’s Picks (http://www.jce.divched.org/JCEWWW/Features/HalsPicks/halspicks.php) - books correlated with topics likely to come up in introductory chemistry courses
- Journal of Chemical Education (jchemed.chem.wisc.edu) - premeire journal of research into chemical education
- National Center for Alternative Certification (teach-now.org or 866-778-2784) - provides information on alternative routes to certification in all United States.
- National Center for Education Information (www.ncei.com) - national source of information on education and teacher preparation
- Science (sciencemag.org) - articles of general science interest
- Society of Research Administrators (www.srainternational.org/sra03/index.cfm)
- Teach for America (www.teachforamerica.org) - summer program offering training for high school teaching
- UTeach - University of Texas program training match, science and computer science teachers (http://uteach.utexas.edu)
- Wisconsin Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure (www.dpi.state.wi.us/dpi/dlsis/tel/stand10.html)
- A Guide to Self-Employment - collection of articles from Business Week
- Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide, LLC or Corporation? How to Choose the Right Form for Your Business, and many others from Nolo Press
- Working From Home, Secrets of Self-Employment, and other books by Paul and Sara Edwards
- Mompreneurs, by Ellen Parlapiano and Patricia Cobe. Not specific to scientists, but lots of tips and things to think about for those with children who want to start a home-based business
- Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE, score.org)
- free and confidential mentoring on starting/running a business
- Biotech and Biotech Manufacturing Jobs in the Northeastern United States
- “Envisioning Science : The Design and Craft of the Science Image” by Felice Frankel, MIT Press, 2004.
- “Mastering Weave Structures : Transforming Ideas into Great Cloth” by Sharon Alderman, Interweave Press, 2004
- “Chemistry and Art”, Chemical and Engineering News, July 30, 2001, Volume 79, pages 51-59.
- The Canadian Conservation Institute (cci-icc.gc.ca)
- The Canadian Association for Conservation (cac-accr.ca)
- Conservation OnLine (palimpsest.stanford.edu) Resources for Conservation Professionals
- The American Institute for Conservation (AIC) (aic.stanford.edu) and their specialty group on Research and Technical Studies (RATS) (cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/rats/index.html)
- International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (iccrom.org/)
- The International Institute for Conservation (iiconservation.org)
- Visions of Science Photographic Awards (visions-of-science.co.uk) - yearly competition in the United Kingdom
- Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (careercornerstone.org) - SCCC is a resource center for those interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Includes general information and resources for pre-college students, college students and early career professionals. Fields covered include Aerospace Engineering, Bioengineering, Biology, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Engineering Technology, Geosciences, Industrial Engineering, Information Technology, Materials Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Physics
- TinyTechJobs (tinytechjobs.com) and the Foresite Nanotech Institute (foresight.org/) - news, career information and job postings in nanotechnology, microtechnology, biotechnology, and information technology.
- "The Practical Ph.D.: Can a Doctorate Help You Find a Job?", Grace Martin,
published May 2013.
- "From Bench to Management" by William G. Schultz, Chemical and Engineering News, November 5, 2007, pages 53-56.
- "Making the Industry to Academia Shift", by Susan J. Ainsworth, Chemical and Enginnering News, November 5, 2007, pages 57-60.
- "Should I stay or should I go?" by Kendall Powell, published in Nature 444, 782-785 (December 2006).
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Last updated 2013 May 10.
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