Skip Navigation




Discover new facts about the natural world.

Salary Range

$65,000 - $99,500

What does a Scientist do?

Maybe as a kid you were fascinated by spider webs, quartz crystals, or constellations in the sky. And you were probably driving your parents crazy asking, “Why, why, why?” If you can carry that passion and curiosity about how things work into your adult life, you might be cut out to be a Scientist.

The term “Scientist” covers a lot of possible jobs, of course. If your job is research based (usually for a university or government agency), you could be honing in on the diets of vampire bats, the effects of hot peppers on taste buds, or the chemical makeup of Saturn’s ring.

In an applied science field, you would be gathering information and running procedures for a specific, immediate purpose: for example, using readings of past weather patterns to forecast future weather for a news program, or collecting and analyzing findings at a crime scene to be used as evidence in a case.

Either way, you won’t be tinkering with test tubes all the time; you’ll also have to work with people. Scientists don’t work in isolation, and a good deal of your time might be spent planning projects with a team, talking to funders, explaining your findings in plain English to non-Scientists, or training students to work as assistants.

If pure curiosity isn’t enough to keep you motivated, most careers in science also help people or the environment in some way. Goals like curing AIDS or saving an endangered species won’t be reached overnight, but your perseverance and continued experimentation may pay off down the line.

Was this helpful?YesNo