Science Education & Outreach
Make science accessible and engaging to non-specialist audiences or specialists-in-training
Example job titles
Adjunct faculty | Assistant/associate Professor* | Classroom teacher | Communications manager for education/outreach | Community relations/involvement manager/specialist/analyst | Curriculum developer | Educator/instructor/lecturer | Education researcher/director* | Education/outreach specialist/coordinator/director | Educational software/content developer | Education technologist | Exhibit developer | Grants program manager* | K-12/classroom teacher | Learning officer | Medical science liaison* | Museum educator/guide | Program/project analyst/specialist | Program/project manager/director/coordinator* | Public events coordinator | Public information officer* | Online educator/education specialist | Science specialist | Undergraduate/high school/teacher/public outreach/research program coordinator
*These job titles appear in other career pathways
Additional keywords to find more information or job postings
Continuing medical education | E-learning | Flipped classroom | Formal science education | Higher education | Hybrid/blended learning | Informal science education | Instructional design | K12 education | K12 partnership/professional development | Primarily-teaching faculty (university, liberal arts college, community college levels) | Public outreach | Research experiences for undergraduates (REU) | Science outreach
Get up-to-speed & stay current
- Access resources in the "Read About Careers" section of myIDP, including currated articles, lists of professional societies, etc.
Look for the corresponding myIDP categories: Teaching intensive careers in academia | Science education for K-12 schools | Science education for non-scientists
- If you are not familiar with the US educational system check out this brief explanation (more details about teaching in the US can be found in the book "Teaching American Students: a guide for international faculty and teaching assistants in colleges and universities" in the library collection)
- Read articles on the latest best practices and research in educational research journals (e.g. CBE Life Sciences) and newsletters from professional societies
- Make a database of institutions with Centers for Scientific Teaching and Learning
- Attend a Gordon Research Conference related to science education and communication
- Get additional advice on how you can prepare for this career from scientists who have recently transitioned into a role in this field, as well as from those who have made hiring decisions.
Build your network
- Express your interests to faculty and colleagues on campus who can point you to local teaching opportunities and contacts.
- Participate in education-focused workshops and sessions at scientific conferences.
- Reach out to representatives from education and/or outreach -focused committees of the professional societies you and/or your research advisor are affiliated with.
- Attend the annual Massachusetts STEM Summit to network with policymakers and educators interested in K-12, higher, and informal science education.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and use it strategically to expand your network.
Get training & experience
- Share your scientific expertise with the public at a science café.
- Volunteer part-time at a museum or science center—such as Worcester's EcoTarium or the Tower Hill Botanic Garden—as a docent, guide, or educator.
- Provide access to science to underserved communities - for instance UMass Medical volunteers produce Science Journal for Audio Journal, a radio broadcast service for individuals with low or no vision
- Develop your skills in presentation and teaching. Good teaching requires good communication. Check out the Science Communication pathway for more ideas for practice and training.
- Teach a lecture or course. Incorporate instructional materials that have been reviewed and evaluated by educational research experts from sources such as the Yale University Center for Scientific Teaching.
- Tutor students in science.
- Help a faculty member update their course curricula.
- Contribute to a blog or start your own that is targetted towards a non-expert audience.
- Judge a science fair or give a guest lecture at a local K12 school.
- Mentor a junior scientist, applying best practices in mentoring and leadership/management (view books in our library).
Deeper training opportunities & experiences
- Apply to participate in training programs in scientific teaching offered by research institutes and professional societies, for example:
- Partner with a teacher or school administrator to provide professional development to K-12 teachers
- Pursue postdoctoral training with a focus on teaching, such as:
- Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA)
- Curriculum Fellows at Harvard Medical School
- Fellowships in Research & Science Teaching at Emory University
- Scientific Teaching Fellows Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Pursue postdoctoral training to transition toward a career in biology education research
Gearing up for a career transition?
- All transitions (even those that are positive, desired, and successful) involve some amount of stress. This article on "Understanding the Impact of Change" from the NIH OITE blog offers a practical approach for considering an upcoming transition and doing a brief self-assessment to navigate change effectively.
Have a suggestion? Know of a great local opportunitity? Let us know.