Careerapedia: The A-Z STEM careers list
From astrophysicists to zoologists, we hunt down the coolest science roles in the job-verse. And nope, they don’t require a lab coat.
Keep up to date with all things STEM careers by signing up to the Careers with STEM weekly e-newsletter!
A is for astrophysicist
These folk use physics and chemistry to test their theories about space.
Perk alert: Travelling the world to present at conferences becomes part of the gig!
B is for biotechnologist
Generally lab-bound, biotechnologists work on modifying things like living organisms to develop new products and improved systems.
Career crush: Kastoori Hingorani, with a PhD from ANU, is working on recreating the way plants harness the Sun’s energy, which would potentially replace fossil fuels!
C is for conservationist
Daily to-do lists include, managing natural habitats, introducing new ways to protect environments and advising farmers on land-based issues such as erosion control.
Study up: Look out for degrees in conservation biology, natural resource management and biomedical science.
D is for dietician
Dieticians help people understand the relationship between their health and food, providing nutritional advice to those with nutritional concerns.
Salary spill: $67,155, according to Payscale
Profile: Meet accredited dietician, Tim Cassettari, who is doing live-saving research! Learn more about the app improving gut health thanks to Monash University dieticians.
E is for ecologist
Like conservationists, ecologists are also concerned with preserving ecosystems, balancing the needs of landowners and environmental priorities.
Perk alert: You can start on-the-job training now by volunteering for your local eco not-for-profit.
Profile: Deakin University graduate James Hattam started his career as an ecologist, but later found his calling connecting people with conservation as CEO of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy Meet the ecotoxicologist monitoring pollution in our waterways.
F is for food technologist
Setting and improving the standards for the production of food is all in a day’s job. And the non-glamourous part? Studying food deterioration – yep, smelly.
Profile: As a product technologist for Coles, Bonny Rawson works with a team to bring new choice to the supermarket aisle. “It’s great because I’m not just stuck in the office,” she says. “I love being able to travel and work with different people, from supply chain and category managers, to suppliers – big and little. I love being around food, and eating it!” Read her full story here. Related: Jobs in food science Curious about a career in food? Here are four STEM + food CVs you need to see.
G is for geoscientist
Geoscientists study the Earth’s history and are often hired to hunt down gems, oils and other hidden resources.
Study up: Employees look favourably on honours degrees in science, engineering, maths and statistics. Check out the government-run Geoscience Australia Graduate Program, too.
H is for hydro metallurgist
Into chemistry? Why not manipulate metals and figure out how to turn them into higher value products.
Salary spill: Metallurgist salaries range from $115,000 to $135,000, according to Seek.
I is for immunologist
These specialist physicians manage the treatment of patients with diseases compromising the immunise system.
Perk alert: Due to an increase in the prevalence of allergies, there’s currently a shortage of immunologists in Australia and New Zealand, which means job opportunities galore.
J is for journalist
Specialised writing for mags, newspapers and online.
Career crush: Alice Klein! As the Australasian correspondent for New Scientist, climbing a dormant volcano – and writing about it – is all in a day’s work.
K is for kindergarten science teacher
Kindergarten teachers introduce STEM concepts to the next gen of talented scientists. Warning: experiments can get, er, seriously messy.
Study up: A teaching degree is a must, choose science-related electives.
There’s more than one way to teach science. Check out these creative science teachers. RELATED: Download our FREE STEM Educator Job Kit to super-charge your future with insights, information and advice on careers in STEM education.
L is for lab technician
Technicians head up the maintenance of lab tools and equipment, capture and sort data and ensure efficiency and accuracy.
Salary spill: The average salary is $64,679, according to Payscale.
M is for marine biologist
From blue whales to plankton, marine biologists study all things underwater. Bonus: you get to wear a wetsuit to the office!
Perk alert: Each day is different! You could be diving to collect data one morning and buried under research the next.
N is for neonatologist
These hospital-based specialists deal primarily with sick or preterm babies.
Career crush: Dr Adrienne Gordon! With a medical and public health degree in the bag, she’s currently leading the BABY1000 project – a ground-breaking developmental study of a baby’s first 1000 days.
O is for oceanographer
Oceanographers use biology, chemistry, geology and physics to conserve, manage, harvest and protect our oceans.
Study up: A degree in marine science is usually a minimum requirement.
P is for physiologist
With detailed knowledge of the human body, physiologists spend their time treating serious medical conditions through targeted exercise programs.
Salary spill: It depends on whether you work in a practice, gym or hospital, but you can expect around $62,691, according to Payscale.
Profile: Sport science is a great career area for bridging your interests with your skills, just ask sport scientist Tuguy Esgin. RELATED: Check out our STEM + sports hub for more awesome career ideas in this field!
Q is for quantum physicist
Quantum physicists manipulate atoms, electrons and photons to stretch the boundaries of physics.
Perk alert: Studying forces that shape the world? Sign. Us. Up.
Meet Kirsten Banks, the astrophysicist merging ancient Aboriginal science with modern Western science. RELATED: Read Careers with STEM: Quantum – our FREE digital magazine
R is for roboticist
Fluent in computer science and human-computer interaction design, roboticists conceptualise, build and program robotic systems, contributing to a variety of industries.
Career crush: Associate professor, Denny Oetomo! The deputy head of Monash University’s engineering department has devoted his career to developing medical robots that assist clinical professionals in providing better patient care.
Try your hand at robotics with a robot soccer competition! RELATED: Download our Robotics and Automation Engineer Job Kit – your introduction to robotics and automation jobs. Get inspired about jobs of the future!
S is for solar scientist
Solar scientists advise companies, corporates and governments on cutting-edge systems.
Study up: Start with a Bachelor of Science; you can specialise from there.
U is for urban statistician
Statisticians live for data. They play with numbers and stats to aid decision making in science, technology, medicine and government fields.
Perk alert: You’re basically solving problems all day.
V is for volcanologist
Apart from frothing over volcanoes, these specialised geoscientists study their formation and activity to help predict future eruptions.
Career crush: Macquarie University’s associate professor in volcanology and geochemistry, Heather Handley! She’s smashed a Bachelor of Science in geology, completed a PhD on the geochemistry of Indonesian volcanoes and now takes on eruption prediction projects.
W is for weather forecaster
Using specialised scientific techniques to understand what’s up with the weather, is all in a day’s work.
Study up: Look out for applied science and engineering degrees.
X is for X-ray expert
A.k.a. a radiographer or radiologist! Medical imaging professionals operate X-ray and imaging equipment to diagnose, monitor and treat patients.
Profile: Her own diagnosis inspired Zoe Gibbs to want to become a radiographer and treat people as part of an allied health team.
Y is for yard engineer
A yard engineer is someone who moves trains between tracks to keep them organised and on schedule. Y is a tricky one! Got any other suggestions for us? Shout them out below or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your ideas.
Z is for zoologist
These guys study the origin, development, behaviours and habitats of different living species.
Perk alert: Um, they have animals for co-workers!
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Get more Careers with STEM A-Z guides!
- The A-Z of health jobs
- The A-Z of medical jobs
- The A-Z of VET
- The A-Z of getting a job
- The A-Z of open day
- The A-Z of STEM degrees
- The A-Z of uni electives
- The A-Z of space careers
Author: Cassie Steel
Cassie Steel is a Sydney-based journalist who specialises in health, beauty, lifestyle, tech and entertainment content.