The A-Z of STEM careers

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.

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!   

Meet NASA engineer Beth Jens.

NASA engineer

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!

Read up on careers in biomedical engineering.

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.

Read more about conservation careers.

is for dietician

Dieticians help people understand the relationship between their health and food, providing nutritional advice to those with nutritional concerns.   

Salary spill: $60,000 on average.

Learn more about the app improving gut health thanks to Monash University dieticians.

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.

Meet the ecotoxicologist monitoring pollution in our waterways.

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. 

Career crush: Laura Welch! As a technologist at food and beverage company Lion, she develops flavours and runs new product trials.

Curious about other chemistry careers? Read all about them in our science careers list.

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.

See how this geoscientist found her calling.

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 can get up to $158,000.

Keen on chemistry careers? Discover more in our science careers list.

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.

Meet immunologist Sanam Mustafa.

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.

Read all about Alice Klein’s career in science communication.

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.

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: Up to $78,000 a year, depending on the field.

Check out the work that analytical chemist Amy Heffernan does in the lab.

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.

Vanessa Pirotta is the marine biologist testing whale health through their snot!

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. 

See how Carolyn McGregor uses skills in data science to save the lives of premature babies.

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. 

Oceanographer William Huiskamp once worked in Antarctica! See how he got there.

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 $65,000.

Sport science is a great career area for bridging your interests with your skills.

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.

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!

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.

See how solar thermal researcher Alex Post found his career path.

is for telecommunications technician

These peeps help telcos to install, create, repair and monitor their networks.   

Salary spill: Advertised gigs can go up to $83,000.

Meet Cameron Hunter, software engineer at Telstra.

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. 

Find out more about how Dr Lamiae Azizi uses numbers to work towards a cure for cancer!

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.

Find out more about what this geologist loved about studying at QUT.

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.

Take the quiz: What’s your STEM career?

is for X-ray expert

Medical imaging professionals operate X-ray and imaging equipment to diagnose, monitor and treat patients.

Salary spill: Average pay is around $86,000 mark.

Take this quiz to find out whether your future career is in science or health.

is for you tell US

Seriously, are there any STEM jobs that start with the letter Y? Yuckologist? School us at We’re stumped!

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!

Watch this video and discover 5 different careers that work with animals!

– Cassie Steel

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

Cassie Steel is a Sydney-based journalist who specialises in health, beauty, lifestyle, tech and entertainment content.



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