Science careers you can pursue without a bachelor’s degree
When you were in school, did you enjoy excavating fossils, pouring one beaker into another to watch a reaction or dissecting a frog to see how its systems worked? Did you feel most at home in the lab, excited to see what truths you would uncover?
You were probably a science wizard, whether you loved earth science, physics, biology or chemistry.
But when it came time to pick a career, you might not have realized that science can be part of your everyday work even if you aren’t a scientist. There are actually many jobs that incorporate aspects of science. You also might not have realized that you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to pursue a career in science.
If you have a passion for science but don’t have a bachelor’s degree, consider some of these careers.
- Medical Assistant: If you’re interested in the medical side of science, a medical assistant program could be a good fit for you.1 Medical assistants measure vital signs, prepare blood samples for the lab and even administer injections. They often have training in anatomy, biology and chemistry. Although formal education is not required to become a medical assistant in most states, employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed postsecondary education programs.1 Medical assistant programs often offer a diploma upon completion, and some schools offer two-year associate degree programs for medical assisting.
- Pharmacy Technician: Another STEM career option you can pursue without a bachelor’s degree is becoming a pharmacy technician.1 Pharmacy technicians are typically responsible for collecting information needed to fill a prescription, measuring amounts of medications, packaging and labeling prescriptions and organizing inventory. They often learn the names, doses and uses of medications and also have strong math skills. In order to become a pharmacy technician, one might have to complete postsecondary education.1 Pharmacy tech programs could include training that leads to a diploma certification or even an associate degree.
- Physical Therapy Assistant: Again in the medical field, physical therapy assistants are responsible for observing patients during and after therapy, helping patients do specific exercises, treating patients and using devices and equipment to help educate patients. In order to become a physical therapy assistant, you must have an associate’s degree.1 Those pursuing physical therapy assistant education typically study anatomy, physiology and psychology.
- Cosmetologist: Although it may not seem like a typical science, cosmetologists must have a knowledge of chemistry to change hair colors and textures. In order to become a cosmetologist, you must be licensed and graduate from a state-approved cosmetology program, where students typically earn a diploma.1
- Process Technology: Process technology is about the various systems needed to ensure industrial plants operate smoothly in order to produce goods. Process technicians help control and operate components to help things run smoothly in a variety of plants from power to water. Becoming a chemical technician is just one way to work in this field. Working as a chemical technician typically includes assisting chemical engineers and chemist in researching and developing chemical products and processes. Working in this branch of process technology most likely will require an associate’s degree in applied science or two years postsecondary education.1
1 Employment is not guaranteed for students or graduates.
- What a medical assistant does
- How to become a medical assistant
- Medical assistants typically complete postsecondary education
- Medical assistant programs might result in a diploma or associate degree
- What pharmacy technicians do
- How to become a pharmacy technician
- Pharmacy technicians might need postsecondary education
- What physical therapy assistants do
- How to become a physical therapy assistant
- Physical therapy assistant education
- What cosmetologists do
- How to become a cosmetologist
- Chemical technician
- What chemical technicians do
- How to become a chemical technician