How Do I Become a Project Scientist?

M. Kayo

In order to become a project scientist, a college degree in the relevant field is going to be required by most employers. Depending upon the type of work you will be doing and who you will be working for, you may also need to acquire some sort of professional certification from the state or region where you are working. This career path is also very reliant on peer recommendations and work performance. Project scientists are typically employed by large and small companies, governments, and government agencies to perform research and scientific activities that investigate hazardous waste sites, assess environmental situations, provide emergency responses to disasters, and even investigate and assess counter-terrorism incidents.

Project scientist must complete oxicology, chemistry and biochemistry coursework.
Project scientist must complete oxicology, chemistry and biochemistry coursework.

A bachelor's degree specific to the area of work to be performed is required to become a project scientist. For example, if you desire to become a project scientist and work on environmental issues, you will likely need to focus your college coursework on subjects like toxicology, chemistry, environmental engineering, biochemistry, and biology. A project scientist working with a geo-spatial intelligence agency should acquire a bachelors degree which focuses primarily on computer science, mathematics, imaging science, geodesy, or photogrammetry.

If you are going to become a project scientist in any scientific discipline, you are going to have to be ready for the review process. Peer review is common in this line of work, especially when you are ready to move up to a new or higher position. Typically, peer review focuses on your ability to demonstrate significant contributions from your research or project work, professional competence, and the type of activities in which you engage in pursuing your daily duties as a project scientist. In order to become a project scientist, you need exceptional spoken and written communication skills to get your ideas, work, and research noticed by your scientific peers.

Becoming a project scientist requires previous experience, except possibly for entry-level positions. As with most upper-level and management jobs, experience counts for a lot in this particular scientific field. If you focus on a specific scientific discipline, you will be more likely to gain experience in that specific discipline. Getting your work published may also help to make other potential employers aware of your experience.

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