How Do I Get Science Work Experience?
Science work experience is usually obtained through educational programs and internships. It is important to understand that work experience in this case is often equivalent to research experience, because much of a scientist's job often involves research. Teaching experience and other technical forms of science work experience may require special internships. Most of the time, this type of training is in a particular scientific field, not science more generally.
One of the best ways to get science work experience is to attend a college degree program in a scientific field such as biology or chemistry. These programs are often allied with employers who can provide internships, which can be used as experience when trying to get a job. Some programs even require an internship for graduation. Even at the undergraduate level, employment as a student within the university's science program is usually available. This type of experience often involves research, but may involve assisting with other aspects of a science professor's job.
Career experience is complicated because it depends on the field in which you will be working. What counts as relevant can be quite broad because the general skills required to conduct research are often transferable between projects. Even so, it is usually valuable to have experience in a specific discipline. As most work experience and internships involve performing lower-level work, it is usually not essential to work on a project in which you are particularly interested.
Another way to get science work experience is to apply for programs outside of a college. There are many industries that welcome potential future workers, and some companies may even fund work experience to attract valuable talent. In other cases, this type of experience is more like taking a summer course and may more closely resemble a structured class. Even primarily academic experience is helpful to put on resumes.
There are also special science work experience programs designed for teachers and other people who may benefit from additional scientific knowledge. Gaining exposure to scientific research can be valuable for teachers at all levels, but may be particularly useful for high school teachers. For future science teachers, getting experience with teaching will be part of any degree program, but volunteering to teach science to younger students can be an exciting way to bolster a resume.
Getting science work experience usually happens naturally, but there are things that a student can do to help his or her chances of getting interesting experience. Applying to internships early is always a good plan, and working with an adviser to identify possible programs can be helpful. The most important thing to remember when looking for experience is that any experience at all can help a student get into a better program later on, so getting involved at the earliest point possible is a good idea.
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