Science Education & Outreach

There are multiple pathways for PhD scientists within science education and outreach careers, across a broad realm of industries including K-12 educational institutes, teaching-intensive academic positions, museums, nonprofits, government, and research institutions. Positions can involve activities like teaching internship programs, guest experience, creation of innovative educational programming, event organization, and more. They are typically defined as needing to “wear many hats” in that you will most likely be in charge of many initiatives and responsibilities. Careers in Science Education and Outreach all highly value skills in written and oral communications, teamwork, cultural competency, flexibility, and creative problem solving. Trainees can further develop these skills through communicating their science to diverse audiences, mentoring and training junior scientists, and through more administrative tasks involving teams and event planning. Volunteering for graduate or postdoctoral committees, taking on an intern, or taking advantage of the myCHOICE internships are great avenues to gain this experience.

  • Funding Research Programs at Liberal Arts Colleges (Spring 2023)
  • Careers for PhDs in Environmental Policy, Education & Outreach (Fall 2022)
  • Teaching Careers in Higher Education (Winter 2022)
  • Teaching Remotely: Lessons Learned & New Ideas (Winter 2021)
  • Teaching Fellowships: How to Find Them, What to Do With Them (Autumn 2019)
  • Forging Career Paths from Outreach Experiences (Winter 2019)
  • Teaching Fellowships: How to Find Them, What to Do With Them (Autumn 2018)
  • How to Land a Faculty Position at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (Autumn 2018)
  • High School is the New Tenure-Track Job: Living Like a Professor while Teaching 9th Grade (Spring 2018)
  • Careers in Museum Curatorship (Winter 2018)
  • Science Communication in the Digital Age (Winter 2017)
  • Funding Research at Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities (Autumn 2016)
  • Careers in Science Outreach and Education (Spring 2016)
  • Why Science Needs Your Voice: Science Literacy and Outreach (Winter 2016)
  • What it means to be a STEM teaching consultant at an R1 university (Autumn 2015)
  • Careers in Teaching and Learning Centers and Programming for STEM Trainees (Autumn 2015)
  • Paths Into Museum Education, Curation, and Management (Autumn 2015)
  • BioTeach TA+ Workshop (Spring 2015)
  • Teaching at a Liberal Arts College Panel (Winter 2015)
  • Science Teaching Careers: Jobs at liberal arts colleges and beyond (Autumn 2014)


Examples of institutions where you could work in this field:

K-12 Educational Institutions
Outreach Organizations
Teaching-Intensive Universities

Examples of job titles that you might find at those institutions:


Professional societies that are relevant to this career category:

Association of Science-Technology Centers
National Science Education Leadership Association
National Science Teachers Association

Alumni Working in Science Education & Outreach

Patricia Ward

PhD Molecular Genetics Cell Biology 1999
Director, Science Exhibitions & Partnerships, Museum of Science and Industry

What did you do as a trainee to prepare for your current career?
I did not intentionally prepare for my museum career. I pursued a graduate degree and did post-doctoral research because of my deep interest in science and because I enjoyed doing basic science research. I got into museum work serendipitously, but it was my science training, experience and content knowledge that provided an entry point into this fascinating and rewarding career.

What are the typical things your job entails each day?
As a department head, I am generally leading teams in the creative development and design of exhibitions or other initiatives. Much of my work involves guiding these teams in the development of content and design plans, visitor experiences, learning objectives and overseeing the final production of exhibitions. Along with this work is the continual fostering and development of external and internal partnerships that synergize with our efforts to create meaningful and compelling exhibitions. I also have staff and budgets to manage, and internal museum business and administrative work.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding parts of my work are seeing the public enjoy and learn from the tangible products of our work–the exhibitions. I also really enjoy the broad array of topics and ideas that I am continually immersed in and learning about. There are always new challenges.

Heather King

PhD Integrative Biology 2012
Associate Project Director, Outlier Research & Evaluation

What did you do as a trainee to prepare for your current career?
I took every opportunity to volunteer or otherwise gain experience in my chosen field. Being an IGERT trainee helped with this but I did a lot outside that scope, too.

What are the typical things your job entails each day?
Research, synthesis, client relations, writing, public speaking, planning and organization of resources and people.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
My colleagues are very good to work with and I look forward to jointly tackling our research questions each day.

Gregory Davis

PhD Developmental Biology 2002
Associate Professor of Biology, Bryn Mawr College

What did you do as a trainee to prepare for your current career?
When I was a graduate student and a postdoc I saw my future self in a more research intensive position and didn’t really know much about small liberal arts colleges, especially ones in which the faculty maintain active, smaller scale research programs. When I got the job I was really happy that I had spent time mentoring undergraduates and acting at a teaching assistant, but in hindsight a more active role in teaching, especially as a primary instructor, probably would have helped me in those first couple of years when I faced a fairly steep learning curve.

What are the typical things your job entails each day?
A typical day involves prepping for and then teaching for an hour or two, a bit of lab work, meeting with students from my courses, meeting with the students working in my lab, maybe a departmental or committee meeting, and perhaps writing a letter of recommendation. It can get pretty crazy, there’s no doubt, but in the end I do love the mix of teaching and research, especially when they intersect, which they often do.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Although working with undergraduates exclusively can sometimes make me feel like I’m reinventing the wheel, the good part is that undergraduates are often naively enthusiastic, really relishing the promise of discovery and reminding me of why I went into science in the first place.