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5 Side Jobs for Scientists

If you’re a young scientist looking to improve your standard of living, consider working a remote side job from home. You can beef up your resume, improve your skills, and share your love of science with the whole world. Let’s take a closer look.

Jan 19, 2018
  • Education
  • Student Tips
5 Side Jobs for Scientists

It’s often the case that young scientists don’t earn enough money solely from their research to live comfortably. The silver lining? If you’re a young scientist, it’s an opportunity to learn about other career tracks in the scientific field. Not only that, you can also work a side job remotely, all while improving your resume.

Let’s take a closer look at side jobs for career scientists.

1. Scientific Writer

Scientists who can write well are in high demand—especially those who are willing to help other scientists write articles or proposals. Many scientists can also work as technical writers—companies are always looking for scientifically adept people to write user manuals, product safety information, and other technical documents. The beauty of working as a scientific writer is that you can work as much or as little as you want. You can contract with one company or look for several small jobs—you can usually negotiate your pay, too, based on your experience.

Looking for a place to start? Try HubPages, Kolabtree, and LinkedIn for ideas.

2. Consultant

Consulting jobs aren’t just for MBAs anymore. The rise of technology-based industries has increased the demand for expertise in science—that’s where you come in.

Tech firms regularly seek STEM PhDs for their scientific knowledge, technical background, and their ability to solve problems.

As a consultant, you’ll work collaboratively with a team in which you’ll leverage your problem-solving skills with your technical know-how. Working as a scientific consultant will also boost your resume and open other career doors—you’ll be eligible for positions in executive management and innovation, and other business-related careers.

3. Online Teacher

Teaching requires patience—but the payoff is amazing. If you’ve always wanted to try teaching, teaching in an online program may be the way to go for you.

While many online teaching platforms require teaching certification, some accept PhD students who have taught as teaching assistants. Another avenue? Online tutoring. Many online tutoring agencies require you to pass a certification exam—and if you do, you can tutor as much or as little as you like.

Online platforms like Khan Academy also rely heavily on scientists to write curriculum for online instruction and are often looking for people just like you to help out.

4. Entrepreneur

That’s right—you can start your own business with a STEM PhD. Starting your own business can be time-consuming and there’s no guarantee that it will work. However, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do and you have an idea for a marketable product and target audience, you can do it—and you should.

The key? Consistency and persistence.

Are you into sports? Sell something sports related. Are you really good at designing apps? Build one and sell it.

Beta-test everything you sell on digital bulletin boards like Craigslist and see how it goes.

You can use your scientific and tech skills to market something you like and make some extra money.

Who knows—it may just turn into something bigger than you expected.

5. Artist

Do something completely unrelated to your work as a scientist—act, sing, dance, teach a musical instrument.

It’s ok to separate your side job from your scientific life. Are you funny? Want to try stand-up? Write a humor column for the local paper? Go for it. Love theater? Try out for a play—or better yet, write one and get it produced.

Are you musically inclined? Offer music lessons. Grow your reputation by building up a client base of customers who want to work with you. If you’re not ready to strike out on your own yet, find a local music shop and teach lessons with them.

The bottom line with side jobs? Do something you care about and that gives you joy. Get your priorities in line with your goals, share your passion for science or art or music or whatever it is, and make some extra money doing it.

The key to success? Time management. Figure out how to manage your scientific research with your side job—dedicate a certain number of hours per week to your work and your passion.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you enjoy. Read more about science PhD programs.

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