OITE’s Career Options Series will give you a snapshot overview of different career paths. The goal of this series is to help you explore a variety of different options by connecting you to new resources. A large part of making a good career decision is done by gathering information about that field. We encourage you to follow up this online research by conducting informational interviews with individuals in each field. Search the NIH Alumni Database to find alums doing similar work.
The field of Science Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) is an umbrella term that refers to the education and generation of public awareness of science and its relevant topics and methods. According to NASA, this encompasses increasing the general public’s understanding of engineering, technologies, and education, and engagement in improving the quality of scientific pursuits in these areas. Positions in E/PO arise in a wide variety of settings, including public and private primary and secondary education, zoos, museums, and both non-profit and for-profit companies and organizations. Hiring institutions typically hire candidates with bachelors, masters, or doctoral degrees, and a variety of skill sets are typically used, including science curriculum development, program management, teaching, research, and administrative work such as assembling educational material.
Sample Job Titles
Program Director/Manager OR Analyst/Coordinator/Specialist; Outreach Coordinator; Science Writer/Educator; Online Communications Specialist; Career Development and Outreach; Science Exhibit Developer; Teacher; Learning Coordinator; etc.
Many universities and schools do science education and outreach, so those are great places to start. However, also remember to look at many professional associations as they often have a department dedicated to education and outreach. Additionally, consulting firms could be a place to make a contribution to this field. Just make sure the organization works with schools or agencies of interest to you.
University of Massachusetts Medical School
University of Maryland
George Mason University
Society for Science & the Public
Chemical Educational Foundation
Mercy: The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program
Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids
U.S. Department of Education
The Schott Foundation for Public Education
Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
Cognitive Professional Services Inc.
Many, many more! COMMENT below with organization suggestions.
– Communication skills, including: presenting as well as writing
– Scientific/Media Writing
– Program Development
– Website Development
– Multimedia outreach/communication
– Web design
– Data analytics
– Program management
– Research methods and data analysis
– Interpersonal communication skills
Professional Organizations/ Resources
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Presidential Management Fellowship
National Association for Science Teachers