What image comes to mind when you think of working in bioscience research and development? Is it the mad scientist rushing between fizzing test tubes and oddly colored Petri dishes? Is it a clean room with a bunny-suit clad Ph.D. removing a specimen from a beaker? Or maybe you’re envisioning an oncologist carefully examining tissue samples under a microscope.
Perhaps you thought of all of these things. And the fact is there’s a pretty good chance that whatever you’ve imagined isn’t that far off from what’s taking place in a lab somewhere in the world. But what you may not realize is that while these pictures are all correct, they are also only a part of the story. Scientists seeking answers to scientific questions drive all research – but without a team of individuals performing a wide range of support jobs, no discovery would be possible. And as varied as these jobs are, the educational experiences of the people filling these jobs are just as broad.
While most researchers, whether biologists, microbiologists, chemists or engineers, generally do have a PhD or Master’s degree, there are numerous positions in every lab available with far fewer educational requirements. Positions such as clinical research administrator require little more than a high school diploma and some previous laboratory experience, experience which many people gain through technical training programs offered at community colleges around the country.