Becton, Dickinson & Company
San Diego, CA
Becton, Dickinson & Company
San Diego, CA
Winston Salem, NC
The Community Builders Inc
University of South Florida
Research Jobs Overview
Do you often ask questions that are difficult to answer? Are you an introvert with a curious mind? If so, you may want to consider a career in research, where you can get paid to search for answers to the unknown. Research jobs span all scientific fields, from the social sciences to natural science.
There are many different types of research positions in both higher education and the private sector. Researchers may choose to work in academia so they can enjoy independence—at a commercial lab, your aim as a researcher is to serve a business's goals rather than to answer your own burning questions.
Common academic research positions include:
- Research assistant (RA): RAs assist senior researchers in collecting and analyzing data, reviewing literature, preparing reports, and writing articles. For studies involving human subjects, research assistants also recruit and interview study participants.
- Research associate: Being a research associate is often a postdoc job—a temporary position which allows Ph.D. graduates to continue their training under a supervisor.
- Research fellow: Research fellows typically work on a specific study. This means that the salary is paid by grants or an endowment and the position is temporary.
- Research scientist: Research scientists plan and conduct experiments, interpret results, and write academic articles. They also supervise junior researchers and work on grant proposals and presentations. Some research scientists at academic institutions are also part-time professors.
If you're interested in researcher, you can expand your job search by looking for other higher ed jobs. Consider searching for:
Researcher Education and Skills
Preparing for a career in academic research requires education, skills, and networking. You can start by completing a B.S. in your subject of choice before applying to Ph.D. programs. Prospective students may choose a university that conducts research in a topic they're interested in, take classes with a professor whose work they admire, publish research in the field, and network with scientists from other universities at conferences or through research collaborations.
After graduating, you'll typically work for one to three years as a postdoc research assistant or research associate. Then you can transition to a permanent research position.
Success in academic research requires strong analytical skills and critical thinking. You also need to be highly organized and have excellent writing and reading skills. The core of research, however, is a dedication to the scientific principle. This means that you must be open-minded and let the research results lead the way, even if they don't go where you initially anticipated.
You can learn more about the skills and credentials employers look for in candidates in Monster's job description of a research assistant.
Update Your Researcher Resume
Since research positions require a lot of writing, having a well-written resume and cover letter is essential. Start by reading our resume writing tips and cover letter tips. Then learn more about what specifics to include in our examples of a research assistant cover letter and a research scientist resume.
Interviewing for Research Jobs
Before interviewing for a research job—or any job—you'll benefit from preparing sample answers to common questions in advance. You may also want to:
- Run through past studies you've done.
- List articles you've published or co-authored.
- Study appropriate research practices and standards.
- Read about major previous research in the relevant topic area.
If the interview is for a position with more responsibility, expect to answer questions on how you will secure funding and promote your research. You may also run into questions on ethical scenarios, such as what you would do if you noticed a significant error in one of your studies after publication.
How Much Do Research Jobs Pay?
According to Monster salary data, the median salary of research assistants is $36,048 a year while research fellows make $51,570, research associates make $61,037, and research scientists make a median salary of $80,232. Keep in mind that research scientists can make money from research grants, salaries, or both. It's common for research scientists to earn a salary for nine months of the year and apply for grants for three months, over the summer.
You can use Monster's Salary Tools to find out the median salaries for these positions in your area.
Ready to Look for Research Jobs? Monster Can Help
When you're ready to get started in your career, make our job listings your first research topic. These positions are highly competitive, so don't forget to create a free Monster profile so you can receive custom job alerts as soon as a new position opens.