Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CHOOSING A CAREER / JUN. 06, 2014
version 8, draft 8

Want To Become A Science Writer?

If you are studying within the fields of science or journalism, and are trying to figure out what to do afterwards, then this article may be a useful read. Certainly, you can do various jobs with your degree, but probably none of them are as flexible and interesting as the job of a science writer. Read on to find out what the job consists of, who is eligible, how much money you could earn, and where you could apply.

What is science journalism?

In science journalism, writers try to communicate complex scientific material in an engaging and informative style which can be understood by the general public.  Generally, this involves writing about many cool topics, such as:

  • Striking advances in genetics
  • Biotechnology
  • Astrophysics
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Other similar fields

The target audience almost invariably consists of non-scientists. For the successful presentation of the material, a science journalist must:

  • Understand complex, jargon-ridden scientific findings
  • Present the information in a less scientific and more casual way
  • Still manage to communicate the information accurately

Which requirements you need to become a science journalist?

Broadly, there are two options: either you are a science student or a journalism student.

In case you are obtaining a degree in science, you are at an advantage if you:

  • Have a master or PhD degree in science
  • Took writing courses during studies oriented either toward scientific or creative writing
  • Published articles in scientific journals
  • Completed classes related to journalism or scientific communication 

If you are obtaining a degree in journalism, then you have desirable requirements if you:

  • Took some science courses
  • Wrote about science topics in the past
  • Specialized yourself in the area of science writing

Why science journalism is one of the most flexible and interesting jobs?

If you are a student of science, what may interest you the most is that the job is flexible. Some good points are that:

  • You don't have to do complex scientific research
  • You don't have to sit in the office 
  • You can work from home
  • Your only obligation is to write and attend occasional conferences

If you are a student of journalism, you already know that you may have a flexible schedule, no matter what you write about. What is important to you is that writing about science is interesting. 

You get to write about many cool topics, such as:

  • Human brain
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Distant planets and stars
  • Dark matter
  • Animal behavior
  • DNA

How much money could you earn?

Usually, the salary of science journalists varies according to how much they write, who their employer is, and how much experience they have. The good point is that even those who find a steady job can still do lots of freelancing, thus earning more money. 

Position

Average Salary

Freelancers

 < £15,000

Initial positions

£15,000-£26,000

Senior science writers

£35,000

Where to look for a job in science journalism?

Most science journalism jobs are offered within:

  • Universities
  • Professional bodies (e.g., the Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • Media organizations
    • Newspapers
    • Science magazines, such as The Scientist, Scientific American, or Popular Science

There are two tips for getting a job in science journalism. First, start with making your own blog. This may help you to get noticed and prove your writing skills to your future employers.

  • Search through various science journals
  • Pick interesting topics
  • Make an engaging and aesthetically pleasing blog
  • Learn from well-known science writers 

Second, find an internship that is related to science journalism.

  • Type words “science journalism internship” in Google
  • Sort the results according to when they were published
  • Find something suitable

This is important because almost all science writers start as interns. As they acquire some experience, it becomes more possible that they will be hired by a good university or a magazine. Once you set yourself up and start getting some jobs, all else will follow and you will be more than satisfied with your career choice. 

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