Types of Career Paths

As a PhD you have a variety of positions in diverse working environments where you may find a satisfying and fulfilling career. While traditionally, most biomedical trainees follow a relatively linear career path from postdoctoral fellowship to a tenure-track position. Postdocs should be aware that this is only one of the many career paths pursued by PhD Postdocs. 

As a PhD you possess skills that are applicable and highly valuable in a wide variety of fields, from business to communications. Those transferable skills include, for example, the ability to logically analyze problems and think critically of data, managing time and multiple projects, communicating your science and more. The first two key steps for ensuring you will have a fulfilling career is to gain self-awareness and know your options (for more details, visit our Job Search Process page). 

The earlier you start with your job search process - the better. These are a few first steps you can take when launching your job search process:

  • Schedule an appointment with OPE staff
  • Visit the Science Careers myIDP tool - answer the questions honestly and receive career paths suggestions 
  • Take a personality assessment like the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (offered by OPE every 3-4 months)
  • Read career-related books and blogs (visit our resources page for suggested resources)

After you understand where your values, interests and skills intersect, it is time to start exploring your options. 


Research Careers by Sector:

  • Academic Research
  • Industry Research
  • Government Research

Non-Research Careers by Type:

  • Careers in Science Communications
  • Careers in Science Administration
  • Careers in Business and Law
  • Careers in Education
  • Careers in Science Policy