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Career and Education Opportunities for Scientists in Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you want to be a scientist, the Grand Rapids, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 200 working scientists in Michigan; this should grow 12% to 230 working scientists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for scientists, which sees this job pool growing by about 37.4% over the next eight years. In general, scientists study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena.

A person working as a scientist can expect to earn about $38 hourly or $79,260 per year on average in Michigan and about $39 hourly or $82,840 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Scientists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Michigan and more than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Scientists work in a variety of jobs, including: toxicologist, analytical research chemist, and research chemist.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as a scientist. Scientists usually hold a post-Baccalaureate certificate, so you can expect to spend a short time studying to be a scientist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or little over four years starting with a high school diploma.


Scientist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, scientists study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. They also may conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity.

Scientists ready reports and recommendations based upon research outcomes. Finally, scientists share research findings by writing scientific articles and by making presentations at scientific conferences.

Every day, scientists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for scientists to oversee laboratory teams, and monitor the quality of a team's work. They are often called upon to design new methods to study the mechanisms of biological processes. They also design and execute tests to uncover diseases or other abnormalities. They are sometimes expected to research how characteristics of plants and animals are carried through successive generations. Somewhat less frequently, scientists are also expected to share research findings by writing scientific articles and by making presentations at scientific conferences.

Scientists sometimes are asked to layout and build laboratory equipment needed for special research projects. And finally, they sometimes have to research transformations of substances in cells, using atomic isotopes.

Like many other jobs, scientists must be persistant in the face of problems and impediments and believe in innovation and creative thought.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Grand Rapids include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.


Calvin College - Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin College, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Calvin College is a small college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,171 students and an admission rate of 94%. Calvin College has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry which graduated one student in 2008.

Grand Valley State University - Allendale, MI

Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401-9403. Grand Valley State University is a large university located in Allendale, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 23,932 students and an admission rate of 78%. Grand Valley State University has a master's degree program in Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties which graduated two students in 2008.


Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.