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Career and Education Opportunities for Scientists in Columbia, Missouri

Scientist career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Missouri. There are currently eighty working scientists in Missouri; this should grow by 29% to about 110 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.

Income for scientists is about $23 hourly or $48,600 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $39 per hour or $82,840 yearly. Incomes for scientists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Sciences in Missouri, and better than the overall Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: staff toxicologist, research assistant, and research scientist.

The Columbia area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a scientist. The most common level of education for scientists is a post-Baccalaureate certificate. 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 if you have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Scientist

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 Columbia 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.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • 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.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Scientist Training

Westminster College - Fulton, MO

Westminster College, 501 Westminster Ave, Fulton, MO 65251-1299. Westminster College is a small college located in Fulton, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 992 students and an admission rate of 77%. Westminster College has a bachelor's degree program in Biochemistry.

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Biochemistry which graduated forty-eight, four, and five students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.