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What Is a Staff Scientist and How to Become One

What Is a Staff Scientist?

A staff scientist conducts research for a governmental, scientific, or technical agency. As a staff scientist, you may be the principal investigator (PI) or lead researcher, or you may report to a supervising scientist in a lab or fieldwork setting. Job duties include designing and conducting scientific research projects, collecting data, documenting findings, and complying with budgets, schedules, and regulations. The qualifications for a career as a staff scientist include in-depth college education in the sciences and at least two to eight years of post-doctorate experience. You need proven research and teamwork skills for this job.

How to Become a Staff Scientist

The primary qualifications to get a job as a staff scientist vary depending on the position you are applying for. While some roles are available with a master’s degree in a relevant field plus sufficient experience, most staff scientist jobs require a doctorate. You typically need several years of post-doctorate experience to gain expertise in your field, ideally while making scientific contributions. Having a record of multiple publications in scientific journals is a plus. To succeed in this career, it’s essential to have strong interpersonal, writing, and researching skills, and, sometimes, training for working around hazardous materials.