12 Jobs for Neuroscience Majors

A challenging yet rewarding major, neuroscience can be an excellent starting point to a career in medicine, psychology, or research science. Undergraduate neuroscience majors typically pursue advanced degrees in neuroscience or a related field like psychology, and many choose to go to medical school and pursue a career as a physician or surgeon.

Here is a list of 12 jobs for neuroscience majors:

Most Common Jobs for Neuroscience Majors

1. Physician

It is very common for neuroscience majors to end up attending medical school and pursuing a career as a physician. Physicians, or medical doctors, are professionals who examine and diagnose patients, and treat injury and illness. The term “physician” refers to a wide range of medical practitioners that may include family and general doctors who treat a range of everyday conditions and illnesses, pediatricians who treat children and young adults, general internists who provide nonsurgical treatment for problems that affect internal organs, or a wide variety of specialists who have expertise and treat specific organs or conditions. Becoming a physician requires a lot of time and hard work. After you get your bachelor’s degree, you’re going to need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), attend medical school for 4 years and earn a medical degree, and then complete a residency program, which typically takes 3-7 years depending on your specialty.

Median annual wage: Varies according to specialty; $198,740 for family physician

Common entry-level degree: Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 0%

2. Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who work in the area of mental health. Psychiatrists offer services like counseling and therapy and prescribe treatments for mental illnesses and disorders, which may include medication. Psychiatrists may work in hospitals or have a private practice. Because psychiatrists are medical doctors, in order to become one, you will need to complete medical school, residency, and for certain specialists, a one- or two-year fellowship.

Median annual wage: $208,000

Common entry-level degree: Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Likelihood that robots will take your job: N/A

3. Psychologist

Many people don’t know what differentiates a psychiatrist and psychologist, but the distinction is quite significant. Whereas psychiatrists are medical doctors (M.D.s) who have attended medical school, psychologists are not. As a result, the two practices tend to be quite different. Psychologists are typically trained more rigorously in treating patients using non-drug therapies like psychotherapy, and in most states, psychologists are not allowed to prescribe drugs. Psychologists may work in a variety of different settings. Most psychologists are clinical psychologists who have a private practice or work in a health care institution. Others may be employed by a school, business, or other organization to provide mental health services to students or employees. Others may assist law enforcement as forensic psychologists. Most psychologists have a doctorate in psychology (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree, and a doctorate and licensure are necessary to practice clinical psychology, although a master’s degree can be sufficient for some positions in schools or businesses.

Median annual wage: $77,030

Common entry-level degree: Master’s/Doctorate degree or Doctor of Psychology

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 0.5%

Specialized/Unique Jobs for Neuroscience Majors

4. Neurosurgeon

Neurosurgeons fall under the broad category of physicians, but these doctors possess a rare level of expertise in treating conditions of the nervous system. Neurosurgeons treat injuries, illnesses or diseases of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves through surgical methods. Neurosurgeons must be able to spend focus for long periods of time while in surgery, and must have excellent hand-eye coordination, so that they can perform incredibly precise microsurgery. This is a job for only the most ambitious neuroscientists. In order to become a neurosurgeon, you will have to complete medical school, complete a year-long internship in general surgery, complete a neurosurgery residency (which may take 5-7 years), and in some cases, complete a post-residency fellowship to specialize in a specific area. Because there are relatively few neurosurgeons, they tend to work long hours and are given an inordinate amount of responsibility and duties. They are also paid handsomely for their work; neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid doctors.

Median annual wage: $208,000

Common entry-level degree: Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 0.4%

5. Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists, also called speech therapists, work with patients of all ages who struggle with communication or swallowing disorders. They are trained to evaluate speech, language and swallowing ability, provide diagnoses, and carry out treatment plans. Speech-language therapists must have at minimum a master’s degree from a program that is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). Aspiring speech-language pathologists will also need to complete 400 hours of supervised clinical experience, complete a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY), and pass the Praxis exam before they can become licensed.

Median annual wage: $77,610

Common entry-level degree: Master’s degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 0.6%

6. Psychometrist

Psychometrists are professionals who are trained to administer and score psychological tests. The majority of their job involves gathering data and calculating statistics based on that data. The majority are employed in research facilities, testing companies, and universities, although it is also common to find psychometrists working in health care facilities, law enforcement and criminal justice facilities, and even the military. It is common for psychometrists to have a doctorate in a related field. There are very few graduate-level psychometrics degree programs, so most psychometrists enter the discipline through a related field, such as statistics or psychology. Aspiring psychometrists will want to take coursework in mathematics and statistics as well as psychology and neuroscience.

Median annual wage: $84,060

Common entry-level degree: Doctorate degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 22%

Non-Traditional Jobs for Neuroscience Majors

7.  Biotech or Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

If you are interested in neuroscience, but you aren’t interested in pursuing a job in an explicitly scientific field, you might consider becoming a sales representative for a pharmaceutical or biotech company. Sales representatives work on behalf of a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company to sell their products, whether it be medications or medical devices, to doctors, physicians and hospitals. Becoming a sales representative only requires a bachelor’s degree, though many pursue additional education as well.

Median annual wage: $78,830

Common entry-level degree: Bachelor’s degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 25%

8. Science Journalist

If you are interested in science but would like to write for a living, a neuroscience major can prepare you well for a career as a science journalist. Science journalists may write about all branches of science for newspapers, magazines or websites. While there is no degree requirement to become a writer, a degree in neuroscience or another field of science can give you the essential knowledge to cover your subjects accurately.

Median annual wage: $39,370

Common entry-level degree: Bachelor’s degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 11%

9. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work with individuals who are struggling with substance addiction or other problem behaviors, such as eating disorders, conduct disorder, and attention deficit disorder, among others. These professionals are trained to evaluate patients’ mental health and provide diagnoses when appropriate. They also work with individuals and their families to devise treatment plans and help them cope with recovery and build relationships. The education requirements to become a substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor vary by state, but most enter the field with at least a bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, you will likely want to pursue further education, and probably a master’s degree in counseling and psychology.

Median annual wage: $43,300

Common entry-level degree: Bachelor’s/Master’s degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 3%

Other Jobs for Neuroscience Majors

10. Neuroimaging technician

Neuroimaging technicians specialize in producing medical images of the brain using a variety of tests, such as positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans. These technicians are trained to handle and maintain a variety of brain scanning technologies, process imaging using neuroimaging software, collect and organize data, and sometimes assist in brain imaging analysis. Education requirements vary based on the opening, but typically employers look for applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree, though sometimes they will target applicants with master’s degrees.

Median annual wage: $69,930

Common entry-level degree: Bachelor’s/Master’s degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 90%

11. College Professor

As with many students in the sciences, many neuroscience majors go on to become professors of their discipline. Being a college professor is a great option for neuroscientists, as you can nurture and inspire the next generation of scientists while also conducting your own research. To earn a job teaching at the post-secondary level, you will need at least a master’s degree, but you will typically need a doctorate for a full-time tenure-track professorship.

Median annual wage: $77,190

Common entry-level degree: Master’s/Doctorate degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 3%

12. Medical Research Scientist

Medical research scientists conduct research and perform experiments with the goal of understanding and improving human health. Many work on teams with other medical researchers, technicians and students to design and conduct studies, or develop new technologies or methods to understand and treat human diseases. Generally, medical scientists have a doctorate in a life science or subfield of biology. Some may also have medical degrees.

Median annual wage: $96,070

Common entry-level degree: Master’s/Doctorate degree

Likelihood that robots will take your job: 0.5%

10 Famous People Who Studied Neuroscience

  1. Richard W. Aldrich, neuroscientist
  2. Gregory Berns, neuroeconomist
  3. Mayim Bialik, actress
  4. David Eagleman, neuroscientist and science communicator
  5. Ze Frank, online personality
  6. Sam Harris, neuroscientist and public intellectual
  7. Susan Hockfield, neuroscientist and university administrator
  8. David Marr, neuroscientist
  9. Kiki Sanford, neurophysiologist and science communicator
  10. Gazi Yasargil, neurosurgeon

To explore options for other majors, click here.

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