Professional women in prevention science fields regularly tackle medical, physical, environmental and social dilemmas. This scientific arena offers a slew of opportunities for women with an interest in science who have at least a bachelor’s degree in one of the sciences. The industry has places for everyone, from behavioral scientists who can help figure out how people’s behaviors lead to the proliferation of certain crimes to researchers who spend more time in the lab. You'll likely find work with private drug companies, universities, nonprofit agencies or the government.
Studying Human Behavior
A four-year degree in sociology or behavioral science or a combination of work-related experience and schooling can land you a position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a behavioral scientist. Your main job there is to research people’s behaviors to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted and chronic diseases, as well as study people to prevent issues like suicide, homicide and family violence. A background in cultural anthropology also could help you land a job in the prevention science field related to human behavior. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that anthropologists working as behavioral scientists often study human behavior. The BLS estimates a 19 percent growth in job opportunities in this field between 2012 and 2022 -- higher than the 11 percent average growth estimated for all other job occupations. As of 2012, anthropologists earned a median income of $57,420.
In the prevention field, microbiologists primarily strive to discover the sources and transmission of infectious diseases to try to put an end to their existence. The CDC also hires microbiologists to study waterborne and foodborne sources of infection, as well as HIV/AIDS infections and how to prevent the spread of disease in child-care settings. The BLS reports that 23 percent of microbiologists worked in medicine and pharmaceutical manufacturing, while 14 percent worked for the federal government in 2012. The median income for this field in 2012 was $66,260.
The Society for Prevention Research posts jobs for prevention science jobs throughout the country. Many of those jobs in 2014 were on university faculties where you would teach others to go out and actually perform the research that could help prevent the social, mental and physical maladies that plague society. While on staff, you’ll also apply for grants for the school and lead students through various research projects. To teach at a university, you’ll need to earn a doctoral degree, while prevention science teaching jobs at community colleges are often available to those with a master’s in their specialty. The BLS estimates a 19 percent increase in job opportunities for postsecondary teachers between 2012 and 2022. The median annual pay for this field was $68,970 in 2012.
Protecting the Earth
Leave the human factors for other prevention scientists and focus instead on air, water and earth quality to prevent environmental disasters that will strip the world of resources those very same people rely on. In your work, you may collect samples for analysis and advise government officials on how to prevent further damage or erosion of natural resources. You could work in industry to advise construction engineers about projects or help businesses minimize the impact they have on the environment. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in environmental science to land an entry-level position with the government or private industry. The BLS estimates that jobs for environmental scientists will increase by 15 percent between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, professionals in this field received a median salary of $63,570, the BLS reports.
- Society for Prevention Research: Job Opportunities
- University of Wisconsin: Careers in Prevention Science
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Most Common Jobs at the CDC
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Anthropologists and Archaeologists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Microbiologists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Postsecondary Teachers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."