UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
How long did it take you to become a scientist and is it difficult?
Answer 1:

Are you interested in being a scientist? Well, for starters it is important to you do well in your junior high and high school classes. I am surprised at how often I use the math and science that I learned before I came to college. You may not think it is important, but if you really want to be a scientist, you have to know the basics.

So how long does it take to become a scientist? Well, if you are doing experiments in your classes, then you are already a scientist. You see, being a scientist simply means that you do your work using scientific methods. So you see, you're already a scientist.

Now I know that's probably not what you were asking. I think you want to know how long it takes to become a scientist with a job. That quesion is a little harder to answer. Depending on what you want to do, you can get a job being a scientist right out of high school. Usually those jobs don't give you too much freedom of choice. In other words, you do scientific projects for someone else. Being a professor of science gives you the chance to decide which experiments you want to do. However, if you want to be a professor at a university then you need to get a doctorate degree. That degree can take between 4 and 7 years. Then you do some research for another two to three years until you find a job. So if you add it all up, it takes about 4 years for college, 5 years for a doctorate, and 3 years of post-doctorate research for a total of 12 years until you are a professor.

That may sound like a lot, but it is important to point out that when you are studying for your doctorate, you are also doing research (usually). That means you get to be a scientist-in training during that time.

You also asked if it was hard. Well, I think that it is hard in some ways but easy in others. I think it is hard because I have to study all the time and learn new things. I also have to work long hours. I think it easy, however, because I enjoy it most of the time. So you see, if you really want to do science then becoming a scientist is (mostly) an enjoyable experience.

Now I have a question for you...what kind of science do you like? Whatever it is, you should read all that you can about it, and maybe take a trip to a local college and visit someone's lab. That is a lot of fun. Anyway, good luck and I hope this helps!

Answer 2:

You can be a scientist after only four years of college.For that matter, you can be a scientist now. A scientist is just someone who asks a lot of questions about how things work and tries to find answers by doing experiments or observing nature. But, if you want to be paid to be a scientist, you should have at least four years of college. It would be better to get a Masters degree, which takes 2-3 more years of school after college. If you want to do the kind of research that gets published in well-read magazines then you should probably have a PhD. That takes an additional 4-6 years after you get your Masters degree. Or, sometimes you can get a PhD with only 5-6 more years after college. It takes a lot of work, but if you like to do it you can!


Answer 3:

Many answers to that question.

1. I was trained as an engineer but my first job was a temporary one (post-doctoral researcher in a physics research lab. Two years later, age of 28, I was hired professionally as a physics researcher. I guess I became a "scientist" at that point.

2. But one can be scientific or a scientist without training if you have a certain outlook on the natural world. That outlook believes that our understanding comes by creating theories or hypotheses or ideas about how the natural world works AND... testing these theories or hypothesis or ideas experimentally or by making observation. A scientist places value in ideas that can be tested experimentally. It is not about a collection of facts but about how we go about knowing these facts.

It never seemed hard. There were many times that experiments didn't work. There were many frustrations. But there were many satisfactions, when these ideas and experiments really came together. But it did require a level of commitment and passion, as does most anything worthy of "attack".


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use