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How about a job as a field application scientist?

11/20/2015 2:12:59 PM

A colleague recently called my attention to an interesting career option in industry for those with academic science backgrounds. Have you ever considered becoming a field application scientist? This position can be a great stepping stone for those whose work experience is strictly lab-related but who dream of one day moving into nonresearch roles in industry.

Field application scientists (also known as application scientists or field support scientists) provide troubleshooting advice and support to customers. They typically work with companies that sell lab equipment, reagents, software, tools and related products. These scientists spend much of their time traveling, visiting customers to help them work through problems with their products, and giving seminars or discussing the science behind their companies’ offerings.

Field application scientists can have any level of science education and backgrounds in research, but higher degrees, such as a Ph.D., often are preferred by hiring managers. For more information about this type of position, check out this article from Science Careers and this incredibly honest post from Is This Thing On.


Douglas Scientific (Alexandria, Minn.) seeks an application scientist to work with its client executives by assisting in account management and facilitating the client discovery process to identify and address opportunities. Douglas Scientific provides a patented array tape automation that enables labs to rapidly process billions of genetics samples and chemical compounds. The application scientist will be responsible for sales support, solution engineering, and industry and product knowledge. Requires a Ph.D. in the biosciences or a related field and two to three years of market-facing experience in a lab environment.

Protein Simple (Baltimore) seeks a field application scientist to provide sales support and customer service for its protein analysis instrumentation. The scientist will train customers on instrument use, assay development and data analysis; develop and maintain positive relationships with customers in an assigned territory; help maintain and increase product usage and sales support efforts through technical presentations and product demonstrations; and assist in creation and review of new technical literature, including manuals and application notes. Requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, bioengineering or a related life science. An M.S. or Ph.D. is preferred. The ideal candidate has experience as a bench scientist with a strong background in proteomics/immunoassays or biopharmaceutical development.

Pall Corp. (Houston or St. Louis) seeks a field application scientist to support account managers in selling ForteBio products. Pall sells filtration, separation and purification products to customers in health care, biotechnology, pharma and other markets. The scientist will give on-site seminars and regional seminars, staff trade shows and conduct user meetings. The scientist also will provide pre-sales information, product demonstrations, develop assays and post-sales support. Requires a bachelor’s degree in the life sciences, biochemistry or a related field, as well as customer support experience and training in technical materials. This position will travel 50 percent to 70 percent of the time.

Agena Bioscience (San Francisco) seeks a field application scientist for its genomics and genotyping business. This position will be responsible for providing timely and high-quality scientific support to current and prospective customers, distributors and internal staffers. This person’s primary focus will be training customers before and after sales. The ideal candidate will be a go-between for the applications and technology team and the research and development team, working to hand off projects prior to commercial launch. Requires a B.S. in a relevant scientific discipline; an M.S. or Ph.D. is preferred. Also requires four or more years of experience in genomics or genotyping laboratory work.

Sycamore Life Sciences (Houston) seeks a field applications and sales specialist with a focus on genomics. This startup offers genomics-related products and services. The ideal candidate has a strong foundation in molecular biology with hands-on knowledge of various types of PCR or NGS, including three years of research in a life sciences lab. Requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or a related field. An M.S. or Ph.D. is preferred.

Roche (San Jose, Calif.) seeks an application scientist for its Ariosa Diagnostics business. The scientist will assist in developing and managing deployment and support procedures and infrastructure. The scientist will lead training of field support staff and troubleshooting efforts, analyzing customer data to identify root causes, corrective and preventative actions, and minimizing time to resolution. Requires two years of experience in relevant technical roles with an increasing level of responsibility, experience deploying and supporting advanced genetic analysis technology, and experience deploying and supporting regulated medical device or in vitro diagnostic products.

Thermo Fisher Scientific seeks a field application scientist for its Indiana territory. This person will provide scientific expertise and applications support and training to customers on real-time PCR instruments and Arcturus Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) instruments from the company’s Applied Biosystems brand. The scientist will partner with sales reps in the field to deliver pre- and post-sales customer support and solutions. Requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, microbiology, biochemistry or a related scientific field, as well as a minimum of three years of laboratory or related work experience.

LI-COR (San Diego) seeks a sales and support scientist for its southwest territory (possibly based at a field location outside Lincoln, Neb). This person will provide technical expertise throughout the sale and product promotion processes and will continue to provide customers with additional product information, new product updates, training, reactive support, proactive support, and general follow-up after sales. The person will deliver technical presentations, workshops and product support to demonstrate advanced understanding of LI-COR products and their applications. Requires a Ph.D. in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, genetics or a related discipline with two years of postdoctoral experience.

Looking for other articles about science careers away from the bench? Check out some of the other posts I’ve written about regulatory affairs, science education and outreach, grant writing and reviewing, tech transfer, science writing, science communication, science administration, and a sampling of different career options. Looking for other tips on how to search for jobs? I wrote posts on networking, strategies for job searching (part I and part II), how to decipher a job post, the job acquisition process, four things to consider when choosing a career, and navigating the two-body problem. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback or suggestions. Leave a comment or reach out to ASBMB on Twitter or Facebook!