Civilian Science Careers

There are many opportunities to pursue your passion for science in a civilian career. After the Navy, jobs vary from nuclear engineer to clinical psychologist and chemistry professor to dentist. Check out these available fields and see what speaks to you and your interests.

Nuclear Engineer

Nuclear Engineers conduct research on nuclear engineering projects or apply the principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and use of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.


Biochemists and Biophysicists study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. They may conduct research on the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth and heredity. They may also determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.

Soil Scientist

Soil Scientists conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, along with their growth in soils and control of pests. They may study the chemical, physical, biological and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth.

Biochemical Engineer

Biochemical Engineers develop usable, tangible products using knowledge of biology, chemistry and engineering. They solve problems related to materials, systems or processes that interact with humans, plants, animals, microorganisms or biological materials.

Chemical Engineer

Chemical Engineers design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, plastics, detergents, cement, paper and pulp, by applying the principles and technology of chemistry, physics and engineering.

Chemical Technician

Chemical Technicians conduct laboratory tests to assist scientists in making analyses of solids, liquids and gaseous materials. Their findings are used for research and development of new products, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards and other work involving experimental, theoretical or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

Chemical Equipment Operator

Chemical Equipment Operators tend equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles and reactor vessels.

Natural Science Manager

Natural Science Managers plan, direct or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and statistics. They also conduct research and development in these fields.

Engineering Professor

Engineering Professors teach courses pertaining to the application of physical laws and principles of engineering on the development of machines, materials, instruments, processes and services.

Chemistry Professor

Chemistry Professors teach courses pertaining to the chemical and physical properties and compositional changes of substances. Their work may include instruction in the methods of qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis. Includes both professors primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.


Chemists conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

General Surgeon

General Surgeons treat diseases, injuries and deformities by invasive methods, such as manual manipulation or by using instruments and appliances.


Microbiologists investigate the growth, structure, development and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae or fungi. Includes Medical Microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.


Neurologists are the medical doctors who diagnose and treat problems with the nervous system. The nervous system includes your brain, spinal cord and the huge network of nerves that make electrical connections all over your body. Neurologists work to restore health to an essential system in the body.

Physical Therapist

Physical Therapists assess, plan, organize and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners diagnose and treat acute, episodic or chronic illness, independently or as part of a health-care team. They may focus on health promotion and disease prevention. They may also order, perform or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays. They may prescribe medication, and they must be registered nurses who have received specialized graduate education.

Family Practitioner

Family Practitioners diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and injuries that commonly occur in the general population.


Psychiatrists diagnose, treat and help prevent disorders of the mind.


Dentists diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. They may also treat diseases of nerve pulp and other dental tissues affecting the vitality of teeth.


Optometrists diagnose, manage, and treat conditions and diseases of the human eye and visual system. They examine eyes and the visual system, diagnose problems or impairments, prescribe corrective lenses, and provide treatment. They may also prescribe therapeutic drugs to treat specific eye conditions.


Pharmacists compound and dispense medications following prescriptions issued by physicians, dentists or other authorized medical practitioners.

Clinical Psychologist

Clinical Psychologists diagnose or evaluate mental and emotional disorders of individuals through observation, interview and psychological tests, and formulate and administer programs of treatment.

 Source: O*NET Online (2013)