A field application scientist is a valuable member of any life science company due to their direct interaction with customers.
Field application scientists help laboratory groups successfully install and apply the newest scientific supplies, equipment, instruments and software. An application scientist typically works for life science companies that manufacture laboratory tools or provide a service for laboratory use. They are expected to travel to customer sites to share their profound knowledge about the specific tool or service that needs to be applied in the laboratory. Customers can include academic institutions, government laboratories and pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies.
A field application scientist job title can also be described as a field support scientist, application scientist, technical support scientist or field scientist. All these job titles essentially have the same responsibilities.
The successful application of any laboratory technology would not succeed without a knowledgeable, communicative and engaged field application scientist. When a new or different laboratory tool is first installed in a laboratory, they must come to install the tool and train the laboratory members to successfully use and upkeep it for the laboratory’s specific application.
As new techniques and products are constantly being developed by the life science community, there are plenty of opportunities for the installation and training of these new techniques, so these jobs will continually be in demand.
Have you heard of field application scientist jobs or maybe had the chance to interact with an application scientist and were in awe of what they do? Read more below to learn about the job description, education and experience requirements as well as salary range for this exciting career.
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Field Scientist Job Description
A field application scientist enables their company’s new product to be effectively implemented in the laboratories of many different customers.
The responsibilities of the job may vary slightly between life science companies, but the general job duties include:
- Understanding a customer’s goals: An application scientist needs the ability to quickly understand the customer’s manufacturing or R&D goals to know how the product can meet the customer’s expectations and standards. This will also allow the application scientist to recommend other products or services that their company offers. It is important to note that a field application scientist is not a researcher and would not be doing any research in their position. However, they would need to keep up with the latest product innovations.
- Product installation and demonstration of use: This is where a lot of travelling is involved. A field application scientist needs to be on site to install the product in the customer’s laboratory and provide a customized demonstration of its use that is applicable to the customer’s objective. Advanced scientific instruments may need an engineer to complete the installation and calibration of the instrument before the application scientist can demonstrate the instrument’s use.
- Product training: The application scientist needs to train the customer’s laboratory members so that the personnel can confidently use and maintain the product for their intended application. Sometimes this will take longer than one day depending on the complexity and time needed to operate the laboratory product.
- Ongoing support for the customer: The customer may ask for troubleshooting help and the application scientist needs to provide continuing scientific guidance, either on site or remotely. The customer may also request additional training for another use of the product. The application scientist also needs to check-in with existing customers to receive feedback on the product’s performance and maintenance.
- Meeting with internal sales, marketing and R&D teams: The job of a field application scientist is not a sales position. Rather, they collaborate with their company’s sales and marketing team to help them devise a strategy to increase business. They also use customer feedback to make recommendations to the R&D team of their company so that they can continue to design new and improved products.
To perform the above duties and responsibilities well, every field application scientist needs to have these vital skills:
- Effective communication is needed to teach the customer about the new product or technique and to maintain good professional relationships.
- Strong presentation skills are needed to present their company’s new product to prospective customers.
- Expertise in the product or service they are introducing to customers is mandatory as application scientists will need to answer questions and provide troubleshooting support.
- Networking skills are needed as a field scientist should enjoy meeting new people and travelling to new customer sites.
Education and Experience Requirements
Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in the sciences; however, field application scientists frequently have higher-level education such as a master’s or PhD degree because the job requires the ability to quickly understand a customer’s research or manufacturing goals. Often a trade-off between education and experience is accepted, for instance more years of experience in industry may be expected for a candidate that has a bachelor’s degree compared to a candidate that has a PhD degree.
In addition, the candidate’s education and experience must match the branch of science involved with the field scientist position. For instance, an applicant with a biomedical engineering degree would be well suited for a company that designs and manufactures medical devices. Or a candidate with a biochemistry background would fit in with a company that produces cell-based assays. Therefore, it is important to read the field application scientist job description carefully to see if your educational background is relatable to the position.
It is often desired for candidates to have experience in customer-facing roles, like customer service, sales or marketing at a life science company. Even if an applicant is finishing up grad school and has no industry experience yet, it is a good idea to make a section on their resume titled “technical skills” and list the different laboratory products and techniques that they have used in the laboratory.
Since travelling is often required, many positions will ask for a valid driving license and passport.
The annual salary for a field application scientist can range from around $76,000 to $114,000 in the US with the average salary being $95,000 per year. As with most life science jobs, the salary depends on the location, employer as well as the education and skill level of the employee.
As new products in the life sciences are being developed at a rapid pace, there is a high need for field application scientists to ensure the successful implementation of these products in laboratories around the world.
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