The National Cancer Institute (NCI) career development (K) awards program supports investigators to develop their cancer research programs and achieve independence. The NCI Center for Cancer Training conducted a K program evaluation by analyzing outcomes of awardees and individuals who applied to the program but were not funded. The evaluation covered seven NCI mechanisms (K01, K07, K08, K11, K22, K23, and K25) between 1980 and 2008. Descriptive statistics and regression modeling were performed on the full cohort (n = 2,893 individuals, 4,081 K applications) and a comparison cohort described herein. K awardees proportionately received more subsequent NIH grants and authored more publications, and time to first R01 grant was unaffected. Of those not pursuing research, K awardees were more likely to participate in activities signaling continued scientific engagement. The NCI K program had a positive impact, not only on participants' biomedical research careers but also on achieving outcomes significant to the scientific enterprise.