What Is a Natural Sciences Manager?

Research what it takes to become a natural sciences manager. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Natural Sciences Manager?

Natural sciences managers oversee technicians and scientists conducting research in a laboratory environment. They have duties directly related to research and development and coordinate other activities including testing, quality, control and protection. Their duties will vary depending on the specific specialized field of science. Natural sciences managers can find employment with research and development firms, federal government agencies, pharmaceutical and medical manufacturers and even state governments.

Learn more about training requirements and salary information by glancing over this chart.

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Undergrad: Physics, biology, chemistry, geology
Grad: Business administration, management
Key Skills Natural sciences knowledge, management skills, organization
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3%*
Median Salary (2015) $120,160*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Natural Sciences Manager Do?

Your primary job duties include coordinating and directing the activities of scientists and technicians, who work on various types of research. You are hired to oversee and manage the day-to-day operations involved in the beginning, middle and finishing stages of research projects.

While performing your duties, you spend most of your time working in either an office or a laboratory setting. You typically work for 40 hours per week, but may put in overtime to meet production deadlines or scientific goals.

You must have a strong understanding of the natural sciences. You should also have training in basic business and management procedures to oversee the scheduling and budgeting for natural sciences projects. You might also be responsible for hiring scientists and technicians, finding adequate equipment and tracking the progress of a project.

Where Might I Find Work?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 28% of natural sciences managers worked in research and development in 2015, while another 19% worked for the federal government. Specific companies where you may find work include pharmaceutical manufacturers, scientific development services and federal government agencies.

What Education and Training Might I Need?

As a natural sciences manager, you are first a scientist, who has completed at least a bachelor's degree in the one of the sciences, such as chemistry, physics, geology or biology. In addition, you need to have business and management skills that may be acquired by earning an MBA (Master of Business Administration), which is appropriate for a general management position. You may also consider earning a master's in management, which may allow you to specialize in areas like marketing, project management, information technology or organizational leadership. For a technical manager position, a graduate degree in your subject area that includes courses in business and management may be sufficient training.

What Salary Could I Expect to Make?

In 2015, you could have made a median annual salary of $120,160, according to the BLS. Industries that may employ you and pay the best wage included those specializing in electronic component manufacturing, oil and gas extraction, or the management of companies and enterprises. Average salaries in these sectors were $204,340, $188,650 and $175,080, respectively.

What are Some Related Alternative Careers?

For those interested in natural science management, working as a geoscientist, chemist or architectural and engineering manager may also be worth exploring. All of these professionals also require a bachelor's degree in the sciences, with additional post-secondary education. Geoscientists typically study the physical aspects of Earth. They often split their time between the office, the outdoors and laboratories.

Another possible career path could be that of a chemist. Chemists and material scientists study substances at atomic and molecular levels to develop new and improved products. They also work to test the quality of manufactured goods and usually work in offices and laboratories. A final consideration is architectural and engineering management. These professionals plan, direct and coordinate activities for architectural and engineering companies and often work in offices or industrial production plants.

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