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Natural Science Manager Job Description, Career as a Natural Science Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$88,660 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Natural science managers oversee the work of life and physical scientists, such as chemists, biologists, agricultural scientists, and medical scientists. They also plan, coordinate, and direct research, design, and production activities to improve manufacturing and industrial processes; develop new products; and advance scientific research.

A thorough knowledge of administrative and supervisory procedures is integral to this profession. Natural science managers formulate budgets for projects and programs, determine staffing needs, and then hire scientists, engineers, and support personnel. They also supervise the work of these employees, conducting performance reviews and reviewing their work. Moreover, they help to create administrative policies. Natural science managers oversee research and development projects and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production. At other times they may conduct their own research in addition to managing the work of others.

Because the job of manager requires extensive coordination of human and administrative resources, natural science managers must have excellent communication skills. A lot of the job involves working with management, employees, contractors, and materials suppliers. Managers must be able not only to understand and guide the work of their subordinates, but also explain the work in nontechnical terms to senior management and potential customers.

Most natural science managers work in the manufacturing industry or in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries. Other major employers include government agencies and telecommunications and utilities companies.

Education and Training Requirements

Most natural science managers begin their career as a scientist—usually as chemists, biologists, and geologists—or a mathematician. Therefore, they have already fulfilled the requirements for that particular job. Most have a Ph.D. or master's degree in their field. Those interested in becoming a manager can take classes in business as well.

Once prospective natural science managers have established their proficiency on the job and show that they have good communication and administrative skills, they may be considered for a position as natural science manager.

Getting the Job

Science managers must be specialists in the work they supervise, so aspiring managers must already be quite accomplished in their field. Applying directly to large consulting firms, manufacturing companies, or high-tech organizations is an option. Consulting a headhunter or Internet sources may also provide job opportunities.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Natural science managers may eventually advance to higher leadership positions with more responsibility and higher pay, or even to management positions in other areas, such as marketing or sales, which is not unusual in high-tech firms.

In general, job employment opportunities for natural science managers should grow about as fast as the average through 2014. Specifically, the rate of growth for natural science managers directly correlates to the growth in the occupations in which they work; for example, because the rate of employment in the environmental engineering field is growing at a faster-than-average rate, opportunities for natural science managers working in that area will keep pace. There are also great opportunities for natural science managers in management, scientific, and technical consulting firms.

Working Conditions

Natural science managers work out of an office or a laboratory. Others may work in industrial plants. Most work at least forty hours a week, with the potential to work more hours when overseeing a large research project. Working under a deadline and within a budget can cause a certain amount of stress.

Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary for natural science managers is $88,660. Those working in the scientific research and development services earn an annual median salary of $106,530.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Manufacturing Excellence
3115 N. Wilke Rd., Ste. G
Arlington, IL 60004
(224) 232-5980

Natural science managers receive generous benefits, such as health and dental plans and stock option plans. Those at a high level may also have expense accounts and receive bonuses.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAgribusiness, Environment, and Natural Resources