California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

   Natural Sciences Managers in California

May also be called: Agricultural Research Directors; Biology Project Managers; Environmental Managers; Laboratory Managers; Natural Resources Managers; Research and Development Directors; Research Science Managers; and Resource Agency Managers

Specialties within this occupation include: Clinical Research Coordinators; and Water Resource Specialists

What Would I Do?

Natural Sciences Managers may have an interdisciplinary background or specialize in many different areas such as biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, or mathematics. Their responsibilities vary depending upon the industry and company size. They may oversee the work activities of scientists by coordinating production, quality control, or testing. Their job may involve administrative and supervisory procedures such as budgeting, hiring, assigning work, providing support, and mentoring and training staff. Natural Sciences Managers may also conduct performance reviews.

Natural Sciences Managers develop and maintain working relationships with government agencies, clients, and other interested parties. They convey information through reports, presentations, and technical papers on project status, proposals, or research findings. Natural Sciences Managers may conduct environmental planning and permitting duties. They may also work on contracts, keeping them up to date, within budget, and following government regulations and safety standards.

Natural Sciences Managers who work in research and development plan, design, assist, and manage projects. They direct a team of scientists such as biologists, chemists, and physicists, as well as engineers, technicians, and support personnel. They oversee a project’s budget, goals, and deadlines. Natural Sciences Managers monitor project procedures and activities to maintain quality assurance. They also make sure the project complies with applicable environmental laws and regulations. They attend meetings with staff and upper management, providing details on a project’s progression or regression. They also review and analyze data and prepare written reports.

Clinical Research Coordinators plan, direct, organize, and coordinate clinical research projects. They are responsible for the overall integrity of the project. Coordinators provide administrative support to the research team such as collecting and entering data into the reporting system. Clinical Research Coordinators maintain accurate and complete records for quality assurance. They also identify and assist in resolving problems concerning research procedures and coordinate research projects that involve human subjects or human tissue.

Water Resource Specialists plan, design, or implement programs related to water resource issues, such as quality, regulatory compliance, and supply forecasts. They review and analyze data and provide detailed reports on their analyses. Specialists may monitor water demand or quality at certain locations. Water Resource Specialists may also supervise teams gathering samples from lakes, rivers, streams, or wells to identify pollutants and discover the source.

Tools and Technology

Natural Sciences Managers use a variety of tools in the course of their work, including computers, printers, and universal serial bus (USB) flash drives. They also use software, such as analytical or scientific, map creation, presentation, project management, spreadsheet, and word processing.

Green Economy

Natural Sciences Managers will play an important role in the emerging green economy. They will be involved in activities related to environmental protection, such as advancing scientific research, developing new products, and improving manufacturing and production processes.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Confer with scientists, engineers, regulators, or others to plan or review projects or to provide technical assistance.Critical Thinking
Develop client relationships and communicate with clients to explain proposals, present research findings, establish specifications, or discuss project status.Customer and Personal Service
Plan or direct research, development, or production activities.Inductive Reasoning
Prepare project proposals.Judgment and Decision Making
Design or coordinate successive phases of problem analysis, solution proposals, or testing.Operations Analysis
Review project activities and prepare and review research, testing, or operational reports.Complex Problem Solving
Hire, supervise, or evaluate engineers, technicians, researchers, or other staff.Management of Personnel Resources
Determine scientific or technical goals within broad outlines provided by top management and make detailed plans to accomplish these goals.Science
Develop or implement policies, standards, or procedures for the architectural, scientific, or technical work performed to ensure regulatory compliance or operations enhancement.Law and Government
Develop innovative technology or train staff for its implementation.Engineering and Technology
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Natural Sciences Managers work in office buildings; however, some may spend time in laboratories or in the natural environment overseeing research and development projects. Natural Sciences Managers who work in laboratories must be trained in proper health and safety procedures and, in many cases, must wear personal protective equipment. Those who use computers may avoid eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems by following proper ergonomic procedures. Most Natural Sciences Managers work a standard 40-hour week. Longer hours, evenings, or weekends may be required to meet deadlines or solve last-minute problems.

Unionization is not common in this occupation. However, Natural Sciences Managers working for government agencies may belong to a union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Natural Sciences Manager may appeal to those who enjoy starting up and carrying out projects either alone or as part of a team. Natural Sciences Managers must be able to organize, analyze, and evaluate technical data to solve problems. This occupation may also interest those who have good oral and written communication abilities, as well as decision-making skills.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Natural Sciences Managers in California is $147,373 annually, or $70.86 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$112,773$147,373>$145,600
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Natural Sciences Managers typically receive benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on the environment, additional opportunities are expected for Natural Sciences Managers. California leads the nation in terms of its support of environmental practices, thus creating a strong market for Natural Sciences Managers. However, during economic downturns, the number of job openings may decline.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Natural Sciences Managers is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Natural Sciences Managers are expected to increase by 18.3 percent, or 1,700 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Natural Sciences Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
9,30011,0001,70018.31,900
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 170 new job openings per year is expected for Natural Sciences Managers, plus an additional 190 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 360 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Natural Sciences Managers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
170190360
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor's degree in the natural sciences such as biological science, chemistry, geology, physics, and mathematics or a related field is generally the minimum educational level that employers will consider for a position as a Natural Sciences Manager. However, many Managers have graduate degrees in a variety of natural resource topics or in business administration. Most natural sciences programs may require courses in biochemistry, biology, calculus, organic chemistry, physics, quantitative analysis, statistics, and hands-on laboratory classes. Knowledge of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) are very helpful as well as a general understanding of environmental compliance regulations in various resource areas. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Natural Sciences Manager.

Experience

Many employers require at least five to ten years of experience as a Natural Sciences Manager and knowledge in a related discipline. However, larger companies and public agencies may offer entry-level scientist positions for college graduates. Entry-level scientists, while under the direction of an experienced scientist, gain knowledge and experience and are assigned more difficult tasks. Once a scientist has gained many years of experience, they are then able to apply for a Natural Sciences Manager position.

Early Career Planning

High school students planning to become Natural Sciences Managers should take college preparatory courses such as English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computer science. Students would also benefit from participating in extracurricular science programs geared toward middle and high school students, such as Odyssey of the Mind; Science Olympiad; and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

Work-Study Programs

Some colleges and universities help students find internships. Internships are usually paid and are an opportunity for the sponsoring organization to recruit future employees.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is not a requirement for Natural Sciences Managers. However, most stay current with changes in their field and environmental laws and regulations.

Certification

Some certifications may be required for Natural Sciences Managers such as Certified Stormwater Manager, Certified Water Technologist, or Chemical Hygiene Officer. These certifications are offered by various professional organizations. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Natural Sciences Managers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Scientific Research and Development Svc 37.1%
Pharmaceutical & Medicine Manufacturing 16.3%
Management & Technical Consulting Svc 9.2%
Federal Government 8.5%
Colleges and Universities 6.8%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. College placement offices, company recruiting events, job fairs, and online job search sites are also good places to look. Career associations sometimes offer job openings on their websites. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Natural Sciences Managers.

  • Natural Science
  • Scientific Research and Development

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

As Natural Sciences Managers gain experience, they have more control over the direction of projects. They may become senior experts or executives. A master’s degree or Ph.D. may also lead to teaching opportunities as an educator in the natural sciences.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Natural Sciences Managers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Biochemists and BiophysicistsGuide
ChemistsGuide
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including HealthGuide
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and GeographersProfile
HydrologistsProfile
Management AnalystsGuide
MathematiciansProfile
Medical Scientists, Except EpidemiologistsGuide
PhysicistsProfile

Other Sources

  • California Environmental Protection Agency
         www.calepa.ca.gov
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency
         www.epa.gov
  • National Council for Science and the Environment
         www.ncseonline.org
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
         www.unesco.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification11-9121
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Natural Sciences Managers11-9121.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)EIR
   Clinical Research Coordinators11-9121.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)EIC
   Water Resource Specialists11-9121.02
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)IEC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Biology/Biological Sciences, General 260101
   Botany/Plant Biology 260301
   Microbiology, General 260502
   Zoology/Animal Biology 260701
   Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other 269999
   Mathematics, General 270101
   Mathematics and Statistics, Other 279999
   Biological and Physical Sciences 300101
   Physical Sciences 400101
   Astronomy 400201
   Chemistry, General 400501
   Geology/Earth Science, General 400601
   Oceanography, Chemical and Physical 400607
   Physics, General 400801
   Physical Sciences, Other 409999
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Earth Science019300
   Biology, General040100
   Botany, General040200
   Microbiology040300
   Zoology, General040700
   Other Biological Sciences049900
   Mathematics, General170100
   Other Mathematics179900
   Physical Sciences, General190100
   Physics, General190200
   Chemistry, General190500
   Astronomy191100
   Geology191400
   Oceanography191900
   Earth Science193000
   Other Physical Sciences199900
   Biological and Physical Sciences (and Mathematics)490200