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.
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|
|Task||Skill 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|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Critical Thinking||Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Inductive Reasoning||The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).|
|Judgment and Decision Making||Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.|
|Operations Analysis||Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.|
|Complex Problem Solving||Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.|
|Management of Personnel Resources||Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.|
|Science||Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.|
|Law and Government||Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.|
|Engineering and Technology||Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.|
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?
The median wage in 2015 for Natural Sciences Managers in California was $146,387 annually, or $70.38 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
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
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|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
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|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.
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.
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 is not a requirement for Natural Sciences Managers. However, most stay current with changes in their field and environmental laws and regulations.
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 Title||Percent 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%|
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.
Below is a list of occupations related to Natural Sciences Managers with links to more information.
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||Guide|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health||Guide|
|Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers||Profile|
|Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists||Guide|
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.
|SOC - Standard Occupational Classification||11-9121|
|O*NET - Occupational Information Network|
| Natural Sciences Managers||11-9121.00|
| Interest Codes (RIASEC)||EIR|
| Clinical Research Coordinators||11-9121.01|
| Interest Codes (RIASEC)||EIC|
| Water Resource Specialists||11-9121.02|
| 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 Science||019300|
| Biology, General||040100|
| Botany, General||040200|
| Zoology, General||040700|
| Other Biological Sciences||049900|
| Mathematics, General||170100|
| Other Mathematics||179900|
| Physical Sciences, General||190100|
| Physics, General||190200|
| Chemistry, General||190500|
| Earth Science||193000|
| Other Physical Sciences||199900|
| Biological and Physical Sciences (and Mathematics)||490200|