Life Science Top Median Pay by Occupation
Published: May 01, 2014
May 1, 2014
By Angela Rose for BioSpace.com
Life science can be a lucrative profession—especially if you choose the right discipline. According to a salary survey conducted by The Scientist, a magazine for life science professionals, U.S. researchers in the life sciences earned an average of $96,000 per year in total compensation in 2013. Consider the following life science occupations arranged from highest to lowest median pay as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
1. Biochemists and Biophysicists, $81,480
Biochemists and Biophysicists, $81,480 earn their living studying fascinating subjects such as cell development, growth and heredity, and the chemical principles of living organisms. A doctoral or professional degree is required for either of these careers. Employment in this field is expected to grow 19 percent between 2012 and 2022.
2. Medical Scientists, $76,980
If you’re interested in research to improve human health, a medical scientists position could be the profession for you. A PhD in biology or a related life science is required. Some medical scientists also have a degree in medicine. Employment in this field is expected to grow 13 percent between 2012 and 2022.
3. Chemists and Materials Scientists, $73,060
Chemists and materials scientists study the reactions between substances at molecular and atomic levels. Their research is often required in the creation of new products. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field is required. Many research jobs require a masters or PhD. Employment in this field is expected to grow six percent between 2012 and 2022.
4. Psychologists, $69,280
Psychologists may work independently or as part of a research or healthcare team. They study human cognitive and emotional processes as well as behavior. Some psychology positions require a master’s degree. Most require a PhD or specialist degree in psychology. Practicing psychologists must also possess a license. Employment in this field is expected to grow 12 percent between 2012 and 2022.
5. Nuclear Technicians, $69,060
If you enjoy operating special equipment and assisting in research and production, a nuclear technician position may interest you. You can earn an impressive salary with merely an associate degree in nuclear science and extensive on the job training. Employment in this field is expected to grow 15 percent between 2012 and 2022.
6. Microbiologists, $66,260
Microbiologists study living microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, parasites, algae, and fungi. Most work in laboratories where they conduct experiments and analyze the results. Entry-level positions generally require a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a related field. Microbiologists working on independent research or at the university level often need a PhD. Employment in this field is expected to grow seven percent between 2012 and 2022.
7. Epidemiologists, $65,270
If searching for patterns in human disease and injury sounds fascinating, you may enjoy a career as an epidemiologist. These professionals often conduct research as well as engage in community education and the creation of health policy. A master’s degree is required, and employment in the field is expected to grow 10 percent between 2012 and 2022.
8. Environmental Scientists and Specialists, $63,570
As their name indicates, these professionals are concerned with the environment. They may develop processes for cleaning up polluted areas or reducing waste. They also advise policy makers in the creation of new regulations. Environmental Scientists and Specialists need a bachelor’s degree in natural science or a science-related field. Employment is expected to grow 15 percent between 2012 and 2022.
9. Conservation Scientists and Foresters, $59,060
If you have an analytical mind and enjoy the great outdoors, a career as a conservation scientist or forester may interest you. These professionals are responsible for maintaining the quality of forests, parks, and other natural resources. A bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field is required. Employment in this occupation is expected to grow three percent between 2012 and 2022.
10. Agricultural and Food Scientists, $58,610
The safety of our nation’s food depends on the attention of agricultural and food scientists. Many of these professionals work in research universities, private companies, and the federal government. A bachelor’s degree is required for entry-level positions, though some specialties within the field require a doctoral degree. Employment is expected to grow nine percent between 2012 and 2022.
11. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists, $57,710
If you love animals as well as science, a position as a zoologist or wildlife biologist could be right for you. These professionals study the physical traits of animals, their behaviors, and their interaction with the ecosystem in which they live. A bachelor’s degree is needed for most entry-level positions. However, a master’s degree may be required if you wish to advance. Additionally, a PhD is necessary if you want to conduct independent research or work for a university. Employment is expected to grow five percent between 2012 and 2022.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.
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