9 Science Careers

Make a difference in the world

Scientist using micro pipette with DNA
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Imagine a world without scientists. Disease would run rampant, advances in technology would be non-existent, and the environment would be a disaster. People who work in science careers are responsible for many of the things we, as a society, benefit from every day.

To prepare for a science career, you will have to study either a life or physical science. Life sciences involve learning about living organisms and include subjects like biology, biochemistry, microbiology, zoology, and ecology.

Physics, chemistry, astronomy, and geology are all physical sciences, which deal with the study of non-living matter.

Here are nine high paying science careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment in most of these occupations will grow at least as fast as the average for all occupations through 2026. Only one is predicted to have job growth that is slower than average. You may also be interested in learning about STEM careers, health professions, and health technology careers.

Biochemist or Biophysicist

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical properties of living things and biological processes. To work in this field, you will need at least a bachelor's degree in biochemistry, biology, chemistry or physics. This will qualify you for an entry-level job. You will need a doctorate if you want to do independent research or get a job in development.

 Biochemists and biophysicists earned a median annual salary of $82,180 in 2016. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment will grow faster than the average for all occupations, with 3,600 new jobs added between 2016 and 2026.

Chemist

Chemists study chemicals and how they can be used to improve our lives.

You will need a master's degree or a Ph.D. in chemistry for most jobs. You might be able to find a position with a bachelor's degree, but your choices will be limited. Chemists earned a median annual salary of $73,740 in 2016. The job outlook is slightly lower than average with employment expected to grow about six percent between 2016 and 2026. The more advanced your degree, the better your job prospects will be.

Conservationist

Conservationists help landowners and governments find ways to protect natural resources such as soil and water. To get a job in this field, you will have to earn a bachelor's degree in ecology, natural resource management, agriculture, biology or environmental science. In 2016, conservationists made a median annual salary of $61,810. The BLS predicts employment growth through 2026 that is as fast as the average for all occupations. 

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists identify, reduce, and eradicate pollutants and other hazards that threaten the environment or the population's health. You can get an entry-level job with a bachelor's degree in environmental science, biology, engineering, chemistry or physics, but if you hope to advance, you will need a master's degree.

 Environmental scientists earned a median annual salary of $68,910 in 2016. If you are looking for an occupation with an excellent outlook, the BLS predicts this one will experience growth that is faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.

Environmental Science and Protection Technician

Environmental science and protection technicians—sometimes called environment technicians—monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and work under environmental scientists' supervision. You will have to earn an associate degree or a certificate in applied science or science-related technology, but some jobs require a bachelor's degree in chemistry or biology. In 2016, environmental technicians earned a median annual salary of $44,190. Employment is predicted to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2026 as it is for environmental scientists.

Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists—also known as forensic science technicians or crime scene investigators—investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Many employers prefer applicants who have at least two years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Others will only hire those who have a bachelor's degrees in chemistry, biology, or forensic science. Forensic scientists earned a median annual salary of $56,750 in 2016. The BLS predicts employment for forensic scientists will grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.

Geoscientist

Geoscientists search for natural resources or help environmental scientists clean up the environment. To get an entry-level research position you will need at least a bachelor's degree in geoscience or earth science, but most research positions require a doctorate. Geoscientists earned a median salary of $89,780 in 2016. Employment is predicted to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2024. Individuals with a master's degree will have their choice of jobs.

Hydrologist

Hydrologists study bodies of water, both on the earth's surface and underground. They look at their circulation, distribution, and physical properties. To work in this field, you will need a master's degree in geoscience, environmental science or engineering with a concentration in hydrology or water sciences. Hydrologists earned a median annual salary of $80,480 in 2016. The BLS predicts job growth that is faster than the average for all occupations through 2026.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists do research to determine the causes of disease. They also look for ways to prevent and cure them. To work as a medical scientist, you will need a doctorate in a biological science, a medical degree (M.D.) or both. Median annual earnings were $80,530 in 2016. Job growth is predicted to be faster than average for all occupations through 2026.

 

Comparing Science Careers
 Preferred EducationMedian Salary (2016)Predicted Job Growth 2016-2026
Biochemist or BiophysicistDoctorate in Applied Science$82,18011%
ChemistMaster's Degree or Ph.D. in Chemistry$73,7407%
ConservationistBachelor's Degree in Biology, Ecology, Natural Resource Management, Agriculture or Environmental Science$61,8106%
Environmental ScientistMaster's Degree in Environmental Science, Biology, Engineering, Chemistry or Physics$68,91011%
Environmental TechnicianAssociate Degree or Certificate in Applied Science or Science-Related Technology$44,19012%
Forensic ScientistAssociate Degree or Two Years of Specialized Training in Applied Science or Science-Related Technology.$56,75017%
GeoscientistMaster's Degree or Ph.D. in Geology or Earth Science $89,78014%
HydrologistMaster's Degree in Engineering, Geoscience or Environmental Science With a Concentration in Hydrology or Water Sciences$80,48010%
Medical ScientistPh.D. in Biological Science and/or M.D. (Medical Degree)$80,53013%