Careers in the field of science offer unique opportunities to research and develop techniques, processes and treatments that can improve the quality of life for humans and other living organisms. As a result, there is a high demand for graduates who major in this field. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an average growth rate of 14 percent for all U.S. occupations through 2020, many science-related jobs are increasing at a much faster rate.
Through 2020, the BLS projects a 36 percent increase in demand for medical scientists, which is more than double the national rate for all U.S. occupations. This growth is attributed to the need for medical scientists to develop pharmaceutical drugs – especially drugs that can combat strains of diseases that are resistant to current antibiotics. Also, medical scientists are needed to develop cures for such medical conditions and diseases as AIDS and Alzheimer’s. Medical scientists need either a Ph.D. in biology or a related science, or they need a medical degree; some students pursue both degrees. According to May 2012 salary data from the BLS, medical scientists earned $87,040.
Geographers can expect a 35 percent increase in demand for their services through 2020. The high growth in this area is a result of an increased focus on sustainability and environmentally responsible practices. Geographers perform extensive research on the Earth’s land, features and inhabitants, and their expertise is needed to advise developers, businesses and policy makers on the best ways to use land and buildings to minimize harm to the Earth and adhere to federal regulations. The educational requirement for geographers is a bachelor’s degree in geography. The May 2012 salary for this position was $74,020 reports the BLS.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists can expect a 31 percent increase in demand for their services through 2020. These scientists are on the cutting edge of lifesaving technologies and ways to increase the quality of life, which fuels demand for their work. Biochemists and biophysicists study the genetic mutations that lead to cancer and other diseases, and they also develop tests to detect these diseases. In addition, they develop genetically engineered agricultural crops that are more resistant to insects and diseases. These scientists need a Ph.D. in biochemistry or biophysics. The BLS reported the May 2012 salary for biochemists and biophysicists as $89,470.
Environmental Science and Protection Techs
Through 2020, environmental science and protection technician jobs should increase by 24 percent. These technicians collect air, water and soil samples to analyze the level of pollutants or contaminants in a specific area. There is an increased demand for their services since they also investigate complaints and enforce regulations regarding environmental and health safety. Environmental science and protection technicians also recommend ways to reduce or eliminate pollution, and they help to develop decontamination plans for affected sites. The educational requirement for this position is an associate degree in one of the natural sciences or a science-related technology degree. Environmental science and protection technicians earned $44,570 in May 2012, according to the BLS.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Scientists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Geographers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Biochemists and Biophysicists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
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