Natural sciences managers coordinate, plan and direct activities in fields including physical sciences, life sciences, statistics, mathematics and research and development in these fields. They may oversee a particular department and help to ensure that the organization operates efficiently. These managers may be responsible for keeping insurance requirements and contracts up to date and making sure that government regulations and safety standards are followed.
Specific duties will vary depending upon the size of the organization, level of authority and degree of responsibility. Smaller organizations may have just one natural sciences manager while larger ones will need several layers of these managers for different areas of the business. Some natural sciences managers may handle the storage, distribution and acquisition or supplies and equipment for example. Others may work in a variety of scientific roles in areas such as public health. They plan and do Research and Development in many types of projects in the sciences, such as lab testing, environmental testing and quality assurance.
Many colleges and universities offer a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Natural Science. Graduates from a Natural Science program will be able to:
- Demonstrate proper experimental and scientific methodologies including laboratory and safety skills
- Demonstrate critical reading, thinking and communication skills using language specific to the sciences
- Demonstrate specific knowledge of material and information in the natural sciences for a career in the scientific or health-related fields
- Possess critical thinking and reading skills in the analysis of data using appropriate technology to their field
- Demonstrate the ability to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge into a personalized emerging body of scientific knowledge
Most BS in Natural Science curriculum will include the following major course requirements:
- Principles of Biology
- General Zoology
- General Chemistry
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
Impressive communication and leadership skills are important for future natural science managers because the job requires one to establish effective working relationships with supervisors, professionals, managers, clerks, blue-collar workers and many other different types of people. Other key skills include flexibility, the ability to make quick decisions, a good eye for details and ability to analyze. Being able to juggle multiple tasks at the same time, meet deadlines without stress and analyze and solve problems is also important for natural science managers.
Requirements for education and experience of natural science managers varies greatly depending on the size and organization of the company. Small firms may only look for experience while larger ones often seek candidates with a bachelor’s degree and related experience. At large companies with several levels of managers, a masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) or a similar field can make a big difference in advancing to higher-level positions such as a director of natural science. With experience, some managers choose to start or join a management consult firm to provide services in the field of natural science on a contract basis.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012 that the median salary was $115,000 for this profession. The BLS predicts job growth to be only 6% through 2022 which is below average for similar occupations.