become a science manager

What does a Science Manager do?

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A science manager oversees physicists, scientists biologists, and chemists. They direct research and development, production, testing, and quality control. These managers ensure labs are stocked with supplies and equipment and also work with higher levels of management like production, financial, and marketing specialists.

Watch the following video to learn what a science manager does:

How to Become a Science Manager

become a science manager

A natural science manager typically begins their career as a scientist. Therefore, one would already have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. in a scientific discipline or related field, such as engineering. They must have scientific and technical knowledge in order to understand the work of their subordinates and provide technical assistance when needed. A new type of degree, called the Professional Science Master’s (PSM), blends advanced training in a particular science field with business skills like policy, communications, and program management.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a Master of Public Administration (MPA) is available for those interested in gaining general management skills. A natural science manager sometimes study psychology or other management-related fields to begin this occupation. Advancing to management positions usually comes after a number of years working as a scientist.

Job Description of a Science Manager

Natural science managers direct scientific research and coordinate product development project and production activities. They work with top executives to plan strategies and develop goals for developers and researchers. Depending on the field of science that a natural science manager works in may vary their duties. He or she would monitor the progress of projects, draft operational reports, and review research performed. They provide technical assistance to support staff, technicians, and scientists.

Natural science managers deliver research findings, status of projects, and communicate project proposals to clients and top management. They are responsible for ensuring laboratories are stocked with supplies and equipment. They recruit new members, hire, train, supervise, and evaluate scientists, technicians, and other staff members. Most natural science managers work for federal and state government agencies. Other positions are available however usually are grant-funded, therefore do not always provide job security. There is a slow growth in the occupation, but it still can be competitive due to the high salary compensations.

Natural Science Managers Career Video Transcript

Natural sciences managers oversee everything from the manufacture of shampoo, to the design of bigger, better wind turbines, to discoveries that will be written into textbooks. Whether they supervise a team of physicists, chemists, or biologists, natural sciences managers typically have the same objective: develop projects that contribute to society through science. These managers conduct planning for corporate research and development teams. They maintain contact with upper management, sharing project proposals, research findings, and status updates. While about one in four natural science managers work in government, many others work in businesses that depend on research grants.

Working managers participate directly in scientific research and tend to have smaller teams. Otherwise, natural science managers are expected to tend to administrative duties, like budgeting, and hiring and managing technicians and staff. Throughout a research project, they check on their staff’s methodologies to make sure lab results are accurate, and consult on technical issues. Most work full-time, sometimes more than 40 hours per week. Managers often work in offices, while scientists and working managers work in labs. Almost all have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a scientific field and several years’ work experience as a scientist. Some may obtain additional training in engineering, management, or public administration.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Natural Science Managers.

National Center for O*NET Development. 11-9121.00. O*NET OnLine.

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