What Are the Top 40 Science Careers?

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If you enjoy studying complex systems and want to make an impact while improving the world we live in, consider pursuing a degree in one of many exciting science careers. Science is an expansive field and runs the gamut from medical research to environmental studies and economic experts. A science degree can give you a multitude of options to make a career out of your passions!

List of the Top 40 Science Careers & Salaries

There are many science-related careers that you can pursue after earning a specialized degree in the field. To give you an idea the breadth of choices, we have put together a list of 40 popular science occupations and their respective median annual salaries.

Job Title Job Summary Median Salary
Data Scientist, IT Mines complex data and provides expert systems-related advice for their company. $84,446
Astronomer Uses high-tech instruments to create scientific observations about the location and movements of objects in the sky. $86,901
Materials Scientist Examines the chemical properties of materials to find ways to apply them that meets the needs of their organization. $86,453
Research Scientist, Biotechnology Conducts laboratory experiments that study the chemical composition and processes of living organisms. $86,268
Research Scientist Specializes in tasks that gather knowledge and research in order to advance various scientific fields. $80,498
Financial Controller In charge of the financial departments of an organization and works to ensure that procedures and policies are in compliance. $84,138
Economist Advises businesses and government organizations in varying aspects of economics. $75,863
Fire Protection Engineer Works as a fire protection expert who designs fire detection and elimination equipment for businesses. $74,983
Lead Nuclear Medicine Technologist Prepares radiopharmaceuticals and administers radiation treatments to patients under the direction of a physician. $76,999
Nuclear Medicine Technologist Provides quality care to patients by performing therapeutic and diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures. $69,063
Epidemiologist Research scientist who focuses on studying the spread of communicable diseases and the vectors in which they spread. $64,097
Hydrologist Works for a government agency or company to study water, water availability, and the water cycle. $59,618
Sociologist Researches and studies humans in groups to analyze how they respond to the world. $57,352
Environmental Protection Specialist Helps organizations ensure that they are in compliance with environmental standards set by federal, state, and local laws. $68,069
Food Scientist Performs a variety of tasks related to the production, testing, and consumption of food. $64,358
Geographer Constructs and interprets maps, researches natural geography, and consults with organizations on the assessment of geographic conditions. $72,547
Geological/Petroleum Technician Assists scientists and engineers in both data and hands-on tasks involving geological conditions in oil or gas wells. $65,628
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Typically works in hospitals or medical laboratories to assist in the research of diseases and microorganisms. $65,653
Biochemist Works with molecules and compounds at a cellular level to create more effective medications and diagnose diseases. $61,516
Survey Researcher Conducts surveys and collects data to gather research into people’s opinions, preferences, and beliefs. $58,896
Urban Planner Maps out effective usage of a community’s land and infrastructure by analyzing economic, environmental, and social trends. $57,470
Chemist Typically works in a lab setting to maintain specialized equipment and analyze scientific data. $56,649
Zoologist Employed by universities, wildlife agencies, and zoos to conduct habitat surveys and study animal species. $53,246
Political Scientist Performs research and provides expert advice on political policy and actions. $53,446
Environmental Consultant Works in a variety of industries to assess the environmental impact of a company and ensure regulation compliance. $56,377
Meteorologist Makes weather observations and predictions that are passed on to the public or clients in specialized fields. $57,916
Electrician Maintains and troubleshoots electrical equipment after earning a journeyman electrician’s license. $57,916
Anthropologist Focuses on answering complex questions that are related to human origins using various scientific fields of study. $51,222
Archaeologist Supervises archaeological excavations and works to plan, develop, and perform lab and field work. $53,024
Microbiologist Studies the biology of microorganisms and accurately records research findings in technical reports. $54,777
Environmental Scientist Generally employed by the government to conduct research on environmental issues. $51,947
Forester Maintains, studies, and gathers data on natural habitats that include lakes, mountains, and grasslands. $52,231
Soil Conservationist Conducts research and implements management plans related to soil concerns such as irrigation and flood control. $58,652
Historian Studies events, politics, ideas, and people from the past by interpreting various historical documents and sources. $49,969
Chemical Technician Works in industrial facilities that process or deal with chemicals to conduct quality control surveys and maintain equipment. $51,694
Exercise Physiologist Assists individuals with restoring strength and functioning of their body through customized exercise programs. $47,479
Environmental Technician Works in the field to examine soil and water in the environment and make recommendations based upon data collected. $41,969
Forensic Science Technician Works for a police department and supports the forensic science unit with receiving and processing items collected in investigations. $49,641
Biological Science Laboratory Technician Responsible for a wide variety of tasks related to plant specimen research within a biological laboratory. $39,839
Agricultural Technician Assists agricultural scientists by performing duties including measuring and analyzing the quality of agricultural products. $44,837

*Data provided by Payscale.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


What can you do with a Science Degree?

As you can see from the table above, there are several ways to use your science degree to create a rewarding and challenging career. The science field as a whole covers life, physical, and social science, leaving students interested in science-related work with a number of choices for degree specialization. Whether you want to have a part in developing new medical equipment and treatments or enjoy consulting with companies to help them succeed, the options are endless for opportunities to utilize your science degree!

Science graduates earn a respectable annual pay, as shown in the previous table. All of the salaries listed are above the national average across all occupations, and there is ample opportunity to advance within your career field. Like most careers, the salary for science jobs is largely dependent on your amount of schooling and experience, so you may make more or less than the median pay listed above.

What is a Science Degree?

The majority of colleges offer a number of degree programs related to the field of science, giving students a wide range of choices for specialization! Some career paths may only require an associate’s degree or certificate, while top-level science professionals often have completed rigorous graduate degree programs.

The degree that you choose to pursue depends largely on your future goals and interests. For example, if you are interested in studying humanity, then sociology or anthropology may be the right degree program for you. If the medical world interests you, then you can pursue degree paths that involve research, treatment, and diagnosis of new medical technology.

A few of the most popular scientific degrees available include the following:

  • Computer Science
  • Biology and Biotechnology
  • Fire Science
  • Nutritional Science
  • Physics
  • Veterinary Science
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Economics

With advances in technology, it is now possible to earn many science degrees right from the comfort of your own home! Reputable colleges across the country offer online science degree programs that combine the flexibility of on-demand scheduling with instruction from top experts in scientific fields.

Science Career Outlook

The overall trend for science related occupations is positive, and this is largely due to the development of new technology and advancement of scientific discoveries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent resource for gathering a variety of data on specific science career paths, including job outlook, annual salaries, and occupational responsibilities.

The BLS shows that careers in life, physical, and social sciences will experience a projected growth of 5% between 2019 and 2029, resulting in an estimated 68,200 new jobs within the field. This growth is on par with the national average across all occupations, and is great news for students looking to pursue a career in the science field.

Earning a degree in science opens the door to a wide range of job opportunities that allow you to make an impact on the world around you. From business to medicine, skilled scientific professionals are in high demand to help our world advance to the society of the future. If this sounds like a career path that matches your goals and interests, then there is no better time than now to start the journey to earning your science degree!

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.