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Career profile Natural Science Manager

Also known as Environmental Program Manager, Laboratory Manager, Natural Science Manager, Research and Development Director, Research Manager, Water Team Leader

Natural Science Manager

Also known as Environmental Program Manager, Laboratory Manager, Natural Science Manager

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$71,400 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Science
  • Monitoring
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Biology
  • Administration and Management
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Hire, supervise, or evaluate engineers, technicians, researchers, or other staff.
  • Design or coordinate successive phases of problem analysis, solution proposals, or testing.
  • Plan or direct research, development, or production activities.
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What does a Natural Science Manager do?

Natural Science Managers plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.

What kind of tasks does a Natural Science Manager perform regularly?

Natural Science Managers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Hire, supervise, or evaluate engineers, technicians, researchers, or other staff.
  • Design or coordinate successive phases of problem analysis, solution proposals, or testing.
  • Plan or direct research, development, or production activities.
  • Review project activities and prepare and review research, testing, or operational reports.
  • Confer with scientists, engineers, regulators, or others to plan or review projects or to provide technical assistance.
  • Develop client relationships and communicate with clients to explain proposals, present research findings, establish specifications, or discuss project status.
  • Determine scientific or technical goals within broad outlines provided by top management and make detailed plans to accomplish these goals.
  • Prepare project proposals.
  • Develop or implement policies, standards, or procedures for the architectural, scientific, or technical work performed to ensure regulatory compliance or operations enhancement.
  • Recruit personnel or oversee the development or maintenance of staff competence.
  • Prepare and administer budgets, approve and review expenditures, and prepare financial reports.
  • Conduct own research in field of expertise.
  • Develop innovative technology or train staff for its implementation.
  • Make presentations at professional meetings to further knowledge in the field.

The above responsibilities are specific to Natural Science Managers. More generally, Natural Science Managers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

What is a Natural Science Manager salary?

The median salary for a Natural Science Manager is $137,940, and the average salary is $154,930. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Natural Science Manager salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Natural Science Managers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Natural Science Managers earn less than $71,400 per year, 25% earn less than $101,750, 75% earn less than $0, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Natural Science Managers is expected to change by 5.7%, and there should be roughly 6,000 open positions for Natural Science Managers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$71,400 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Natural Science Managers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Natural Science Manager are usually higher in their Enterprising and Investigative interests.

Natural Science Managers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Natural Science Managers typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Natural Science Manager tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Support.

Most importantly, Natural Science Managers very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Natural Science Managers very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Natural Science Managers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Natural Science Managers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, attention to detail, and persistence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Natural Science Managers, ranked by importance:

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Natural Science Managers need?

Many Natural Science Managers have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Natural Science Managers may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Natural Science Managers

  • 0.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 2.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 3.7% completed some college coursework
  • 3.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 33.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 34.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 20.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Natural Science Managers

Natural Science Managers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as biology, administration and management, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Natural Science Managers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Natural Science Managers

Natural Science Managers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Natural Science Managers need abilities such as written comprehension, oral expression, and written expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Natural Science Managers, ranked by their relative importance.

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Natural Science Managers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Natural Science Managers frequently use skills like science, monitoring, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Natural Science Managers, ranked by their relative importance.

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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