Science and Engineering Career Overview

Scientists measure and study the world around us, always looking for ways to understand it more and make it better. Those with degrees in and science and engineering make advances in protecting the environment, conserving energy, understanding how the human body works, and more. If you love research and discovery and have a knack for making connections based on evidence, a degree in science or engineering might be right for you.

Listed below are study areas in science and engineering.

SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING STUDY AREAS

Outlook for Science and Engineering Careers

The demand for scientists with expertise in a variety of fields is expected to grow faster than the average for all other occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of life, physical, and social scientists will grow 7% from 2018 to 2028. Growth is expected to be high for scientists specializing in energy management, environmental protection, and biomedical research.

Positions for engineers are projected to grow 4% over the next decade, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.

The following lists below using BLS data shows the growth predicted in several science and engineering fields:

Predicted Job Growth for Scientists, 2018-2028

  • Agricultural and food scientists: 7%
  • Biochemists and biophysicists: 6%
  • Chemists and materials scientists: 4%
  • Conservation scientists and foresters: 3%
  • Environmental scientists: 8%
  • Epidemiologists: 5%
  • Geographers: 3%
  • Microbiologists: 5%
  • Zoologists: 5%
  • Physicists and astronomers: 9%

Predicted Job Growth for Engineers, 2018-2028

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians: 4%
  • Aerospace Engineers: 2%
  • Agricultural Engineers: 5%
  • Architects: 8%
  • Biomedical Engineers: 4%
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: 15%
  • Chemical Engineers: 6%
  • Civil Engineering Technicians: 5%
  • Civil Engineers: 6%
  • Computer Hardware Engineers: 6%
  • Drafters: 0%
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians: 0%
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers: 2%
  • Electro-mechanical Technicians: 1%
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians: 9%
  • Environmental Engineers: 5%
  • Health and Safety Engineers: 5%
  • Industrial Engineering Technicians: -1%
  • Industrial Engineers: 8%
  • Landscape Architects: 4%
  • Marine Engineers and Naval Architects: 9%
  • Materials Engineers: 0%
  • Mechanical Engineering Technicians: 3%
  • Mechanical Engineers: 4%
  • Mining and Geological Engineers: 3%
  • Nuclear Engineers: -1%
  • Petroleum Engineers: 3%
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians: 5%
  • Surveyors: 6%

Salaries in Science and Engineering

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for life, physical, and social scientists is $64,510. Among the highest earning scientists are physicists and biochemists, who typically earn a doctorate and are employed by government, research firms, healthcare, and universities.

The average annual salary for engineers is $68,160, as of May 2019, according to the BLS. Below you will find the average annual salaries for specific science and engineering careers.

Median Science Salaries, May 2019

  • Agricultural and food scientists: $65,160
  • Biochemists and biophysicists: $94,490
  • Chemists and materials scientists: $78,790
  • Conservation scientists and foresters: $62,410
  • Environmental scientists: $71,360
  • Epidemiologists: $70,990
  • Geographers: $81,540
  • Microbiologists: $75,650
  • Physicists and astronomers: $122,220
  • Zoologists: $63,270

Median Engineering Salaries, May 2019

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians: $66,020
  • Aerospace Engineers: $116,500
  • Agricultural Engineers: $80,720
  • Architects: $80,750
  • Biomedical Engineers: $91,410
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: $65,470
  • Chemical Engineers: $108,770
  • Civil Engineering Technicians: $53,410
  • Civil Engineers: $87,060
  • Computer Hardware Engineers: $117,220
  • Drafters: $56,830
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians: $65,260
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers: $101,250
  • Electro-mechanical Technicians: $58,350
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians: $50,620
  • Environmental Engineers: $88,860
  • Health and Safety Engineers: $91,410
  • Industrial Engineering Technicians: $56,550
  • Industrial Engineers: $88,020
  • Landscape Architects: $69,360
  • Marine Engineers and Naval Architects: $92,400
  • Materials Engineers: $93,360
  • Mechanical Engineering Technicians: $56,980
  • Mechanical Engineers: $88,430
  • Mining and Geological Engineers: $91,160
  • Nuclear Engineers: $113,460
  • Petroleum Engineers: $137,720
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians: $45,010
  • Surveyors: $63,420

Education Requirements for Science and Engineering Careers

In science fields, an advanced degree is usually, but not always, required. Some more hands-on fields such as geography and forestry require a bachelor’s degree, while research-centered positions like chemistry and physics need a master’s or doctorate degree. With an associate’s degree, you may be able to still work in a scientific field as a tech or assistant, but a higher degree will open up more opportunity for jobs and a higher salary.

In engineering, mainly a bachelor’s degree is required, although there are some engineering careers that only require a high school diploma or an associate degree.

The following are lists of degrees commonly required for science and engineering careers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Science Education Requirements

  • Agricultural and food scientists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Biochemists and biophysicists: Doctoral degree
  • Chemists and materials scientists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Conservation scientists and foresters: Bachelor’s degree
  • Environmental scientists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Epidemiologists: Master’s degree
  • Geographers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Microbiologists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Mathematicians and statisticians: Doctoral degree
  • Zoologists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Physicists and astronomers: Doctoral degree

Engineering Education Requirements

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians: Associate degree
  • Aerospace Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Agricultural Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Architects: Bachelor’s degree
  • Biomedical Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Cartographers and Photogrammetrists: Bachelor’s degree
  • Chemical Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Civil Engineering Technicians: Associate degree
  • Civil Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Computer Hardware Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Drafters: Associate degree
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians: Associate degree
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Electro-mechanical Technicians: Associate degree
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians: Associate degree
  • Environmental Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Health and Safety Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Industrial Engineering Technicians: Associate degree
  • Industrial Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Landscape Architects: Bachelor’s degree
  • Marine Engineers and Naval Architects: Bachelor’s degree
  • Materials Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Mechanical Engineering Technicians: Associate degree
  • Mechanical Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Mining and Geological Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Nuclear Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Petroleum Engineers: Bachelor’s degree
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Surveyors: Bachelor’s degree

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