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These workers use scientific research to help solve problems and expand knowledge.

Overall employment in life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations; this increase is expected to result in about 98,700 new jobs over the decade. In addition to new jobs from growth, opportunities arise from the need to replace workers who leave their occupations permanently. About 147,900 openings each year, on average, are projected to come from growth and replacement needs.

The median annual wage for this group was $72,740 in May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.

BLS employment projections, wage, and other data for related occupations not shown in the following table are available on the Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail page. Information highlighting physical demands, cognitive and mental requirements, and other qualifications for workers in this group are available in a BLS Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) profile.

  OCCUPATION JOB SUMMARY ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help
Agricultural and food science technicians Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Agricultural and food science technicians assist agricultural and food scientists.

Associate's degree $44,700
Agricultural and food scientists Agricultural and Food Scientists

Agricultural and food scientists research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products.

Bachelor's degree $74,160
Anthropologists and archeologists Anthropologists and Archeologists

Anthropologists and archeologists study the origin, development, and behavior of humans.

Master's degree $61,910
Atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists

Atmospheric scientists study the weather and climate.

Bachelor's degree $94,570
Biochemists and biophysicists Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes.

Doctoral or professional degree $102,270
Biological technicians Biological Technicians

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Bachelor's degree $48,140
Chemical technicians Chemical Technicians

Chemical technicians conduct laboratory tests to help scientists analyze the properties of materials.

Associate's degree $48,990
Chemists and materials scientists Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another.

Bachelor's degree $79,760
Conservation scientists and foresters Conservation Scientists and Foresters

Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources.

Bachelor's degree $63,750
Economists Economists

Economists collect and analyze data, research trends, and evaluate economic issues for resources, goods, and services.

Master's degree $105,630
Environmental science and protection technicians Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination.

Associate's degree $47,370
Environmental scientists and specialists Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health.

Bachelor's degree $76,530
Epidemiologists Epidemiologists

Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury.

Master's degree $78,830
Forensic science technicians Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence.

Bachelor's degree $61,930
Geographers Geographers

Geographers study the Earth and the distribution of its land, features, and inhabitants.

Bachelor's degree $85,220
Geological and petroleum technicians Geological and Hydrologic Technicians

Geological and hydrologic technicians support scientists and engineers in exploring, extracting, and monitoring natural resources.

Associate's degree $50,080
Geoscientists Geoscientists

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth.

Bachelor's degree $83,680
Historians Historians

Historians research, analyze, interpret, and write about the past by studying historical documents and sources.

Master's degree $63,940
Hydrologists Hydrologists

Hydrologists study how water moves across and through the Earth’s crust.

Bachelor's degree $84,030
Medical scientists Medical Scientists

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health.

Doctoral or professional degree $95,310
Microbiologists Microbiologists

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites.

Bachelor's degree $79,260
Nuclear technicians Nuclear Technicians

Nuclear technicians assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear energy production.

Associate's degree $99,340
Physicists and astronomers Physicists and Astronomers

Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy.

Doctoral or professional degree $147,450
Political scientists Political Scientists

Political scientists study the origin, development, and operation of political systems.

Master's degree $122,510
Psychologists Psychologists

Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments.

See How to Become One $81,040
Sociologists Sociologists

Sociologists study society and social behavior.

Master's degree $92,910
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $59,740
Urban and regional planners Urban and Regional Planners

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities.

Master's degree $78,500
Zoologists and wildlife biologists Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems.

Bachelor's degree $64,650

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2022