SALARIES / AUG. 12, 2015
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Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Science

Science is a hotbed of innovation. In thousands of laboratories, field sites and incubation centers around the world, you will find scientists from diverse scientific backgrounds conducting experiments to test a theory or invent a new product. Even though scientists can’t answer everything, it is largely through scientific developments that we can, today, send people to space and keep them there for a whole year!

See Also: The Highest Paid Jobs in America

The scientific field is also home to lucrative careers. Whether you plan to specialize in the life, physical or social sciences, there is no doubt you can find a career that suits your scientific interests. So, if you are passionate about science and you want a job that is richly rewarding in terms of compensation, here are the highest paying jobs in science.

1. Natural Science Manager

Natural science managers are experienced scientists who supervise other scientists who are actively engaged in research projects. They ensure the researchers have all the material supplies and technical support needed to successfully complete an experiment or research project. These managers also approve research proposals, allocate budgets to approved projects, review research reports and authorize them for publishing, and ensure scientists adhere to relevant laws, organizational policies and occupational ethics.

To become a natural science manager, you typically need to a PhD in a scientific field, and vast research experience.

Salary: $136,450

2. Astronomer

We know, courtesy of the astronomers at NASA, that mars is the only other planet in the solar system (apart from Earth, obviously) that can support human or life in general. Whether that is entirely accurate is something we will find out when man does actually land there.

Indeed, astronomers have enhanced our knowledge of not only planets, but also celestial bodies such as stars, moons, asteroids and comets. Quite often, you can find them in observatories where they use telescopes and other specialized equipment to study various celestial bodies. To get this job, you will need to earn a doctoral degree in astronomy. Employers include observatories, universities and government research agencies.

Salary: $107,140

3. Geoscientist

Geoscientists study the composition and structure of planet Earth. They analyze the processes behind the formation of the Earth and use remote sensing equipment and geographic information systems to collect data on various pieces of data.

At the entry-level, geoscientists typically hold a bachelor’s degree in geoscience. However, for senior research jobs and teaching positions in universities, at least a master’s degree is required. The oil and gas industry is also becoming a preferred destination for many geoscientists, since they are in need of oil and gas exploration.

Salary: $105,390

4. Political Scientist

If you wish to work in the social sciences, you won’t find a job that pays better than that of political scientists. During the election seasons in the US, political scientists are rolling into high gear, analyzing various political events in the country, developing strategies for various presidential candidates and creating political forecasts. Although political science doesn’t give you the opportunity to solve problems such as human diseases, it does afford you the chance to make a difference in the society by addressing critical issues such as civil rights, healthcare policy and social injustices.

Although aspiring political scientists need a bachelor’s degree in political science to get employed, many hold a graduate degree in the field. Political parties, politicians, advocacy organizations and governments are some of the top employers of political scientists.

Salary: $104,000

5. Rocket Scientist

It is common to hear people using the phrase ‘it is not rocket science’ to refer to a subject or something that is relatively easy to understand or do. Whether or not rocket science is a ‘difficult’ discipline is a question that can only be competently answered by rocket scientists themselves. What we do know for sure is what they do, and it involves designing the spacecraft that ferry astronauts to space.

It takes at least a master’s degree in space or rocket science, or aerospace engineering to get hired as a rocket scientist. Besides NASA, you can be hired by private manufacturers of spacecraft.

Salary: $95,000

6. Biophysicist

Biophysics is an interdisciplinary scientific field that focuses on the study of biological organisms, right from the molecular level, to the organism as a whole. Behind this study are biophysicists; professionals who play a big role in helping other people understand how the human body works. Their research notably led to the development of the DNA Sequencer, a machine used to automate the DNA sequencing process.

To become a biophysicist capable of conducting independent research projects, you must obtain a PhD in biophysics. Potential places of employment are in private research laboratories, universities and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.

Salary: $91,960 (Biochemists also earn a similar amount).

7. Medical Scientists

When medicine and science meet, medical science is the inevitable outcome. Medical scientists spend their professional lives investigating human diseases and trying to find effective ways to cure and prevent various diseases. When there was an outbreak of Ebola in Western African recently, for instance, some scientists went into overdrive in an attempt to develop a vaccine for the killer disease. It is certainly a matter of time before their efforts bear fruit!

So, what does it take to become a medical scientist? You will need to earn a PhD in medical sciences from an accredited institution. Vacancies are available in medical schools, research laboratories, health agencies and pharmaceutical manufacturing firms.

Salary: $90,160

8. Atmospheric Scientist

Every day, many people tune into their favorite television stations to catch some weather updates. Who provides this crucial weather information? Simple! Atmospheric scientists. These professions not only determine whether tomorrow will be sunny, cloudy or rainy, but also accurately forecast the occurrence of earthquakes and tornados.

If you fancy this job, you will need to begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in meteorology before proceeding to graduate school to pursue a master’s and doctoral degree in atmospheric science. You can find employment opportunities in meteorological stations and government agencies such as the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.

Salary: $88,090

9. Hydrologist

Another high-paying job in the field of science is that of hydrologists. These scientists specialize in studying the movement of water through the Earth’s crust. When there is an oil spill, they are consulted to provide effective ways for cleaning the water and restoring its quality. Hydrologists also conduct studies to forecast floods and determine the quantity of water that will be needed to meet human consumption needs.

With a bachelor’s degree in hydrology, you can land technician-level positions in local governments and water testing facilities. If you want research or teaching positions in universities, then you will need to go for a PhD in hydrology.

Salary: $81,930

10. Material Scientists

Materials scientists are concerned with the way various substances react with each other. They use their knowledge of the atomic and molecular composition of various substances to develop new products, improve manufacturing systems and test the quality of finished products.

Aspiring materials scientists can get started with a bachelor’s degree in material science. Those who wish to conduct independent research projects or teach in universities must earn at least a master’s degree in the field.

Salary: $94,350.

See Also: Top 10 Fastest Growing Engineering Jobs in the US

There you have the top-paying science occupations! However, it takes hard work and ambition to get them, since they typically require advanced degrees. After the hard work, you can smile to the bank and collect your hefty salary!

What are you views on these jobs? Do you think they pay highly enough? Leave your comments below please...

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