Bureau of Labor Statistics

Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations

Employment in life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations, and will result in about 68,200 new jobs. Increasing demand for expertise in the sciences, particularly in occupations involved in biomedical research, psychology, energy management, and environmental protection, is projected to result in employment growth.

The median annual wage for life, physical, and social science occupations was $69,760 in May 2020, which was higher than the median wage for all occupations of $41,950.

BLS provides summary data, including employment projections, for life, physical, and social science occupations not shown in the table on this page. That information is available on the Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail page.

  Occupation Job Summary Entry-Level Education 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Agricultural and food science technicians Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Agricultural and food science technicians assist agricultural and food scientists.

Associate's degree $41,970
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 $68,830
Anthropologists and archeologists Anthropologists and Archeologists

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

Master's degree $66,130
Atmospheric scientists, including meteorologists Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists

Atmospheric scientists study the weather and climate.

Bachelor's degree $99,740
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 $94,270
Biological technicians Biological Technicians

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

Bachelor's degree $46,340
Chemical technicians Chemical Technicians

Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to assist chemists and chemical engineers.

Associate's degree $49,820
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 $80,680
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 $64,010
Economists Economists

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

Master's degree $108,350
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 $46,850
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 $73,230
Epidemiologists Epidemiologists

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

Master's degree $74,560
Forensic science technicians Forensic Science Technicians

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

Bachelor's degree $60,590
Geographers Geographers

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

Bachelor's degree $85,430
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 $50,630
Geoscientists Geoscientists

Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth.

Bachelor's degree $93,580
Historians Historians

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

Master's degree $63,100
Hydrologists Hydrologists

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

Bachelor's degree $84,040
Medical scientists Medical Scientists

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health.

Doctoral or professional degree $91,510
Microbiologists Microbiologists

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

Bachelor's degree $84,400
Nuclear technicians Nuclear Technicians

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

Associate's degree $84,190
Physicists and astronomers Physicists and Astronomers

Physicists and astronomers study the interactions of matter and energy.

Doctoral or professional degree $128,950
Political scientists Political Scientists

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

Master's degree $125,350
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 $82,180
Sociologists Sociologists

Sociologists study society and social behavior.

Master's degree $86,110
Survey researchers Survey Researchers

Survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data.

Master's degree $59,870
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 $75,950
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 $66,350
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/home.htm (visited July 08, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Friday, May 14, 2021

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

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