By the time they reach this vocational level, natural sciences managers have already earned their stripes by dedicating a minimum of five years helping innovative corporations and governmental entities introduce new products. They now oversee the work of fellow scientists, including physicists, biologists and chemists.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. James Rudd)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. James Rudd)

According to current data, these well-learned laborers earn an average annual salary of $166,560 in Los Angeles, a hotbed of employment opportunity.

“Natural sciences managers are needed to direct and coordinate the scientific research and development being undertaken in the hundreds of laboratories in the Los Angeles region,” said Dr. James Rudd, a professor and chair of the natural science program at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). “Established businesses and industries, rising start-up companies and many academic institutions have large research labs that need someone to manage their extensive research activities.”

How has the need for managers progressed since 2012?

“Because many laboratories do not have sufficient resources to tackle complex research problems on their own, collaborative efforts are becoming more common, and they require skilled lab managers to coordinate these multi-laboratory research programs.”

How will their roles change by 2022?

“Natural sciences managers will likely need to take a greater role in reporting findings to granting agencies, as well as the public, and contribute to efforts to secure research funding for the labs they manage.”

How is CSULA qualifying future managers?

“So that they are broadly prepared, we groom students across multiple science disciplines. They are required to complete an interdisciplinary undergraduate research project so that they will have experience in actually doing this type of research.”

How must managers prepare for a solid career?

“They should earn a graduate-level degree in science, ideally an interdisciplinary degree. As scientific research efforts move into new areas, this broad preparation will allow them to adjust to new career opportunities.”

What is your message to endeavoring natural sciences managers?

“As a manager, you need to understand not only the technical aspects of research, but also how to coordinate people and resources. You need to work collaboratively, be open to diverse perspectives, and be excellent at communicating.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to

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