Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupation Profiles


The Life, Physical, and Social Science occupation profiles below include specific information about the nature of the work; average earnings; underlying training and education; related occupations; and corresponding academic programs.

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Fast Facts: As of 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 1,296,840 employed in the Life, Physical, and Social Science occupational group earning the mean annual income of $64,280.

Highest Paid

Lowest Paid


What’s Hot: The largest occupation in size by a wide margin within the Life, Physical, and Social Science group is “Market Research Analysts” (230,070) over twice the size of the second largest “Medical Scientists (excluding Epidemiologists)” (99,750). While “Physicists” are the highest paid averaging $106,440, for the “Astronomers” (while small in number at 1,280), the ‘sky’s almost the limit’ as they average nearly $100,000 annually (at $99,730). Similarly, today’s “Political Scientists” have a lot to document and discuss and are well compensated in the process at $99,320.

What’s Not: In contrast, “Forest and Conservation Technicians” may have some difficulty seeing ‘the forest through the trees’ averaging $35,320 per year and both the “Agricultural and Food Science Technicians” ($36,470) and the “Social Science Research Assistants” ($37,920) face some difficulty ‘feeding’ their passions as they average less than $40,000. Also this occupation has two of the smallest categories in size in “Geographers,” who according to the Labor Bureau “study nature and use of areas of earth’s surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena” (with 1,120 constituents averaging $66,830) and “Industrial Organizational Psychologists,” who “apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, management, sales, and marketing problems” (with 1,460 members averaging $86,460).

Sources: In addition to specific citations noted, supplementary source materials include the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.