Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupation Profiles


The Life, Physical, and Social Science occupation profiles compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in May 2016 and modified in March 2017) include specific information about 43 distinct occupational job types.

Explore the qualifications and nature of each job type through links on this page and throughout the site.

Fast Facts: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) estimates that 1,152,840 are employed in this occupational group earning the “mean annual wage” (as defined below) of $72,930.

If you are interested in assessing long-term trends and comparing the Bureau’s annual surveys beginning in 1988 see here.

In general, the “mean” is the sum of the total values (e.g., wages) in the data set or survey divided by number of values (while the “median” is the middle value in same the sequence. The term “mean annual wage” (or “MAW”) is calculated by multiplying the mean hourly wage as determined by the BLS by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours. So, for example, the Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Life group’s mean hourly wage of $35.06, multiplied by 2,080, results in the mean annual wage of $72,930.

Distinct Occupational Types (by size):
Largest Employment Category--Medical Scientists (excluding Epidemiologists)—108,870
Smallest Employment Category--Industrial Organizational Psychologists—1,020

 Highest Paid (mean annual wage) 


 Lowest Paid (from the lowest)

 What’s Hot: Although Physicists are the highest paid averaging $121,770, for the Astronomers (while small in number at 1,830), the ‘sky’s almost the limit’ as they average $110,380. Similarly, today’s Political Scientists have a lot to document and discuss and are well compensated in the process at $112,250. 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 1,370 constituents at $74,090 and Industrial Organizational Psychologists, who “apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, management, sales, and marketing problems”, with 1,020 members at a mean annual wage of $104,570.

What’s Not: In contrast, Forest and Conservation Technicians may have some difficulty seeing ‘the forest through the trees’ at $38,630 and both the Agricultural and Food Science Technicians at $40,470 and the Social Science Research Assistants at $46,820 face some difficulty ‘feeding’ their passions as their mean annual wage is less than $50,000.

Wage Estimates for the entire group can be found here.

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