How Do I Become a Natural Science Manager?
In order to become a natural science manager, you must exhibit a mixture of leadership qualities and technical scientific knowledge. This can be accomplished through a scientific education as well as experience in the field. Become a natural science manager by first working in the field under other managers that can mentor you. A passion for science is also necessary as natural science managers often work long hours when a project is underway. An eye for detail, good organizational skills and the ability to communicate with others are also requirements to become a natural science manager.
It is necessary to obtain at least an undergraduate degree in an area of the sciences to become a natural science manager, but most jobs call for a graduate degree in addition to this. Degrees in biology, chemistry and physics as well as medical, agricultural and life sciences are all options if you want to become a natural science manager. Experience working in a laboratory doing research is helpful because many times natural science managers oversee activities taking place in research labs.
During your time as an undergraduate and in graduate school, seek out as many research opportunities as possible. These hands-on experiences will provide you with knowledge and skills that will be attractive to employers and useful once you are working in the field. After graduate school, a research internship or fellowship could help you to hone your skills further. Speak with the adviser at your university to find out about opportunities such as these and to learn how to apply for them.
Leadership skills are necessary because a natural science manager oversees many individuals working on projects. You need to be able to delegate work, provide feedback, and complete projects on time. This requires that the employees working under you listen to you and respect your decision-making skills. Find leadership opportunities to prepare for this by joining extracurricular groups, professional associations and community activities.
Natural science managers need to be organized individuals who can handle many things at one time. This position is best for individuals who do not mind working under stressful deadlines. Good communication skills are also necessary in order to work with employees and project leaders and correctly convey information. When applying for jobs, make sure to include these skills on your resume and in your cover letter to show potential employers that you have what it takes to become a natural science manager.
I have a friend who is a natural science manager at a local conservation park, and she loves her career. Not only does she get to use her science background, but she gets to teach the people she managers how to respect the land at the park. It's a rewarding career field for people who are able to find this type of interactive position.
@raynbow- I agree with you, and find that people in this field usually like the science aspect of it more than managing people. Working as an intern in the field first will give people who are considering this career path the knowledge they need to decide if it is really what they want to do to earn a living.
I think that anyone who is considering going into the field of management in natural sciences must enjoy science and people. Without a love for both, it won't be a good career match.
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