A degree in science or technology can lead to careers in a wide range of areas. Some professionals with a degree in science or technology include foresters, engineering technicians, or computer scientists. Engineering technicians may be able to enter their field with an associate's degree, while foresters need a bachelor's degree and computer scientists are usually required to have a doctoral degree in their field.
College or university degree programs in science or technology instruct students in physical sciences, including computer science, chemistry, physics, animal science, geology and many others. Students receive a broad education in scientific thought and how scientific principles might be applied in professional settings. Science or technology degree programs are offered at 2-year community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities.
While students may choose either a science or technology program, some schools combine the two disciplines, offering a Bachelor of Science and Technology degree program. Students wishing to further their education may opt to earn a master's degree in science and technology; these programs typically prepare individuals for management careers in applied science fields. Depending on area of specialization, students might be prepared for a variety of careers upon graduation, including forestry, engineering technology or computer science, to name only three of many options.
|Career||Forester||Engineering Technician||Computer Scientist|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Associate's or Bachelor's degree||Doctoral degree|
|Job Outlook (2014-2014)*||8%||-5% to 10%||11%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$58,230 annually||$48,650-$53,910 annually||$110,620 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), foresters typically need at least a bachelor's degree, which might be in biology, environmental science or natural resource management (www.bls.gov). Foresters are employed by private companies or federal or state governments to manage forest resources. Government-employed foresters often have conservation and research as their highest occupational priorities. These foresters conduct regular information-gathering tasks, such as measuring tree growth and soil conditions. Commercial foresters scout for forests that might be profitably cut down and sold. Upon locating such a forest, the forester works to catalog the amount and quality of timber before arranging for purchase and for the building of roads and other infrastructure necessary for harvest.
According to the BLS, employment for conservation scientists and foresters was expected to increase by 8% from 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the BLS reported a median income of $58,230 for foresters.
Engineering technicians assist engineers with research and applications using math, physics, technology and other related skills. While engineers are generally responsible for broader planning and design work, engineering technicians provide more directed, specific labor, implementing instructions, recording and analyzing data and monitoring machine and equipment functions. Like engineers, most engineering technicians specialize in a particular area, where they might have unique job responsibilities and some level of autonomy in their work. Most employers require engineering technicians to hold an associate's degree, and engineers are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in science or technology, according to the BLS.
According to the BLS, in May 2015 the median salary for mechanical engineering technicians was $53,910, for environmental engineering technicians it was $48,650, and for industrial engineering technicians it was $53,780. The BLS also reported that the median income in May 2015 for sound engineering technicians was $53,330, and for civil engineering technicians it was $49,260.
The job outlook from 2014 to 2024 as forecasted by the BLS was an increase of 2% for mechanical engineering technicians, 10% for environmental engineering technicians and a decline of 5% for industrial engineering technicians. In that same period, broadcast and sound engineering technicians had an expected 7% job growth. Civil engineering technicians' opportunities will increase by 5%.
For the most part, computer scientists are required to hold a doctorate degree in science or technology, the BLS stated. Computer scientists design, maintain, implement, troubleshoot and even invent computer systems for business, governmental or other use. Some computer scientists, especially those employed by academic institutions, specialize in newer technologies such as robotics or artificial intelligence. Others work to create new methods of network and human interface. Computer scientists are also involved in the design of computer games and programming platforms. Often, their work is relatively theoretical. Other technicians and technologists, such as programmers or hardware designers, carry out and implement the scientists' designs.
The BLS reported an 11% expected increase in jobs for computer and information research scientists for the period of 2014 to 2024. In May 2015, the BLS reported a median income for this group of $110,620.
It's possible to combine disciplines and complete a degree in science and technology, or focus on completing a degree in one of these areas. Degrees in science or technology can lead to a wide range of career options, and it may be possible to begin work as an engineering technician with an associate's degree completed in two years of study. Other professionals with an educational background in this field include foresters, who need a bachelor's degree, and computer scientists, who are required to complete extensive education before entering the workforce.