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Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists
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Description: what do they do?
Apply remote sensing principles and methods to analyze data and solve problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning, or homeland security. May develop new sensor systems, analytical techniques, or new applications for existing systems.
Also known as:
Sensor Specialist, Data Analytics Chief Scientist, Geospatial Intelligence Analyst, Professor, Research and Development Director (R&D Director), Remote Sensing Analyst, Scientist, Remote Sensing Scientist, Research Scientist, Remote Sensing Program Manager

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Remote sensing technology is used to solve problems in natural resource management, farming, urban planning, homeland security, and other areas by using photographic data. Remote sensing scientists, technologists, and technicians produce and interpret the images gathered by this technology. Remote sensing technicians first determine the data a project calls for, typically on behalf of surveyors, engineers, and remote sensing scientists. Then they develop a flight plan to acquire the relevant images, using survey cameras or sensors mounted on drones to collect aerial photography. After checking the images for accuracy, they often enhance them to highlight the data needed for their project. Remote sensing scientists and technologists use statistical analysis software and geographic information systems to analyze and manage data from remote sensing systems, such as aircraft, satellites, or ground based sources. They use images, confirmed by data from field surveys and weather reports, to build databases, create maps, and track different measurements of environmental and climate change. Scientists and technologists also prepare and deliver reports, and explore new ways to use remote sensing technology. Most remote sensing technician positions require a bachelor’s degree in the field, and work experience. Remote sensing scientists and technologists typically need a master's degree, or Ph.D. along with work experience in the field. Courses in geography, cartography, and meteorology are helpful for all positions.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
23,500
2016 Employment
25,100
2026 Employment
7%
Percent change
2,000
Annual projected job openings
You’re seeing projected employment information for Physical Scientists, All Other because we don’t have information for Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Physical Scientists, All Other* in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
* You’re seeing wages for Physical Scientists, All Other because we don’t have information for Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$51,730
25%$75,830
Median$107,230
75%$136,930
90%$164,210


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:
You’re seeing education information for Physical Scientists, All Other because we don’t have information for Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained
You’re seeing education information for Physical Scientists, All Other because we don’t have information for Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Analyze geological or geographical data.
  • Compile geographic or related data.
  • Develop environmental research methods.
  • Develop technical or scientific databases.
  • Collect geographical or geological field data.
  • Collect environmental data or samples.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Record research or operational data.
  • Evaluate new technologies or methods.
  • Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
  • Attend conferences or workshops to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
  • Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
  • Create images or other visual displays.
  • Set up laboratory or field equipment.
  • Direct technical activities or operations.
  • Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Operations Analysis - Figuring out what a product or service needs to be able to do.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - Seeing hidden patterns.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Number Facility - Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Manage or analyze data obtained from remote sensing systems to obtain meaningful results.
  • Analyze data acquired from aircraft, satellites, or ground-based platforms, using statistical analysis software, image analysis software, or Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Process aerial or satellite imagery to create products such as land cover maps.
  • Design or implement strategies for collection, analysis, or display of geographic data.
  • Integrate other geospatial data sources into projects.
  • Develop or build databases for remote sensing or related geospatial project information.
  • Collect supporting data, such as climatic or field survey data, to corroborate remote sensing data analyses.
  • Prepare or deliver reports or presentations of geospatial project information.
  • Organize and maintain geospatial data and associated documentation.
  • Conduct research into the application or enhancement of remote sensing technology.
  • Train technicians in the use of remote sensing technology.
  • Attend meetings or seminars or read current literature to maintain knowledge of developments in the field of remote sensing.
  • Apply remote sensing data or techniques, such as surface water modeling or dust cloud detection, to address environmental issues.
  • Develop automated routines to correct for the presence of image distorting artifacts, such as ground vegetation.
  • Compile and format image data to increase its usefulness.
  • Set up or maintain remote sensing data collection systems.
  • Use remote sensing data for forest or carbon tracking activities to assess the impact of environmental change.
  • Direct all activity associated with implementation, operation, or enhancement of remote sensing hardware or software.
  • Direct installation or testing of new remote sensing hardware or software.
  • Recommend new remote sensing hardware or software acquisitions.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.