Career Advice on How to Become A Biologist

General Career Information

If the job of biologist is on your career planning or job search list, it is important to note that the field of biology has numerous specialties and disciplines.  These can greatly shape what one does in his or her career as a biologist.  Biologists work to study living organisms in general, but most specialize in a specific area. Biologists do study all living life and how that life interacts with its environment.  However, biologists will usually pick a specialty, for example, microbiology, which is the study of microscopic organisms. 

It is common for biologist to research various topics related to their discipline in order to broaden their overall understanding.  This research usually occurs in one of three locations: industry, universities and colleges or the government.  Biologist working for industry will use their research to develop new tests or products, and this work can vary considerably depending on their areas of expertise.

Much of the work of biologists will result from the study of specimens that they have gathered in the field.  In this fashion, biologists can differ from many of their other science counterparts. Biologists will often leave their labs and offices to conduct field research necessary for later study and analysis.  This means that some biologists will find themselves in remote locations, such as a rain forest, where they will be searching for novel compounds with which to make a new drug.


Career Facts:

In the coming years, biotechnology is expected to be a very hot field.  This should translate into a steady demand for biologists in general.  Most of the time biologists are expected to have a PhD. However, for some positions a master’s degree may be sufficient.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Average:

While the field of biotechnology is expected to be very hot, the overall job outlook for biologist is only expected to be about average.  This is largely due to the fact that there is considerable competition for existing jobs.
Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

Depending upon the field in which a biologist is working and what sector he or she is working in, the daily work experience can vary tremendously.  Biologists might be working on attempting to determine if a new nanotechnology based product is safe for the environment and thus can be released by a large corporation. Or they may be studying the mating habits of a nearly extinct frog in a remote rainforest.  In general, biologists use collected specimens and data and generate new information or help develop new drugs and other breakthroughs.  Thus, career path and specialty can have a significant impact on one’s day-to-day activities working as a biologist.

Average Salary:

The average salary for biologist varies between disciplines and specialties.  Biologists can expect to about $73,000 per year with the top ten percent earning about $108,000.  Zoologists, working for the federal government, have the highest average salary at roughly $110,000.



Career Training and Qualifications:

Usually biologists have a PhD in biology.  However, for some positions a master’s degree may be seen as sufficient.

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