Career Detail

Biological Scientist
“ That's life...”
Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to the environment. They perform research to gain a better understanding of fundamental life processes.
The Job
Scientists usually conduct research in laboratories using a wide variety of other equipment. Some conduct experiments involving animals or plants. This is particularly true of botanists, physiologists, and zoologists.
Work Environment
Biological scientists usually are not exposed to unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
College Majors
Biological scientists with a Ph.D.
Minimum Qualifications
Most biological scientists need a Ph.D. degree in biology or one of its subfields to work in research or development positions. A period of postdoctoral work in the laboratory of a senior researcher has become common for biological scientists who intend to conduct research or teach at the university
Personality traits helpful for this career
Biological scientists should be able to work independently or as part of a team and be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
Quick Facts
  • Biotechnological research and development should continue to drive employment growth.
  • A Ph.D. degree usually is required for independent research, but a master's degree is sufficient for some jobs in applied research or product development; temporary postdoctoral research positions are
  • Competition for jobs is expected.
  • Beginning salary offers in July 2009 averaged $33,254 a year for bachelor's degree recipients in biological and life sciences.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of biochemists and biophysicists were $82,840 in May 2008. Median annual wages of microbiologists were $64,350 in May 2008. Median annual wages of zoologists and wildlife biologists were $55,290 in May 2008.
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