Science, Technology & Environment

Biologist

Biologists study basic principles of plant and animal life, to increase knowledge of the environment, genetics, and animal or plant biology.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Biologist do?

Biologists research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, to increase our knowledge and understanding of areas such as the environment, genetics, and animal or plant biology.

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Work activities

As a biologist, you would:

  • design and carry out experiments in laboratories
  • spend time outdoors observing subjects and collecting data and information in the environment
  • analyse and interpret data using statistical and other IT software
  • write reports and publish scientific papers based on your research
  • write proposals and communicate results effectively in order to receive continued funding for research projects.

Biologists usually specialise in one or more fields of biology, including microbiology, physiology, genetics, zoology, marine biology, ecology or biotechnology.

Biologists involved in applied research attempt to develop or improve medical, industrial agricultural or environmental processes and issues.

Biologists often work in a team with other scientists and technicians, and when based at a university or teaching hospital, might also teach and mentor students.

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Key skills and interests

To become a biologist, you would need:

  • practical science skills
  • an enquiring mind
  • good problem-solving skills
  • a methodical and logical approach to work
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • good IT skills.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You will usually work standard hours, Monday to Friday. If you are working in a teaching environment, you may be required to hold classes in the evenings.

Conditions

Depending on your specialist area of work, you could be based in a laboratory, a classroom, in industrial premises. Fieldwork can sometimes take place in challenging outdoor conditions, including at sea.

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How to become an Biologist?

Entry Level Education

To become a biologist you usually have to complete a degree in a biology with a specialisation; for example, marine or environmental. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of biologists is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

Biologists are employed in government organisations, including research organisations.They are also employed in private industry, hospitals, educational institutions, and primary production. This is a small occupation with average employment prospects, but entry to some jobs is highly competitive.

Demand is linked to factors such as growing environmental awareness, and levels of government funding for research.

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