Biologist Job Description
A biologist is a scientist who studies living organisms to understand and explain their structures and functions, and how they interact with their environment. Their job involves observing and experimenting on living things in their natural habitat or in a laboratory to establish facts about them.
A biologist should be curious, analytical, methodical, patient and persistent, and have the ability to handle and operate scientific equipment. They should also be able to communicate effectively and work well independently and in a team.
Famous biologists include Hippocrates (the father of western medicine), Robert Brown (discovered the cell nucleus), Aristotle (classified organisms into a “ladder of life”), Charles Darwin (theory of evolution), Louis Pasteur (pasteurization of milk and wine), and Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek (father of microbiology).
Pursue a career in biology if you have interest in natural sciences and enjoy experimenting
What does a Biologist do?
Biologists may do some or all of the following:
- plan and carry out biological research
- study the ecology, physiology, anatomy and development of organisms
- observe organisms in their natural environment
- use scientific equipment such as microscopes
- identify and classify new organisms
- study the effects of pollution on organisms
- write research articles and reports
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Biologist work?
Biologists may work normal office hours or flexible hours including evenings and weekends. They work indoors in offices, classrooms, and laboratories, and outdoors in the field, observing organisms in their natural environment. They may travel for fieldwork and work in all weather conditions.
What is Required to Become a Biologist ?
To become a biologist, you will need a master’s degree in biology or a related discipline. A PhD is required for administrative positions and to conduct independent research.
Secondary school students interested in studying biology should take preparatory subjects such as English, biology, physics, chemistry, algebra, calculus, and statistics.
A biologist can specialize to become any of the following:
- Anatomist – a scientist who studies the physical structures of organisms
- Biochemist – a scientist who studies the chemical processes within living organisms
- Biophysicist – a scientist who studies the relationship between physics and living organisms
- Botanist – a scientist who studies plant biology
- Ecologist – a scientist who studies the relationship between organisms and their environment
- Geneticist – a scientist who studies heredity and genetic variations
- Microbiologist – a scientist who studies microbes
- Marine biologist - a scientist who studies plants and animals of the sea
- Nutritionist – a scientist who studies the science of food
- Pharmacologist – a scientist studies the effects of drugs on living organisms
- Physiologist – a scientist who studies the life cycle of animals and plants in normal and abnormal conditions
- Zoologist – a scientist who studies animal biology
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Biologists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- accuracy and precision
- creativity and innovation
- good eyesight
- good memory
- good hand-eye coordination
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time-management and organizational skills
- observational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to conduct field and laboratory research
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- knowledge of laboratory hazards and proper safety procedures
- knowledge of science policy
- knowledge of biology
- knowledge of chemistry
Should I be a Biologist ?
Take our career test to find out if this career is ideal for you!
- Bioinformatics Scientist
If this is your profession and you would like to add to or amend any of the information on this page, then please get in touch with us at mail[at]careersome[dot]com