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Become An Animal Biologist

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Working As An Animal Biologist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Animal Biologist Do

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Duties

Biological technicians typically do the following:

  • Set up, maintain, and clean laboratory instruments and equipment, such as microscopes, scales, and test tubes
  • Gather and prepare biological samples, such as blood, food, and bacteria cultures, for laboratory analysis
  • Conduct biological tests and experiments 
  • Document their work, including procedures, observations, and results
  • Analyze experimental data and interpret results
  • Write reports that summarize their findings

Most biological technicians work on teams. Biological technicians typically are responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work. Biological technicians use traditional laboratory instruments, advanced robotics, and automated equipment to conduct experiments. They use specialized computer software to collect, analyze, and model experimental data. Some biological technicians collect samples in the field, so they may need certain skills, such as the ability to hike long distances over sometimes rugged terrain to collect water samples.

Biological technicians work in many research areas. They may assist medical researchers by helping to develop new medicines and treatments used to prevent, treat, or cure diseases.

Biological technicians working in a microbiological context, sometimes referred to as laboratory assistants, typically study living microbes and perform techniques specific to microbiology, such as growing cultures in petri dishes or staining specimens to aid in their identification.

Technicians working in biotechnology apply the knowledge and techniques they have gained from basic research to product development.  

Biological technicians also may work in private industry and assist in the study of a wide range of topics concerning mining and industrial production. They may test samples in environmental impact studies, or monitor production processes to help ensure that products are not contaminated.

Biological technicians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other government agencies may perform biological testing to support agricultural research and wildlife and resource management goals.

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How To Become An Animal Biologist

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. It is important for prospective biological technicians to gain laboratory experience while they are in school.

Education

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in the biological sciences.

Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and physiology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for learning how to model and simulate biological processes and for learning how to operate some laboratory equipment. 

Laboratory experience is important for prospective biological technicians, so students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Biological technicians need to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.

Communication skills. Biological technicians must understand and follow the instructions of their managing scientists. They also need to be able to communicate their processes and findings clearly in written reports.

Critical-thinking skills. Biological technicians draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

Observational skills. Biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, including the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures they followed, and the results they obtained.

Technical skills. Biological technicians need to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust equipment to ensure that experiments are conducted properly.

Other Experience

Prospective biological technicians should have laboratory experience. In addition to coursework, students may gain laboratory experience during summer internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, or in university laboratories.

Advancement

Biological technicians may advance to scientist positions, such as microbiologist, after a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a master’s degree or Ph.D. Gaining more experience and higher levels of education often allows biological technicians to move into positions such as natural sciences managers or postsecondary teachers.

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Animal Biologist Typical Career Paths

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Highest Animal Biologist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Animal Biologist Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Oct 01, 2013 $81,080
Animal Biologist Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Oct 02, 2010 $80,287
Animal Biologist 7 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Nov 26, 2012 $76,092
Animal Biologist Kelly Services, Inc. Baltimore, MD Dec 01, 2011 $69,789
Animal Biologist 6 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD May 18, 2015 $63,215
Animal Biologist 2 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Mar 14, 2015 $56,662
Animal Biologist 2 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Jun 06, 2013 $55,890
Animal Biologist 1 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Sep 05, 2014 $54,471
Animal Biologist 1 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD May 09, 2014 $54,471

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How Would You Rate The Salary Of an Animal Biologist?

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Animal Biologist Demographics

Gender

Female

61.5%

Male

38.5%
Ethnicity

White

49.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Unknown

14.5%

Asian

10.3%

Black or African American

10.1%
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Animal Biologist Education

Schools

University of Memphis

7.7%

Purdue University

7.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

7.7%

Oklahoma State University

7.7%

Barstow Community College

7.7%

Michigan State University

7.7%

Prescott College

7.7%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

7.7%

Community College of Philadelphia

7.7%

Morgan State University

7.7%

University of California - Davis

7.7%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

7.7%

Virginia State University

7.7%
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Majors

Biology

23.1%

Business

15.4%

Animal Science

15.4%

Environmental Science

7.7%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

7.7%

Human Biology

7.7%

Architecture

7.7%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

7.7%

Pharmacy

7.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.8%

Masters

15.4%

Doctorate

15.4%

Other

7.7%

Associate

7.7%
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