Nature Of The Work Term Paper

The Free essays given on our site were donated by anonymous users and should not be viewed as samples of our custom writing service. You are welcome to use them to inspire yourself for writing your own term paper. If you need a custom term paper related to the subject of Biology or Nature Of The Work , you can hire a professional writer here in just a few clicks.

Nature of the Work

Biological Scientists

Nature of the Work

Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment. Most

specialize in some area such as ornithology (the study of birds) or microbiology (the study of

microscopic organisms).

About two-fifths of all biological scientists work in research and development. Some conduct basic

research to increase knowledge of living organisms. Others, in applied research, use knowledge

provided by basic research to develop new medicines, increase crop yields, and improve the

environment. Biological scientists may work in laboratories and use laboratory animals or

greenhouse plants, electron microscopes, computers, electronic instruments, or a wide variety of

other equipment to conduct their research. A good deal of research, however, is performed outside

of laboratories. For example, a botanists may do research in the volcanic valleys of Alaska to see

what plants grow there, or an ecologist may study how a forest area recovers after a fire.

Other biological scientists work in management or administration. They may plan and administer

programs for testing foods and drugs, for example, or direct activities at zoos or botanical gardens.

Some work as consultants to business firms or to government, while others test and inspect foods,

drugs, and other products or write for technical publications. some work in sales and service jobs

for companies manufacturing chemicals or other technical products.

Advances in basic biological knowledge, especially at the genetic level, have resulted in a new

technology called biotechnology. Biologists using this rapidly developing technology recombine the

genetic material of animals or plants, making organisms more productive or disease resistant. The

first application of this technology has been in the medical and pharmaceutical area. The human

gene that codes for the production of insulin has been inserted into bacteria, causing them to

produce human insulin. This insulin, used by diabetics, is much purer than insulin from animals, the

only previous source. Many other substances not previously available in large quantities are

starting to be produced by biotechnological means; some may be useful in treating cancer and

other diseases. Advances in biotechnology have opened up research opportunities in almost all

areas of biology, including commercial applications in agriculture and the food and chemical


Most biological scientists who come under the broad category of biologist are further classified by

the type of organism they study or by the specific activity they perform, although recent advances

in the understanding of basic life processes at the molecular and cellular level have blurred some

traditional classifications.

Aquatic biologists study plants and animals living in water. Marine biologists study salt water

organisms and Limnologists study fresh water organisms. Marine biologists are sometimes called

oceanographers, but oceanography usually refers to the study of the physical characteristics of

oceans and the ocean floor.

Biochemists study the chemical composition of living things. They try to understand the complex

combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. Much of

the work in biotechnology is done by biochemists because this technology involves understanding

the complex chemistry of life.

Working Conditions

Biological scientists generally work regular hours in offices, laboratories, or classrooms and

usually are not exposed to unsafe or unhealthy conditions. However, some work with dangerous

organisms or toxic substances in the laboratory. They could be exposed if safety procedures are

not followed. Many biological scientists such as botanists, ecological, and zoologists take field

trips which involve strenuous physical activity and primitive living conditions.


Biological scientists held about 59,000 jobs in 1990. In addition, about 50,000 held biology faculty

positions in colleges and universities.

About 40 percent of nonfaculty biological scientists were employed by Federal, State, and local

governments. Federal biological scientists worked mainly in the Department of Agriculture,

Interior, and Defense, and in the National Institutes of Health. Most of the rest worked in the

pharmaceutical industry, hospitals, or commercial or nonprofit research and development

laboratories. A few were self-employed.

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

The Ph.D. degree generally is required for college teaching, independent research, and for

advancement to administrative positions. A master's degree is sufficient for some jobs in applied

research and for jobs in management, inspection, sales, and services. The bachelor's degree is

adequate for some nonresearch jobs. Some graduates with a bachelor's degree start as biological

scientists in testing and inspection, or get jobs related to biological science such as technical sales

or service representatives. Others become biological technicians, medical laboratory technologists

or, with courses in education, high school biology teachers. Many with a bachelor's degree in

biology enter medical, dental, veterinary, or other health profession schools. Some enter a wade

range of occupations with little or no connection to biology.

Most colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in biological science and many offer

advanced degrees. Curriculums for advanced degrees often emphasize a subfield such as

microbiology or botany but not all universities offer all curriculums. However, specialization on

one life form is being deemphasized in favor of study of basic biochemical and genetic life

processes. Advanced degree programs include classroom and field work, laboratory research, and

a thesis or dissertation. Biological scientists who have advanced degrees usually begin in research

or teaching. With experience, they may become managers or administrators within biology; others

leave biology for nontechnical managerial, administrative, and sales jobs.

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. Those doing field research in remote

areas must have physical stamina.

Job Outlook

Employment of biological scientists is expected to increase faster than the average for all

occupations through the year 2000. Most growth will be in private industry. Many more biological

scientists will conduct genetic and biotechnical research and help develop and produce products

developed by new biological methods. In addition, efforts to clean up and preserve the

environment will continue to add to growth. More biological scientists will be needed to determine

the environmental impacts of industry and government actions and to correct past environmental

problems. Anticipated increases in health-related research should also result in growth.

Employment of biologists is expected to grow slowly in government. In addition to jobs arising

from growth in demand for biologists, openings will occur as biological scientists transfer to other

occupations or leave the labor force.

Many persons with a bachelor's degree in biological science find jobs as science or engineering

technicians or health technologists and technicians. Some become high school biology teachers.

However, they are usually regarded as teachers rather than biologists. Those with a doctorate in

biological science may become college and university faculty.

Biological scientists are less likely to lose their jobs during recessions than those in many other

occupations since most are employed on long-term research projects or in agricultural research,

activities which are not much affected by economic fluctuations.


According to the College Placement Council, beginning salary offers in private industry in 1990,

averaged about $21,600 a year for bachelor's degree recipients in biological science.

In the Federal Government in 1990, biological scientists having a bachelor's degree could begin at

$16,700 or $20,660 a year, depending on their college records. Those having the master's degree

could start at $20,700 or $25,300, depending on their academic records or work experience; those

having the Ph.D. degree could begin at $30,053 or $36,570 a year. Biological scientists in the

Federal Government averaged $41,000 a year in 1990.


Related Essays on Biology