Summary Report for:
19-1020.01 - Biologists
Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, development, anatomy, and functions.
Sample of reported job titles: Aquatic Biologist, Aquatic Scientist, Biological Scientist, Biologist, Botanist, Horticulturist, Marine Biologist, Research Biologist, Research Scientist, Scientist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare technical and research reports, such as environmental impact reports, and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
- Develop and maintain liaisons and effective working relations with groups and individuals, agencies, and the public to encourage cooperative management strategies or to develop information and interpret findings.
- Collect and analyze biological data about relationships among and between organisms and their environment.
- Program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data.
- Supervise biological technicians and technologists and other scientists.
- Identify, classify, and study structure, behavior, ecology, physiology, nutrition, culture, and distribution of plant and animal species.
- Communicate test results to state and federal representatives and general public.
- Prepare requests for proposals or statements of work.
- Represent employer in a technical capacity at conferences.
- Study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, development, anatomy, and function.
- Review reports and proposals, such as those relating to land use classifications and recreational development, for accuracy, adequacy, or adherence to policies, regulations, or scientific standards.
- Develop methods and apparatus for securing representative plant, animal, aquatic, or soil samples.
- Plan and administer biological research programs for government, research firms, medical industries, or manufacturing firms.
- Study aquatic plants and animals and environmental conditions affecting them, such as radioactivity or pollution.
- Write grant proposals to obtain funding for biological research.
- Research environmental effects of present and potential uses of land and water areas, determining methods of improving environmental conditions or such outputs as crop yields.
- Study and manage wild animal populations.
- Measure salinity, acidity, light, oxygen content, and other physical conditions of water to determine their relationship to aquatic life.
- Prepare plans for management of renewable resources.
- Teach or supervise students and perform research at universities and colleges.
- Study reactions of plants, animals, and marine species to parasites.
- Develop pest management and control measures, and conduct risk assessments related to pest exclusion, using scientific methods.
- Analytical or scientific software — Blue Tractor Software DNADynamo; Gene Codes Sequencher; The MathWorks MATLAB ; Visual Molecular Dynamics VMD (see all 36 examples)
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — TIBCO Spotfire
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL
- Development environment software — National Instruments LabVIEW ; Software development tools
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software ; Geographic information system GIS software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Practical extraction and reporting language Perl ; Python ; R (see all 5 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Analytical balances — Laboratory analytical balances
- Automated microscope stages — Automated microscopes
- Barometers — Mercury barometers
- Benchtop centrifuges — Swinging bucket centrifuges
- Bi distillation units — Distillation units
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Optical compound microscopes
- Chemical or gas sterilizers — Gas autoclaves
- Commercial fishing nets — Dip nets; Plankton nets
- Conductivity meters
- Cuvettes — Plastic cuvettes
- Dehydrators — Vacuum dehydration units
- Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers — Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers
- Desktop computers
- Digestion systems — Digestion units
- Digital camcorders or video cameras — Video imaging systems
- Digital cameras
- Direction finding compasses — Navigational compasses
- Dissolved carbon dioxide analyzers — Respirometers
- Dropping pipettes — Laboratory dropping pipettes; Micropipettes
- Dry wall single chamber carbon dioxide incubators — Water-jacketed CO2 incubators
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Vertical drying ovens
- Electron microscopes
- Electronic toploading balances — Top-loading electronic balances
- Fluorescent microscopes — Fluorescence microscopes
- Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators — Mechanical laboratory incubators
- Freezedryers or lyophilzers — Benchtop lyophilizers
- French pressure cells — French presses
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Fume hoods
- Gas burners — Bunsen burners
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Gel boxes — Electrophoresis chambers
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Goggles — Safety goggles
- Handheld thermometer — Handheld digital thermometers
- HEPA filtered enclosures — Biosafety cabinets
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
- Inverted microscopes — Inverted compound microscopes
- Laboratory balances — Electronic precision balances
- Laboratory beakers — Glass beakers
- Laboratory burets — Glass burets
- Laboratory evaporators — Vacuum evaporators
- Laboratory flasks — Erlenmeyer flasks
- Laboratory forceps
- Laboratory funnels
- Laboratory general purpose tubing — Plastic laboratory tubing
- Laboratory graduated cylinders — Glass graduated cylinders
- Laboratory hotplates — Laboratory hot plates
- Laboratory microwave ovens
- Laboratory stirring rods — Spreading rods
- Laboratory washing machines — Glass washers
- Laminar flow cabinets or stations — Laminar flow cabinets
- Liquid scintillation counters — Fluid scintillation counters
- Magnetic stirrers — Heated magnetic stirrers
- Mainframe computers
- Microbiology inoculation loops or needles — Inoculating loops
- Microplate readers — Microtiter plate readers
- Microplates — Multiwell microplates
- Microscope slides
- Microtomes — Ultramicrotomes
- Multipurpose or general test tubes — General purpose laboratory test tubes
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Open stream current meters — Water flow gauges
- Orbital shaking water baths
- Pasteur or transfer pipettes — Pasteur pipettes
- Personal computers
- Petri plates or dishes — Petri dishes
- pH meters — pH indicators
- Photo attachments for microscopes — Microscope digital cameras
- Photometers — Luminometers
- Portable data input terminals — Portable dataloggers
- Protective gloves — Safety gloves
- Radiation detectors — Phosporimagers
- Rapid amplification or complementary deoxyribonucleic acid ends RACE technology products — Polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment
- Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges
- Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Automatic pipetters; Liquid handling robots
- Safety glasses
- Salinity meter — Salinity meters
- Sampling syringes — Laboratory bulb syringes
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Scanning light or spinning disk or laser scanning microscopes — Scanning laser confocal microscopes
- Scientific calculator — Scientific calculators
- Shaking incubators
- Specialty plates for bacteria — Agar plates
- Specimen collection container — Specimen collection containers
- Spectrometers — X ray spectrometers
- Spectrophotometers — Ultraviolet UV visible spectrophotometers
- Standard fermentation units — Fermenters
- Stereo or dissecting light microscopes — Dissecting microscopes; Zoom microscopes
- Stirring hotplates — Heated stir plates
- Tissue culture coated plates or dishes or inserts — Tissue culture plates
- Tissue culture incubators — Bioreactors
- Transilluminators — Ultraviolet UV transilluminators
- Transmission electron microscopes — Transmission electron microscopes TEM
- Triple beam balances
- Tube furnaces — Carbolite ovens
- Ultra cold or ultralow upright cabinets or freezers — Propane jet freezers
- Ultra violet water purification units — Ultraviolet water purification systems
- Ultrasonic disintegrators — Sonicators
- Vacuum or centrifugal concentrators — Centrifugal evaporators
- Video attachments for microscopes — Video microscopes
- Vortex mixers — Test tube shakers
- Water samplers
- Weather stations
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
Detailed Work Activities
- Communicate results of environmental research.
- Prepare research or technical reports on environmental issues.
- Develop collaborative relationships between departments or with external organizations.
- Conduct research of processes in natural or industrial ecosystems.
- Collect environmental data or samples.
- Plan biological research.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Classify organisms based on their characteristics or behavior.
- Examine characteristics or behavior of living organisms.
- Write grant proposals.
- Communicate with government agencies.
- Provide technical information or assistance to public.
- Research environmental impact of industrial or development activities.
- Prepare proposal documents or grant applications.
- Analyze chemical compounds or substances.
- Develop plans to manage natural or renewable resources.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
- Review plans or proposals for environmental conservation.
- Research diseases or parasites.
- Develop biological research methods.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 88% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 74% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 62% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 53% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 39% responded “Very important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 49% responded “Very important results.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “High responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 44% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 40% responded “More than half the time.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 42% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Time Pressure — 68% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Letters and Memos — 12% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 23% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 27% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 40% responded “I work with others but not closely (e.g., private office).”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 18% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Deal With External Customers — 40% responded “Fairly important.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Interest code: IR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Biological Scientists.
Employment data for Biological Scientists.
Industry data for Biological Scientists.
|Median wages (2019)||$38.26 hourly, $79,580 annual|
|Employment (2018)||118,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Average (4% to 6%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||11,800|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Fisheries Society
- American Institute of Biological Sciences
- American Society for Cell Biology
- Ecological Society of America
- Gerontological Society of America
- International Society for Cellular Therapy
- International Society for Stem Cell Research
- Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
- Society for Conservation Biology
- Society for Freshwater Science
- Wildlife Society