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The Office of Career Services
Library Building, Room 429 & 430
222-05 56th Avenue
Bayside, NY 11364
Phone: (718) 631-6297

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Occupation Info


Biologist

Overview: Biologists study the basic life processes of plant and animal life in order to make improvements in the fields of medicine and agriculture. Much emphasis is currently placed on the impact of environmental change on life.
Duties: Biologists study the life processes, behaviors, diseases, and structure of life forms. Their studies range from large animals and plants to organisms with a few cells. Their findings help solve problems, such as plant diseases or possible extinction of some animals. They also research ways to solve problems in human health and disease.

Some biologists do basic research. This means they study the world to gain knowledge. Other biologists do applied research. They use knowledge gained from research to create new products or processes. For example, they use genetic engineering knowledge to create new types of corn that are less attractive to pests. Some biologists use complex lab instruments for their research.

Regardless of the topic they study, biologists have many tasks in common. They read articles and attend conferences to learn more about their research area. They determine research questions and design experiments to study those questions. Depending on the type of organism they study, biologists conduct experiments in a lab, forest, or other site. They may work with the organisms themselves, or have research assistants do much of the work for them. If they have assistants, scientists train them how to conduct the research and keep records.

Once an experiment is complete, biologists analyze the data. They may use a computer to analyze the data for them. Next, biologists interpret the data and write reports. They may present their results at conferences.

Biologists often specialize in a subfield of biology. For example, biochemists investigate the chemical makeup and processes of living things. They study the chemical effects of food and drugs on such processes as growth and aging. Biophysicists study the electrical and mechanical energy properties of cells and organisms. Microbiologists study the growth, development, and characteristics of bacteria and other small organisms. Botanists study plants and their environment. There are many other subfields of biology.

Degree(s): A.S./B.S. QCC/York Dual/Joint Biotechnology 
Job Outlook: Employment of biologists is expected to grow much faster than average through 2018 driven by growth in research and development of the biotech industry. Scientists will also be needed for applications for farmers and to clean up and preserve the environment.
Salary Range (National Average): $30,000 to $34,000
Growth: Growth
Education Level: Typically, a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year college (some are 5 years) is required to be considered for this occupation.
Additional Training/Education: A bachelor's degree is adequate for many non-research positions in biology. However, a master's degree is often required for applied research and jobs in management and a Ph.D. for college teaching. Many employers look for applicants who have computer experience. They prefer to hire biologists who can apply computer skills to research tasks and operation of lab equipment. They look for applicants with leadership skills and good oral and written skills.
Advancement Info: Beginning biologists with a bachelor's degree usually assist senior biologists in research labs. With additional education, biologists may advance to more demanding positions. Advancement is more likely for biologists who have advanced degrees. Biologists who have a Ph.D. and experience can lead basic research. Also, a Ph.D. is often required for advancement to management positions.
Recommended Skills:
  • Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.
  • Identifying the most appropriate equipment and tools needed to get a job done.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.
  • Ability to identify a problem, review related information, develop and evaluate options, and implement a solution.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Using scientific methods to investigate and conduct experiments.
  • Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
Recommended Values:
  • Gaining the respect of others by the nature and/or level of responsibility of your work.
  • Create new ideas, programs, things, or anything else not previously developed by another person.
  • Having a level of income that will afford you with luxuries, and which will allow you to become financially independent.
  • Being able to decide on how to get something done without significant direction from someone else.
  • Having a job where you can spend a significant amount of time outside.
 

* National data collected by the Department of Labor between 2008-2012.
* For New York salary data information please click here
* For New York green job information please click here.

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.