How to Become a Field Biologist

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Biology is a complex field and requires a great deal of research in laboratory and field environments. Field biology focuses on the level of the organism, environment, and ecosystem. Field biologists are highly trained biological scientists that studies living organisms within their environments.

What does a field biologist do?

Field biologists examine living things in their natural environments. They pay particular attention to how organisms interact with their habitats. They conduct basic research to obtain information about organisms and they carry out applied research to solve a variety of environmental problems. Field biologists often use computers and other technical equipment to record and evaluate their data. Many field biologists work for county, state, and federal wildlife agencies. Some field biologists work as instructors at colleges and universities and others work for private organizations.

What kind of training does a field biologist need?

Field biologists typically need at least a bachelor degree in biology, environmental biology, botany, or other related field. Many employers prefer applicants with a master or doctorate degree. Prospective field biologists often complete courses in principles of biology, ecology, microbiology, biology of animals, and biology of plants. They also usually take courses in mathematics and chemistry. Many aspiring field biologists complete internships or volunteer opportunities to gain practical experience in the field. New field biologists often shadow experienced professionals to learn the necessary skills and required procedures. Field biologists often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast with advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a field biologist?

If you are considering whether and how to become a field biologist, the good news is that employment of field biologists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 21% through 2018. The constantly changing environment and increased need for sophisticated field research will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good with some competition for basic research positions. Field biologists with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.

How much do field biologists make?

As of this year, the average annual salary for field biologists is $51,000; average annual field biologist salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits.

A career as a field biologist is a great choice for people with a strong interest in field biology and completing a variety of research tasks. Field biologists must have a solid understanding of the concepts and policies of field biology, as well as the knowledge of a variety of research methods. Patience, perseverance, detail orientation, and good problem solving skills are necessary characteristics. Field biologists must have good communication and interpersonal skills and ability to share their research findings with a variety of professionals. They must be able to work independently as well as part of team. They must also be capable of spending a great deal of time outdoors in a variety of environments and weather conditions.

Becoming a Field Biologist Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Field Biologist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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