What Do Life Scientists Do?
Life Scientists study the ways in which living beings, including humans, animals, and plants, grow and interact with each other. They look at all aspects of the organisms they study, such as their anatomy and physiology as well as their genetic makeup. But the term “Life Scientist” is really a generic one; Life Scientists specialize in some particular area of science, such as biotechnology, cell biology, immunology, pathology or biostatistics. It is also possible to specialize in the type of life to study, such as botany (plants) or zoology (animals). A Life Scientist may be employed as an animal behaviorist, a marine biologist, an entomologist, a genetic counselor or in many other positions. Life Scientists are also called “Bioscientists.”
Life Scientists Skills and Abilities
Much of the time, a Life Scientist will be engaged in research, so good research skills are essential, including planning, time management, persistence and organization. Also, Life Scientists usually work on teams and you will need good people skills in dealing and communicating with others as well as being an effective team member. Critical thinking skills and the ability to write clearly will be important as well.Of course, all Life Scientists today rely on computers to process data and to analyze results, and while it is not necessary to be able to actually program a computer, you should know how best to make use of the powerful technology available.
Life Scientists Duties
Duties will vary widely, depending on the particular job and the organization you work in. But there is a set of common tasks found in most Life Scientist positions.
Life Scientists Tools and Technology
Many of the tools a Life Scientist will use at work are found in the laboratory, and will depend on the particular science you are engaged in. A biologist might work in the lab with microscopes, forceps, probes and Bunsen burners. An immunologist might work with centrifuges, flow cytometers and diagnostic apparatus.Many Life Scientists use powerful supercomputers to assist with research and personal computing to prepare papers and presentations.
Education and Training for Life Scientists
The majority of Life Scientists today have a doctorate. Some have only a Master’s degree, and a few have just a Bachelor’s, but the Ph.D. is considered to be the most common credential. Degrees may be in a wide variety of fields for Life Scientists, with the common thread centered around the study of living organisms.
Life Scientists Salary
Life Scientists are well paid, although the range is wide, depending on the area of specialty and the particular workplace. A Life Scientist working in industry, for example, will typically earn more than a university professor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has calculated a median salary of $69,100 a year.
Life Scientists Jobs by Geography
Life Scientists are needed in all parts of the country, but like many other jobs, the growth rate and the salaries tend to be higher in larger states, especially those with large urban areas and research universities. California, for example, is growing in Life Scientist positions at about twice the rate of the country as a whole, with salaries about 23 percent higher.