Is being a biologist a good paying job?
Hi my name is Jeremy and I am very curious if being a biologist is a good paying job. I think that being a biologist would a good job and I like biology. I studied biology in school at one point and I would like to study more of it. #science #biology #scientist #biologist
This question has a slightly complicated answer.
When I was starting my biology training 15 years ago, I was told that PhD-carrying biologists made an average income of ~$100,000 (less if you were an academic, but that job comes with more scientific freedom and prestige). That put you into upper middle class territory, once you got all you training done. Admittedly, training (including the PhD and post-doctoral research) could last into your 30s.
I don't know what the numbers are right now, but they're rather worse. The Clinton administration doubled the funding available for biomedical research, which include the money for training PhD students. The Bush administration lowered this amount. What this meant is that in the past 10 years, there have been an increased number of biology PhDs entering the workforce, without additional jobs for them.
Biology PhDs are now expanding from the traditional territories of academic/industry research to go into teaching, data science, bioengineering, consulting, and other fields. (This is why I'm a product manager at a software company now. :D)
That said... no one can know what the economics of being a biologist is going to be like when you're done with school. But... this is true of most jobs.
What I can tell you is that you'll be able to eat (biology PhD programs pay you a living stipend while you're doing your work, I got $25K-$30K a year while in grad school, not luxurious, but enough). If you're in a disease field, you can feel good about figuring out things that might lead to curing cancer/MS/HIV-AIDS. And if you really love the work, and are good at it, you'll be ok.
Variety of Opportunities
Becoming a zoologist opens the door to many types of careers, reports Tuma. Zoologists can be wildlife biologists, field technicians, research assistants or animal trainers. They work in habitat management, field data collection, agricultural research and medical laboratory support. A zoologist has a solid foundation for further education if he wants to become a veterinarian, or to acquire a Ph.D. to teach at the university level.
Areas of Interest
If you're especially interested in certain kinds of animals, you can specialize, advises the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Ornithologists, for instance, study birds, while herpetologists study reptiles and ichthyologists study fish. Subspecialties also exist -- while mammalogists study mammals, some scientists become marine mammal specialists, for example. In contrast, more general work is available in areas such as wildlife research and management. Zoologists also study the environmental effects of animal populations on land and water, by collecting and analyzing biological data.
Many zoologist jobs involve spending a lot of time outside, making this work suitable for people who enjoy being out-of-doors. Field study, for instance, is particularly beneficial for people who like hiking in the woods and other physical activity, as well as camping and spending time living in primitive conditions.
Starting pay for zoologists is relatively low, and individuals with one to four years of experience as zoologists or wildlife biologists made median salaries of about $12.20 to $20.20 per hour in 2010, according to the PayScale salary survey website. The average salary for all zoologists is much higher, however, according to the BLS. The average as of May 2009 was about $29 per hour, or $60,700 per year. The top 25 percent of earners were making over $71,900, and the top 10 percent, over $93,000.