CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAR. 23, 2014
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Do You Have What It Takes To Study Bugs and Earn $60,000 A Year?


I'm about to share something deeply personal. So let's keep this a secret.

Ok?

Between you. Me. And the billions who roam cyberspace.

I love bugs.

That's right. I wasn't the kid who got a thrill out of burning ants with a magnifying glass. Though I did have a magnifying glass.

Instead, I studied bugs with it... That's right. Particularly ants. When I was twelve-years-old, I purchased an ant farm (a small glass dome) and had a colony of ants--queen included--shipped to my house.

When they finally arrived. Forget it.

No. I wasn't on cloud nine. I was on whatever cloud geeks like me with unusual obsessions get sent to.

Late nights were spent hunched over my desk, staring at these busy little workers dig intricate tunnels--a subterranean kingdom ala the Mines of Moria. And I loved every second of it.

So much so that I'd decided that I wanted to dedicate my life to studying insects. A bug doctor. And then I discovered that there was such a thing. An entomologist.

Unfortunately, at some point during my preadolescent hormonal surge, my interest in insects was swiftly replaced with an interest in women. And then I realized that being an entomologist would've allowed for some god-awful pick-up lines...

"If you and I were bed bugs who met in the mattress... then we'd be married in the spring."

Yeah...

...And read that with your best Patrick Warburton impression.

But for those of you who still have an interest in insects and want to know more about the field. You're in luck.

So in case you're not sure about...

What an Entomologist Does

They research, study, and categorize many different species of insects. This includes everything from the insect's morphology, behavior, ecology, and nutrition. Entomologists also examine how insects interact with each other, their environment, and diverse animals.

 

But these people aren't just sitting around studying bugs. Many of them use the gathered information to in order to problem solve. They look for ways to control harmful insects by synthesizing pesticides and non-chemical alternatives.

How To Get In The Field

Typically you would need a doctoral degree in either entomology, zoology, biology, or a related field. If you dig deep enough, you can find many universities that offer entomology programs. Other institutions offer a specialization in that field.

Like most other career paths, you should also look into any opportunities to get experience. That's right. Internships. Volunteer at a zoo or an entomology environment to gain relevant field experience.

You can also get a certification. The Entomological Society of America offers the Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) and Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE). All you need to get these is to meet the minimum education requirement and pass an exam.

What's The Market Like For This Career?

In a nutshell, it's surging. Employment of all biological scientists is expected to skyrocket--at a much faster rate than all professions. Because of the biotechnology industry and the increased demand for pest control, there is an expected 21% growth for 2018.

How much do they make? Well, as of 2012, these "bug doctors" are pulling in a not-too-shabby $62,000.

Not bad at all for someone who makes a living studying dung beetles.

 

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