Starting a career as a biologist can be a fulfilling and lucrative career. However, it requires advanced study and dedication. A biologist is a scientist who specialises in studying living organisms. Biologists spend a lot of time researching how these organisms interact with their surroundings. These professionals can work as research scientists, biotechnologists or ecologists, among other things.
A biologist is a scientist who focuses on the study of living things, their interactions with one another and their surroundings. Some biologists pursue careers as marine biologists, wildlife biologists or microbiologists. A career as a biologist can allow you to interact with a diverse population in a variety of specialities.
You need to have an advanced degree, an extensive understanding of a biological sub-field and research experiences before you can pursue a career as a biologist. I will guide you through the processes required to acquire the required education and how to pursue a career as a biologist.
How to Become a Biologist
Complete your Secondary Education
You should have a foundation in science subjects to be able to pursue a career in biology. Additionally, you should have a minimum of credits in science subjects in your O’level examinations. Furthermore, you should decide whatever area of biology interests you while you are in secondary school. This will enable you to determine the universities to attend and the courses to apply to.
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
You should apply to an accredited university and apply to gain a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related area. Additionally, you can study courses such as physics, chemistry or ecology. This degree usually takes four years to complete.
Gain Practical Experience
You can gain this practical experience through internships. These internships will help you develop the technical abilities and real-world experience needed to work as a biologist. Furthermore, you can work on lab research projects, wildlife preserves and hospitals.
Choose an Area of Specialisation
The field of biology is a vast one. You must carve a niche in your field of interest. You can choose from marine biology, microbiology, biochemistry, ecology and many others. Additionally, you should focus on getting a specialised education in the field in which you choose to specialise.
Pursue a Master’s Degree
You need to obtain a master’s degree to advance in a technical profession like a biologist. With a master’s degree, you can work as a manager in labs and supervise the work of other biologists. Additionally, you will have access to more opportunities and earning potential.
Pursue a Doctorate Degree
You can advance your career by attaining a doctorate. This will enable you to have a high position in your career and gain relevance. A doctorate can enable you to launch your lab or teach college-level courses.
Types of Biologists
- Wildlife Biologists: Biologists who specialise in wildlife research the ecology, relationships and behaviour of wild animals in their natural environments. Additionally, they conduct experiments on wildlife plants and animals.
- Marine Biologists: They research the biology, ecology, and behaviour of aquatic species from tiny plankton to massive whales. Additionally, they study aquatic plants, animals and microbes for a variety of reasons.
- Microbiologists: Researchers who specialise in microbiology study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. They usually conduct their research in a lab environment.
- Ecologists: Ecologists research the interactions between living things and their surroundings such as soil, water and climate.
- Biostatisticians: Biostatisticians investigate fundamental biological concepts using mathematical and statistical techniques. Furthermore, they create and use statistical methods to analyse data from biological and health sciences.
- Botanists: They investigate the biology, ecology and evolution of plants as well as how they interact with their surroundings.
Skills of a Biologist
- Knowledge of Basic Biological Principles
- Critical Thinking
- Laboratory Expertise
- Knowledge of specific science disciplines
Universities in Africa that Offer Biology
- Cairo University, Egypt
- University of Lagos, Nigeria
- Ain Shams University, Egypt
- University of Johannesburg, South Africa
- Alexandria University, Egypt
- University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Mansoura University, Egypt
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Assiut University, Egypt
- University of Monastir, Tunisia
- Sohag University, Egypt
- University of Nigeria, Nigeria
- Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
- University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- Tanta University, Egypt
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
- University of Carthage, Tunisia
- Durban University of Technology, South Africa
- University of Ilorin, Nigeria
- Covenant University, Nigeria
- University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
- Jimma University, Ethiopia
- Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
- University of Annaba, Algeria
- Hawassa University, Ethiopia
- University of Uyo, Nigeria
Pursuing a career as a biologist allows one to travel the globe to study animals, examine microbes in the lab and create new life-saving treatments. Additionally, you can work for pharmaceutical organisations, government agencies, diagnostic centres and research institutes. This is an interesting career path. However, you need to be equipped with the requirements needed to thrive as a biologist in any specialisation. Therefore, you should ensure that you have the dedication and zeal to learn all that is needed and gather the relevant experiences.