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Career Options in Entomology


bug scout

When asked what "bug-ologists" (aka entomologists) do, many people immediately conjure up mental images of somewhat nerdy people of less-than sound minds, sporting pith helmets, and jungle shorts while chasing a butterfly with a bug net.

While entertaining, these stereotypical images of what an entomologist is are far from the truth. There are many different careers in which trained entomologists may find employment; many practicing entomologists may never even hold a butterfly net or make an insect collection. Entomologists work in laboratories, forests and offices. Some are employed in schools or universities, while others work for the government or the military. Many work in industries that are closely tied to entomology, such as pesticide research and development, or agriculture. In many cases, people in these careers many not be specialized entomologists, but will certainly be more productive and valuable because of their general entomology training.

It is important to gain an appreciation of the variety of employment opportunities associated with entomology. Quite often, professional entomologists must work together to solve particular problems and complete projects. Expertise from various disciplines is always an advantage. For that reason, it is valuable to know what fellow entomologists do.

In this section, you will be presented with several fictitious case studies or scenarios, in which entomologists may be employed. These represent only a few of the possible employment opportunities open to entomologists, but they should provide you with a general appreciation of the important contributions entomologists make in today's world. Following each scenario is a brief description of the educational requirements, interests and aptitudes of those who work in that specific area, be it government, industry or academia.