An Entomologist Career

By Eric Hammer

If you're the sort of person who doesn't shriek and jump on the nearest table when you see a spider and who doesn't mind killing a cockroach with her bare hands, then you may well be interested in an entomologist career. No, an entomologist doesn't study Entenmanns cakes, in spite of what you may have hoped for. Instead, an entomologist career would involve studying the creatures that show up when you drop the crumbs from your Entenmanns cakes and don't clean them up right away. That's right - you would be the sort of person who studies insects for a living.

Now assuming you haven't run shrieking from your computer screen, an entomologist career can actually be an extremely rewarding and exciting one. The study of insects is an old pursuit and it has a whole lot more involved in it than simply figuring out how to kill them more efficiently.

In fact, as an entomologist, you may well be looking for things like food additives (the color of some M&Ms candies used to come from the shell of an insect [a beetle specifically], though this recipe was changed decades ago to accommodate observant Jews and Muslims who don't eat anything that comes from insects). Another possibility for those pursuing an entomologist career is to look for potential cures for diseases from the insect world.

How Much Can You Make?

According to Simply Hired, the average salary for an entomologist is $62,000 per year.

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Keep in mind that the insect world is vast and still not fully explored. There are tens of thousands of different kinds of insects and there are actually whole subjections of an entomologist career that you can choose from as a result of this.

Most people who pursue a career in entomology tend to specialize in a particular area of study. For example, some will study arachnids (i.e. spiders) while others may well study beetles or roaches. The possibilities are truly endless.

It is also interesting to note that some of the world's greatest scientists were actually enologists, including Charles Darwin. Of course, you don't necessarily have to study the theory of evolution to engage in the world of entomology, nor do you need to pursue cockroaches around your mother's basement. As noted, the insect world is vast and it's possible to pursue an entomologist career where you study butterflies for example.

Qualifications / Requirements

In most cases, you'll need at least a master's degree in order to pursue an entomologist career. Many people also pursue a doctoral degree in order to specialize in a particular area of study in this remarkable field of endeavor.

First Steps

Start by taking college courses which focus on the field of entomology and be sure to get yourself a good grounding in the life sciences in general. Then, pursue a master's degree in the area of specialty of your choice - remember that an entomologist career involves a wide range of choices and so you'll want to know in advance which types of insects you want to study.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about pursuing an entomologist career:

Wisegeek: What is an entomologist? This is an excellent introduction to what is involved in pursuing an entomologist career.

Entomological Society of America - a professional organization for those who choose to pursue an entomologist career.

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