At the bachelor's and master's degree level, students complete lab work in the field, while doctoral students complete academic research. Online courses and degree programs are available. In addition to degree programs in entomology, certificate programs are available at the post-bachelor's level. Some schools allow for course credits earned in the certificate program to count toward the requirements of a master's degree program
Prior coursework in biology, chemistry, geology and higher mathematics are requirements for the 4- year bachelor's program, in addition to a high school diploma or GED. A bachelor's degree in entomology or a related field is required to apply to the 6-year Ph.D. program. Some schools may also require students to have completed chemistry and statistics courses during their undergraduate studies.
Bachelor's Degree in Entomology
Many schools focus their undergraduate entomology degree programs on a particular branch of research or require students to choose an area of specialization. The majority of the coursework is conducted in lab and lecture formats.
Courses vary from school to school in order to allow a student to tailor the program to their eventual career goals. Some of the subjects covered include:
- Veterinary and medical entomology
- Forensic entomology studies
- Pest management principles
- Entomology and public health
- Biosecurity and exotic species issues
- Ethics and the environment
Ph.D. in Entomology
This program is primarily for those wishing to enter academia or research. While a master's degree is available in this discipline, students with a doctorate will find more openings in directorial positions and have a greater chance to receive research grants.
Courses are conducted in lab, classroom and seminar formats. Subjects covered include advanced studies of:
Certificates for Entomology
Certificate programs are available for those who are enrolled in or have completed graduate degree programs. At least one school offers a certificate program designed for students with degrees in other disciplines, such as agriculture, who wish to demonstrate knowledge of entomology as it relates to their field of study. Such programs offer options to perform research projects or conduct seminars in a sub-discipline as part of the graduation requirements.
Certificate programs feature courses that are much more specialized than those found in degree programs. Students can expect to take courses that include:
- Scientific illustration techniques
- Insects as educational resources
- Biological pest control methods
- Forensic and medical entomology
- Insect ecology controversies
Regardless of the field, an entomologist retains the job title of entomologist. Entomologists may find careers in fields that include the following:
- Federal and state government
Earning a graduate-level certificate in entomology prepares graduates for additional career options, including:
- Forensic science
- Veterinary medicine
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Among the wide range of employment possibilities for entomologists are wildlife biologist and agricultural scientist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides statistics and information for both of these job categories. The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for zoologists and wildlife biologists will grow by 4% from 2014-2024, while those for agricultural and food scientists are likely to increase by 5% during the same period (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, median yearly earnings for zoologists and wildlife biologists were $59,680; entomologists working in agriculture as soil and plant scientists made a median wage of $60,050. Entomologists who are interested in academic research positions could expect to face fierce competition; applied research positions in the private sector were projected to be more favorable.
Aspiring entomologists can pursue a bachelor's or doctorate degree program to study insect ecology and more. Graduates can also earn a certificate to specialize in a particular area, or seek job opportunities in fields such as wildlife biology and agricultural science.