5 Interesting Entomology Careers to Consider 

When you hear children talk about what they want to be when they grow up, you often hear responses like “firefighter” or “teacher,” with the occasional “magical princess” thrown in for good measure. What you’re much less likely to hear from a five-year-old is something like, “I want to be a vector control specialist.” 

But if you were once a child enamored by the fascinating lives of insects, a career in entomology might have felt like a calling long before you knew what the word meant. 

There are a plethora of careers to choose from in this dynamic field, and today we’re exploring five entomology careers you may have not yet considered. 

#1 Forensic Entomologist 

If you were a fan of the show “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” or one of its many spin-off series, you may have imagined what it would be like to be part of the forensic crew investigating an active crime scene. 

With a background in insect biology, you could play the crucial role of forensic entomologist. In this capacity, one of your primary responsibilities would involve analyzing the insects found at the scene of a homicide, typically on or near the victim, to determine that victim’s estimated time and manner of death. 

Other responsibilities of forensic entomologists include: 

  • Photographing victims of homicide scenes and documenting insect-related evidence. 
  • Collecting samples of adult and immature insects from on, inside and beneath the corpse. 
  • Collaborating with law enforcement officials. 
  • Providing expert testimony in criminal investigations. 

#2 Medical Entomologist 

If you’re an avid hiker, you’re probably familiar with the routine of performing tick checks after a day spent in the woods, meticulously examining exposed skin to ensure no ticks have latched on. This precaution is crucial because ticks can harbor Borrelia bacteria, the culprit behind Lyme disease. 

Lyme disease is just one of many conditions that can be transmitted to humans by insects. Mosquitoes, fleas and other insects also carry microbes that can cause potentially harmful diseases in humans. 

That’s where medical entomologists come in. They investigate the following three organisms and play a fundamental role in reducing the transmission of vector-borne diseases: 

  • The pathogen 
    Pathogens are disease-causing organisms, such as viruses or bacteria. Understanding the characteristics of various pathogens helps medical entomologists determine how they’re transmitted and how they affect human health. 
  • The insect vector 
    The insect that carries the pathogen, such as ticks or mosquitoes, are insect vectors. Identifying these vectors is essential in controlling the spread of these diseases. 
  • The vertebrate host 
    Humans and other mammals usually become the vertebrate hosts infected with the aforementioned pathogens. One responsibility of medical entomologists is identifying invertebrate hosts involved in the transmission cycle of a disease. This task is paramount in understanding the disease’s epidemiology and developing effective control measures. 

#3 Insect Photographer 

Could you combine your passion for photography with your fascination with insects and turn it into a career? Quite possibly! Insect photographers capture images of insects and other arthropods for a variety of purposes, including: 

  • research 
  • conservation 
  • education materials 
  • artistic expression 

Because insects’ focal points are smaller than your average subject, insect photographers use specialized equipment to highlight the intricate details of an insect’s morphology, its behaviors and its natural habitats. Insect photographers often work as freelancers for magazines, scientific publications, textbooks and more. 

#4 Apiary Manager 

Some beekeeping hobbyists aspire to turn their leisurely pastime into a career. Those who’ve worked with bees at a larger scale have the potential to become apiary managers, the individuals responsible for overseeing the operation of multiple beekeeping facilities, often for commercial purposes. 

Some of their responsibilities include: 

  • Maintaining equipment, such as the hive tools, bee smokers and carpentry tools. 
  • Inspecting colonies for diseases and pests. 
  • Breeding queen bees. 
  • Making sure bees have enough food. 
  • Splitting colonies once a colony becomes too large for one hive. 
  • Collecting honey at the end of each season. 

#5 Agricultural Pest Management Specialist 

When it comes to growing large quantities of produce, there are a few types of minute menaces with the potential to significantly decrease the crop’s yield. From aphids to crickets, these small but hungry insects have the power to wreak havoc on an upcoming harvest. 

Thanks to agricultural pest management specialists, however, there are still plenty of freshly picked in-season fruits and veggies to choose from in your local produce section. This is largely due to the ability of these professionals to control the pests that damage large-scale crops. 

But how do agricultural pest management specialists do it? 

They implement integrated pest management programs that control pests while minimizing the use of pesticides, primarily by: 

  • Conducting pest surveys. 
  • Monitoring the current and projected insect populations. 
  • Recommending effective pest control strategies. 

Your Pathway to Securing a Career in Entomology Begins at UF 

Whether you’re a entomology veteran that wants to advance in your current role or you’re new to the industry and want to gain a foundation of knowledge before entering the workforce, the University of Florida offers several online graduate programs tailored to your unique interests and professional goals. 

Both our graduate degree and graduate certificate programs offer four optional specialties: 

  • Medical Entomology 
  • Landscape Pest Management 
  • Urban Pest Management 
  • Beekeeping 

By choosing any of the above specialties, you’ll earn a 15-credit graduate certificate as part of your 30-credit graduate degree. The graduate certificate program includes specific courses tailored to each specialty, while the graduate degree program expands on these courses with an additional 15 credits, providing you with a broad understanding of entomology. 

Secure your spot for next semester and apply today

Sources: 
https://www.ojp.gov/ncjrs/virtual-library/abstracts/forensic-entomology-use-insects-investigation-homicide-and-untimely 
https://www.entsoc.org/resources/education/hall

Learn More About the Program

Click for details about the Entomology and Nematology program.