What is an entomologist?
An entomologist is a biologist who has extensive knowledge about insects.
Is it more difficult for to find jobs with a Purdue Entomology Degree than a Biology Degree?
No. The Purdue Entomology curriculum provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to compete for most jobs that require a biology major. In fact, entomology can make your application stand out if a part of the job involves insects. Entomology students are far more competitive for jobs that require expertise in entomology.
What does the typical Entomologist do?
The careers that require expertise in entomology are varied and vast. A broad education in all aspects of entomology qualifies graduates for many jobs. Entomologists typically choose to specialize in an area of their interest. Some specialties include:
  • Insect identification and biodiversity
  • Management of insect pests of crops
  • Management of urban pests
  • Forest health and ecosystems
  • Retail sales of insects, insect products and products used by entomologists and biologists.
  • Customer support
  • Industrial and University Research
  • Biological Control
  • Insect Rearing for biological control, research or economic interests such as beekeeping and silk production
  • Public health and management of vectors of human diseases such as mosquitoes
  • Regulatory affairs and controlling the spread of exotic insect pests
  • Education, both traditional, and employee training and public outreach
  • Genomics genetics and molecular biology
Successful entomologists often pursue new and emerging insect pest problems or new and emerging technologies and become experts. Careers are made by becoming an expert in specific areas of interest. Does an area you are interested in involve insects? Then there is an opportunity for an entomologist.
Where do entomologists work?
Entomologists work in a variety of settings, depending on the job and interests of the entomologist. Entomologists may work outdoors in agricultural crops, forested areas, wetlands and in rural and urban areas. Entomologists may work indoors in offices or laboratories, or retail sales. Entomologists may work in homes, office buildings, structures of all sorts including warehouses, grain elevators, ships and shipyards. Entomologists may work for government, industry, private consulting or education. There are a variety of jobs and workplaces depending on interest. Entomology is international and many jobs provide opportunities to travel and work in other countries. If a place has insects, an entomologist may work there.
As an entomologist, how do I choose a career?
Choosing a career starts with identifying your interests and learning more. Through directed study and hard work, students become expert in that area and seek other entomologists who share that interest. Students in Purdue Entomology can work with faculty on projects that provide hands on experience in their area of interest. Purdue Entomology strongly encourages students to seek summer internships in their area of interest. We maintain a folder of employers who want to hire entomology students college student interns. Paid internships are competitive and up to the student to make the contacts and applications. As interns, students evaluate potential employers and learn what they like and dislike about certain jobs. Interns meet people in the workplace with similar interests and make connections in their area of interest. Professional contacts provide a support network to communicate about careers and job opportunities. Most students find their career path through hands on experience, or it finds them.
Do Entomologists need a graduate degree?
No. Jobs are available to graduates with a 4 year undergraduate degree. However, entomologists with advanced degrees often find higher paying jobs and more opportunity for advancement. The good news is that most Entomology Departments have Funding for the top Graduate Students admitted to their programs. Graduate Students are typically paid a stipend as a Teaching Assistant or to work as a Research Assistant on a project. Stipends pay for tuition and fees plus a living allowance.
For more information, ask an ENTOMOLOGIST. bugs@purdue.edu or call 765.494.4594.​​​​