Biology Teacher Career Profile

Biology teachers are in the front line of one of the world's biggest, most rapidly expanding, fields of science. All forms of biology are experiencing high demand for graduates, with big areas of demand in industry and academic research.  

The Work Environment

Biology teaching is done in multiple educational environments: 

  • Undergraduate: Initial professional training level.
  • Graduate: Professional training level.
  • Postgraduate: Doctoral and postdoctoral level.

At each level of academic training, the nature of the biology teacher's work is different, involving a range of specializations at graduate level and above. There are many fields of biology, and teachers in these fields are themselves specialists

These are some of the basic areas of teaching in which biology is a required study:

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Zoology
  • Marine biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomechanics
  • Environmental studies
  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Forensic studies
  • Food science

The Teaching Environments

The nature of the work also dictates the teaching environment and the type of teaching being done. Biology teachers operate in two basic environments, the lab and field studies. 

Biology is an advanced technical science, and the biology teachers use a range of different forms of teaching methods, equipment and materials in the course of their work.

Biology in each environment includes various areas of training:

Lab work:

  • Training in biological laboratory techniques and operations
  • Testing methodologies
  • Dissection and physiology training
  • Techniques for preserving and handling delicate biological materials
  • Analysis techniques
  • Working with live specimens 
  • Organic chemistry applications
  • Operations of lab databases and other dedicated computer systems
  • Assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Lectures
  • Instructional work

Field work

Field work is a lot of fun, and most of the biological sciences require formal training in field techniques. These are particularly important training sessions, involving:

  • Field work basics: How to work in the field, logistics, safety training
  • Observation techniques: Use of equipment, sitting of observation resources
  • Data collection: Planning, recording, data management, data quality management (in field work this really matters)
  • Specimen collection and handling: In most forms of zoology, specimen handling is serious training. It involves learning to handle live specimens safely and without injury to the handler or the animals 
  • Systematic study in the field issues: Field work involves a lot of real academic study as well as the field operations, and this training relates to organizational skills, getting the work done properly and objectively

The Career Environment

Biology is big business, particularly in pure research, pharmaceuticals, genetics, agriculture, and medicine. Biology teachers can achieve significant career progression in this environment, moving upscale in terms of qualifications and developing their own specializations. Many biologists combine the roles of teachers and research scientists at the graduate and postgraduate levels. The academic environment provides excellent support and resources for their scientific work as well as allowing them considerable professional scope for their own development. 

Career advancement in these areas is often spectacular. Much of the world's most important biological research is conducted in these environments and in areas of government, commerce and industry which support advanced training in the various forms of biology.