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1.Is there such a job that involves animals and no blood? 2.How long do you have to go to school to be a scientist? 3.How do you get a job as a scientist?
Question Date: 2002-02-28
Answer 1:

Do you want to be a scientist? Are you afraid of blood? That's o.k., because I really hate needles. The truth is not all scientists work with blood. I am a biologist, and I worked with deep sea animals. Usually, I kept them alive in a small aquarium. Some biologists work with animals so rare that they would never dissect them or anything like that. Also, some biologists study how animals communicate, and they rarely draw any blood from them. So you see Katy, being a biologist does not mean you need to draw blood. There's a whole lot to do!

Answer 2:

I gather from these questions that you are considering a career in science, and more specifically in Biology. All right! You are also asking the right questions, which is excellent. I was immediately sympathetic when I read your first question, in which you asked about jobs that involve animals but which do not involve blood. I thought about being a veterinarian for a while in high school, but finally abandoned the idea after I came to the conclusion that I really did not want to perform surgeries (or even give shots-- I hate needles!).

The good news is that yes, there are plenty of jobs that allow you to work with animals without dealing with blood. You could study, for example, animal behavior. Many biologists make a living observing animals in order to learn about how they act in different environments and situations. While some aspects of behavioral research can involve internal iology, you can choose to undertake studies that do not. I am sure you have seen some of these types of studies on popular nature programs. For example, a documentary that follows a pride of lions as it travels about Africa illustrates one type of this research. However, occasionally the lions will kill and eat some hapless wild beast, and that does involve some blood... Another option might be to become an animal trainer. Training animals is usually less research-oriented and is in many ways a more applied branch of behavioral biology. For both of these careers it is a good idea to take many psychology courses in addition to some biology ones. You could also be an animal caretaker or curator at a zoo, or work at a wildlife rehabilitation center. The bad news is that unfortunately animals, just like people, sometimes injure themselves, so in any job with animals you might occasionally encounter some blood. But with the careers I have mentioned here blood is not inherent in the job description, and as you look further in your career search you will find there are many more options that I have neglected mentioned.

You also asked how long you would have to go to school to be a scientist. That depends on how you look at it. In a way, you will have to be in school your whole life! There are always new ideas, developments, and advances to keep up to date on, and experiments and investigations to perform. So as a scientist you will spend the rest of your life learning, but this is what makes science so exciting! Of course even though you will spend a lot of time learning this doesn't mean you have to actually go and sit in classes your whole life. Normally in order to find a job where you can truly contribute as a scientist you need at least to complete a Bachelors degree at a university (which requires 4-5 years of study), and often times you will need a graduate degree (such as a Masters or Ph.D.) as well (requiring another 2-7 years). But if you ask most scientists, they will tell you that those years in school were some of the best of their lives!

Finding a job in Science can be like finding a job anywhere. Job openings are often posted in professional journals, on web sites, or even in newspapers. You can also find a place you are interested in working, and ask if they have any positions available. As a student it is a good idea to volunteer to gain experience and get to know people who do the kind of work you would like to do. The more you participate, the more experience you will get, and the more you will hear about positions that become available. Good luck!

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