Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics > Biochemists > Working Conditions

Biochemists - Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, biologists:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a moderate level of social contact. Biologists often work alone while collecting and analyzing data.
  • Are not usually responsible for others health and safety. However, microbiologists working with viruses and bacteria are greatly responsible for the health and safety of coworkers.
  • Are responsible for the work outcomes and results of the technicians and students they supervise.
  • Understand that it is very important to work cooperatively on teams.
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  • Communicate with other scientists daily by phone, e-mail, or in person.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Work indoors in laboratories. However, wildlife biologists do fieldwork outdoors.
  • Wear protective gear when working with hazardous materials or animals.
  • Are sometimes exposed to contaminants, such as toxic chemicals. However, the use of safety equipment and procedures greatly reduces the chance of injury.
  • Microbiologists are exposed daily to diseases or dangerous organisms. Safety procedures and protective clothing reduce the risk of getting sick.

Work Performance

  • Must be sure that all details of the job are completed.
  • Must be very exact in their work and follow precise steps in their observations. Errors could ruin months of work or endanger the environment.
  • Meet strict deadlines weekly.
  • Often make decisions that strongly affect their coworkers.
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  • Can set some tasks and goals and make most decisions without talking to a supervisor.


  • Usually work a standard 40-hour work week.
  • May travel to remote areas and live in primitive conditions while conducting studies. This mainly applies to wildlife biologists.
Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.