Careers in Entomology

Students graduating with a degree in entomology can look forward to a wide variety of career opportunities.

Private Industry

  • Seed Industry: Evaluate new lines of corn, soybeans, and other crops for susceptibility to major insect pests (both field and laboratory research). Insect rearing expertise is often needed to supply the insect pests for research.
    Employers: Pioneer HiBred, Syngenta, Mycogen Seeds, and others
    Requirement: Entomology at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels
  • Agrochemical Industry: Evaluate new crop protection chemicals against insect pests, as well as insects that are important pests of human health, veterinary health, forestry, household, turf grass, and other horticultural plants. Expertise in rearing insects is often needed for product testing.
    Employers: Large multi-national corporations like Dow AgroSciences, Du Pont, Bayer Crop Protection, BASF, as well as smaller companies who specialize in insect repellents and specialty markets like S.C. Johnson and EcoSmart.
    Requirement: Entomology at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels
  • Food Industry: Insect pests of stored products are a major problem in the food and feed industries. Conduct pest management programs that include monitoring insect pests in their crops, both pre-harvest and post-harvest.
    Employers: Green Giant, Quaker Oats, Del Monte, and others
    Requirement: Entomology and/or horticulture at the B.S. and M.S. level
  • Crop Consultants: Independent source of pest management services for corporate producers, cooperatives, and individual producers to help growers minimize losses to insects, weeds, or diseases.
    Employers: Heart of Iowa Co-op, Advanced Crop Management, and others
    Requirement: B.S. in Entomology, Weed Science or Plant Pathology.
  • Urban Pest Control: Control of insect problems is crucial to many types of institutions, including hospitals, schools, universities, hotels, nursing homes, and other governmental and private organizations. Urban pest control is commonly carried out by private pest control operators.

Federal and State

  • Military: The Military employs and trains entomologists to protect troops from attack by insect pests, especially ones transmitting infectious diseases. Military facilities, vehicles, foods, and uniforms also need protection from insect pests.
    Employers: Army, Navy, and Air Force
    Requirement: Entomology at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels; often degree is completed while serving.
  • Federal Research Laboratories: Government research utilizes B.S. and M.S. technicians to help carry out important agricultural, environmental, and health research projects. At the federal level, research labs are present around the U.S. conducting a variety of entomology-based studies.
    Employers: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Geological Survey
    Requirement: Entomology at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels
  • State Departments of Agriculture: State agencies that have responsibility for oversight of agriculture and land stewardship employ entomologists to monitor for newly introduced species as well as train and educate pesticide applicators.
  • State Departments of Natural Resources: Departments of Natural Resources are often concerned with invasive species including insects and other invertebrates. They also focus on protection of natural resources such as forests, lakes, and rivers, as well as the plants and wildlife that live there.
  • State, County, and City Departments of Health: Public health pests are of concern to governmental agencies that are responsible for protecting people and companion animals. Entomologists in these positions are often charged with making decisions about whether to spray, when to spray, and which chemical to spray as they evaluate potential public health threats.
  • Extension Services: Extension Services in many states provide information and services to their stakeholders. Some provide identification of insects, especially those impacting their environment or livelihood, pest management recommendations, and pesticide applicator training.
  • Federal and State Regulatory Agencies: Entomologists are involved in registration and/or enforcement of regulations, many of which involve insect pests or pesticides. Training and research towards pest management is also conducted domestic and internationally. Quarantine and inspection services also employ entomologists. At the state level, entomologists inspect shipments of nursery stock, produce, livestock, pets, etc. that enter the state.
    Employers: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (A.P.H.I.S.)
    Requirement: Entomology at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels
  • Academic Institutions: Education and training of students in entomology and related biological and agricultural sciences requires personnel trained in these fields. Universities, colleges, community colleges, as well as primary and secondary educational institutions benefit from teachers who are well versed in entomological sciences.

Non-Governmental Organizations

  • Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Houses: The recent popularity and proliferation of insect exhibits has created a demand for entomologists at every level trained in insect husbandry, as well as interpretation/presentation and appreciation of insects.