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M 3.3-278

Careers for
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Arthur J. Goldberg, Secretary
Mrs. Esther Peterson, Director

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Careers for Women
in the

Women’s Bureau Bulletin 278

Arthur J. Goldberg/ Secretary
M rs. Esther Peterson, Director
Washington, D.C.


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D.C. - Price 40 cents


Major economic indicators point to the present and coming decades
as periods to be marked by sharp increases in the number of women
working outside the home. Now, more than ever before, it is im­
portant that women acquire proper and adequate vocational or
professional training to equip themselves for expanding job oppor­
tunities in the newer fields, as well as the more traditional types of
work. The required skill levels are constantly rising in many fields,
particularly in the technical and scientific areas.
It is widely recognized that technology and science characterize
our civilization. Myriads of anonymous “explorers” and unseen
hands contribute to our scientific achievements. Present-day scien­
tists are utilizing the knowledge accumulated over the centuries and
are building upon this knowledge at a breathtaking pace. Sharing
in this intensification of scientific endeavor are the countless biologi­
cal scientists who are arraying themselves into a continually broad­
ening spectrum of specialties. Consequently, greater training-in­
depth is becoming more and more necessary.
Within the biological sciences, there has been notable acceptance
and utilization of women as technicians and as scientists. The in­
dications are manifold that women with advanced training and
highly developed skills will occupy still larger numbers of responsible
positions in this field.
Although this bulletin was planned and executed during the term
of office of my predecessor, Mrs. Alice K. Leopold, I am pleased to
have a part in launching it. By assembling information on current
developments in the diverse biological sciences and on trends in train­
ing for the different kinds of work, the Women’s Bureau hopes to
provide young women who have a scientific bent with a basis for
considering this field as a career. The bulletin also provides material
which parents, friends, teachers, or professional vocational guidance
personnel will find useful in advising young women about their occu­
pational choices.
Esther Peterson,

Director, Women’s Bureau.


This bulletin was prepared by Mary C. Murphy and Evelyn S.
Spiro, with the assistance of Caroline C. Cherrix, under the general
direction of Stella P. Manor, Chief of Program Planning, Analysis,
and Reports in the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of
Labor. It supersedes an earlier bulletin entitled “The Outlook for
Women in the Biological Sciences” (1948), and is a companion piece
to the one entitled “Careers for Women in the Physical Sciences ’
(1959). Additional information about jobs in the health occupations,
mathematics, programming, statistics, and the social sciences, may
be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the
U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Women’s Bureau wishes to acknowledge with sincere appre­
ciation the cooperation of the many organizations and individuals
who gave generously of their time to provide information upon
which this report is based. Included are persons affiliated with
professional societies, colleges and universities, Federal Government
agencies, State health departments, private industry establishments,
and nonprofit organizations.
Special acknowledgment is due the outstanding women scientists
whose careers are described in the biographical briefs which are
interspersed throughout the report.
For the photographs which appear in this bulletin, the Women’s
Bureau is indebted to the following:
National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare (pp. 19, 22, 25, 66).
Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service, Atlanta, Ga. (p. 31).
Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind. (pp. 10,33, 60).
Swift & Co., Union Stock Yards, Chicago, 111. (p. 34).
Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, N.Y. (pp. 2,35).
Abbott Laboratories, Scientific Divisions, North Chicago, 111. (p. 5).
Lederle Laboratories, A Division of American Cyanamid Co., Pearl River, N.Y.
(p. 9).
Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, N.Y. (pp. 70, 71).
Asgrow Seed Co., New Haven, Conn. (p. 15).
U.S. Department of Agriculture (pp. 28,42).
Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare (cover).



1. Introduction...................................................................................................
Major biology divisions........................................................................
Relationship to other fields................................................................
Coverage and scope................................................................................
Number employed in the field............................................................
2. Who are the employers?................................................................................
Educational institutions........................................................................
Private industry....................................................................................
Nonprofit organizations........................................................................
3. Types of work activity...................................................................................
Quality control.......................................................................................
Museum work.......................................................................................
Related fields.......................................................................................
4. Nature of the jobs........................................................................................
Colleges and universities................................................................
Federal Government agencies....................................................
Health, Education, and Welfare Department....................
Agriculture Department........................................................
Other Federal Government agencies....................................
State and local public health organizations................................
Private industry...........................................................................
Museum work........................................................................................
Jobs overseas........................................................................................
5. Preparation for a career................................................................................
Advanced or graduate degree................................................................
The bachelor’s degree............................................................................
Preparation for high school teaching................................................
Degrees granted to women.......................
Preparatory courses in high school....................................................
Extracurricular activities....................................................................
Vacation work for students................................................................
Financial assistance...............................................................................
6. Earnings and other work factors................................................................
Federal employment....................................................................
State and local employment........................................................
Colleges and universities................................................................
Secondary schools.......................................................................
Private industry............................................................................




Earnings and other work factors—Continued
Industry practices...............................................................................
Job-related training...............................................................................
7. Finding employment....................................................................................
With less than a college degree............................................................
With a bachelor’s degree........................................................................
With an advanced or graduate degree................................................
Part-time employment........................................................................
8. A look to the future........................................................................................
Biology research....................................................................................
Radiation biology....................................................................................
Space biology........................................................................................



A. National register of scientific and technical personnel............................
Canadian Government register................................................................
B. Federal Government salary structure........................................................
C. Women’s Bureau publications in the medical and health services field .
D. Glossary of selected biological specialties................................................
E. Professional societies in the biologicalsciences.........................................



Since the beginning of time, human beings have been fascinated
by the questions: What is life? and How can life be prolonged?
In pursuit of answers to these questions, present-day biologists are
concerned with all living organisms—from the simple one-celled
plant called algae to the complex being called man. Because there
are countless types of living species, the categories of specialist
studying them are legion.

Biology is the study of the structure and life cycle of living
organisms. This science covers so many diverse areas that biologists
are usually classified according to their specialization. In the past,
biology was divided into two major branches: Zoology—which deals
with the study of animal life, including man, and botany—which
deals with the study of plants. Today, microbiology (including
bacteriology)—which deals with bacteria, viruses, molds, and other
microscopic organisms—is recognized as a third broad classification.
Biology teachers and a few others, whose work cuts across several
of the major subdivisions, simply term themselves biologists. Most
of the others, however, describe their occupation in terms of their
particular subspecialty.
The most familiar system of classifying biological work is by
type of organism. Animal scientists may specialize in invertebrates
(lower forms of life) or vertebrates. Those who specialize in in­
vertebrates, and the forms of life that they study, are: Entomologists
(insects), protozoologists (protozoa), helminthologists (worms), and
arachnidologists (spiders). Among the specialists in vertebrates,
and their subjects of study, are: Icthyologists (fish), ornithologists
(birds), herpetologists (amphibians and reptiles), and mammalogists
Plant scientists include not only general botanists concerned with
fundamental knowledge of all plants, but also specialists who work

mi S?i

A technician checking cultures in a battery of trays as one step in an experiment.

with seed plants (physiologists, anatomists, ecologists, or patholo­
gists), mosses (bryologists), algae (algologists), fungi (mycologists),
and ferns (pteridologists).
As the name implies, microbiologists are concerned with micro­
scopic and submicroscopic organisms. Some of these organisms are
beneficial to the various living species whereas others are harmful.
Although the term “bacteriologist” is sometimes used to describe this
broad group of scientists, it applies particularly to those specializing
in bacteria, just as the term “virologist” refers to those studying
viruses. Persons who specialize in methods of immunizing animals
and humans against diseases by means of vaccines, toxoids, and
other biological products are called “immunologists.” Those who
test body fluids of patients for indication of specific infections are
known as “serologists.” Other subspecialties are designated by the
particular field of microbiology or bacteriology concerned. A public
health bacteriologist tests milk, water, or food to control and pre­
vent contagious disease. A dairy bacteriologist may study the
micro-organisms involved in producing cheese and fermented milk.
These are but a few of the subspecialties in the growing field of


Many specialties exist among biologists which are related to their
broad areas of work, such as ecology, genetics, and morphology.
These specialties and several others are described briefly in Appen­
dix D.

Several specializations reflect a particular method of scientific
investigation. Biometricians and biostatisticians, for example, meas­
ure biological events by the use of mathematics and statistics. Com­
puter analysts or programmers are becoming increasingly popular
in dealing with large masses of data or in planning and designing
experiments for precise results.
Biophysicists apply the principles of physics to living beings in
order to study processes such as muscular action or the effects of
radiation. Biochemists link biology with chemistry to seek answers
to questions such as: What regulates certain chemical reactions in
tissues ? or What chemical changes occur when an organism becomes
diseased ?

As noted in the foreword, this bulletin was prepared primarily for
the use of young women who wish to consider the biological sciences
as a career, and for their vocational counselors. It was not feasible
within the scope of this report, to cover all of the growing number
of job possibilities in this occupational field. Rather, emphasis was
placed on those segments in which women are well established or in
which there is reason to believe they may be in the near future.
Thus, little mention is made of jobs in which persons utilize train­
ing in the biological sciences directly in the fields of agriculture
and forestry. Also excluded are the jobs of those who utilize this
training in the practice of medicine or veterinary science. On the
other hand, this bulletin does contain information about the occupa­
tions of persons who utilize this type of training primarily in labora­
tory research on agricultural or medical or veterinary problems, or
in the teaching of subjects related to these fields.1
Most of the material in this bulletin relates to job opportunities
for women in occupations which require a minimum of a bachelor’s
degree in biology or one of its specialties. Some attention is given,
however, to jobs which have been characterized as subprofessional
or technical in nature.
1 See Appendix C for a list of Women’s Bureau bulletins and pamphlets pertaining to
careers for women in the medical and health services.

579161 0-61—2


Unlike some of the other science fields, a sizable number of women
are employed in biology. However, relatively few of this fairly
large group have prepared themselves to be “full-fledged” biological
scientists. They are better represented in the ranks of research
assistants and biology technicians and in the somewhat related oc­
cupations of X-ray technician and medical technologist. Since the
number of jobs as research assistant and biology technician is quite
large, women do, in fact, represent a significant proportion of the
total number of workers in the overall biological sciences field.
Furthermore, in many places, turnover is relatively high so that a
number of well-trained persons are needed to replace those who
leave the field as well as to staff new jobs.
Although teaching and laboratory work seem to be the most popu­
lar types of assignment for women biologists and biological tech­
nicians, women are employed in many other kinds of jobs such as
technical writing, editing, library work, scientific illustration, ad­
ministration, production, and museum lecturing or exhibiting. In
fact, women are often preferred as supporting personnel to higher
level scientists because of their careful handling of detail and their
patience, dexterity, and reliability.

It would be difficult or perhaps impossible to estimate precisely
the number of persons employed in the biological sciences. Even
arriving at a definition of what we wish to measure poses a major
problem. Some persons consider only those educated at the Ph. D.
level in biology to be biological scientists. Others include in their
definition all supporting technical workers and aids at all levels
of education down to those with only a high school education or less.
Regardless of definition, we know that biology is a large occupa­
tional field and one in which women already play an important role.
There is much to indicate that this role can become even more prom­
inent in the future if enough capable young women choose the bio­
logical sciences as a career and obtain sufficient training and education
for the field.
Most of the estimates of the total number of professional persons
(those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent)
employed in the biological sciences range between 50,000 and 85,000.
Estimates of the proportion that women comprise of this field
likewise vary markedly, ranging from about 10 to 20 percent.
The National Science Foundation in cooperation with several pro­
fessional societies maintains the National Register of Scientific and

Technical Personnel, which is brought up to date periodically. The
numbers of all biological scientists and of women scientists on the
Register in the 1956-58 period are shown in Appendix A (see p. 75
of this bulletin), along with brief analyses of women scientists by
place of employment, work activity, educational attainment, salary
level, age, and educational major.


A bacteriologist working with a multitude of specimens in a drug house
laboratory experiment.


Who Are the Employers?
A very large proportion of all the women in the biological sciences
are employed by educational institutions, government agencies, pri­
vate industry establishments, or nonprofit organizations. Work per­
formed for these four major groups of employers is described
briefly in this chapter.

Perhaps half of all the college-trained men and women working
in the field of biology are teachers. A majority are employed by
colleges and universities which, for the most part, utilize persons
who have attained the master’s or Ph. D. educational level. The
remainder teach in secondary and preparatory schools and usually
have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
Women comprise a relatively small proportion of the biological
sciences faculties of colleges and universities—perhaps 15 to 20
percent—although the ratio appears to be growing gradually, ac­
cording to National Education Association surveys.
On the other hand, about half of all secondary school teachers are
women and about half of all the biology teachers in these schools
are women.
► One distinguished scientist and educator was recently appointed as presi­
dent of a women’s college in the East, where she plans to continue some
teaching and research along with her administrative responsihilities.
She successfully combined her professional career with that of being a
wife and the mother of four children.
Starting her academic attainment with a bachelor’s degree in physics,
she took her master’s and Ph. D. degrees in agricultural bacteriology and
chemistry—with the aid of two fellowships. Some of her earlier papers
are considered pioneer studies in microbial genetics.
Participation in community activities, particularly those related to edu­
cational affairs, was an important factor leading to her appointment as
a college dean, a post she held immediately prior to her present position.



One scientist with a doctorate in zoology is professor of human genetics
at a leading university of Canada and director of the genetics department
of a large children’s hospital. In the latter post, she counsels people with
certain hereditary backgrounds on the advisability of marriage and the
possibility of transmitting abnormalities to their children. She is perhaps
best known for her studies on twins and the development of a method used
in the diagnosing of mongoloid children. Her research and writing in­
volve much travel, in which she is often accompanied by her distinguished
scientist husband (who is also a zoologist).

► A woman who is an authority in the field of embryology combined her
work as a researcher with being a full professor and writer. Both her
doctorate and Guggenheim award contributed to her studies on differentia­
tion to learn why and how a certain part -of the embryo develops into a
specialized organ of the animal. Such experiments involve the trans­
plantation of one part of an embryo to another embryo, or tissue culture,
where bits of embryonic material are kept alive and growing in nutrient
fluids, outside the body.
► The application of a biological sciences background to the field of home
economics is exemplified by one woman biologist who was president of the
American Home Economics Association and for 27 years dean of the Col­
lege of Home Economics at a midwestern State university. In addition
to teaching, she has engaged in research on nutritional problems, such as
basal metabolism, metabolism of obesity and of preschool children, and
the relation between vitamin A and the utilization of other nutrients.


The next largest employer of persons with training in the biologi­
cal sciences is government. An estimated two-thirds of this group
work for the Federal Government and the remainder for State and
local (county and municipal) governments.
Among the Federal agencies which employ large numbers of
workers in the biological sciences are the Departments of Agricul­
ture; Interior; Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force) ; Health, Educa­
tion, and Welfare; and the Veterans Administration. Many of the
jobs in these agencies are in laboratory research and related activities
and are currently filled by women.
Some of the jobs with the Agriculture and Interior Departments,
however, include administration, soil conservation, forestry, park
ranger, range management and conservation—most of which are not
attractive to women.
Jobs with State and local government agencies are concentrated in
(wo general areas—those with public health units (especially labora­
tories) and those with fish and wildlife commissions. Women cur­
rently hold a large proportion of jobs in State and local health

department laboratories. Although few women have sought jobs
with fish and wildlife agencies, a number of these positions—par­
ticularly those in research and biometrics—are considered suitable
for women.
^ Notable achievements have been scored by women scientists on the staffs
of State government agencies. A two-woman team consisting of a mycolo­
gist and a biochemist in a State health department has produced an anti­
biotic which is reported to be effective against certain fungus diseases of
the skin and of the mouth, intestines, and other mucous membranes. This
antibiotic is now being manufactured by a national pharmaceutical com­
pany and used in the treatment of the sick.
► A distinguished scientist who took advanced degrees in nutrition and
chemistry has directed her talents in research and administration to the
field of nutrition. After early careers as a teacher and as a research bio­
chemist, she became associated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture
in Washington—which she has served for 30 years, in the later years in
an executive capacity. During her long and brilliant career, she has been
honored by many institutions and organizations—both in this country and
abroad. She is the only woman among the 15 persons who to date (1960)
have received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian
Service since it was established in 1957 to honor persons “for exceptional
achievements of unusual benefit to the Nation.”
Among her outstanding achievements has been the development of tech­
niques for applying knowledge about nutritional requirements, chemistry
and composition of food, and food consumption to problems of adequate feed­
ing—both under wartime emergency conditions and during peacetime. Her
concern and influence extends beyond our national boundaries to sharing
actively in attacking the feeding problems of the world and, as a result, she
has been called on to serve on numerous United Nations and Inter-American
commissions and delegations engaged in meeting these problems.
^ One of the outstanding women biochemists of our time studied and planned
to practice medicine before deciding that she preferred laboratory research.
Years of work seeking a pure tuberculin finally led to the development of
a formula that is being used nationally for skin tests as a mass means of
detecting tuberculosis. Among the many awards and honors bestowed
upon her was a Guggenheim fellowship for study in Sweden.
She recently “retired” from her duties as a full professor at an eastern
university but continues active in research work, both in her own labora­
tory and in the laboratories of a Federal Government agency to which she
is a special consultant.
^ A creative woman biologist with a master’s degree displays talent in writ­
ing as well as in the scientific field. While working for the Federal Gov­
ernment as a marine biologist, she became editor of publications for the
Fish and Wildlife Service. She has written books and articles for popular
as well as scientific periodicals. Among her works is a best-selling non­
fiction book describing the sea in its historical, geographical, chemical, and
biological aspects. Honors bestowed on her for this book, which has been
translated into 24 languages, include the National Book Award and the
Gold Medal of the New York Zoological Society. A Guggenheim fellowship


enabled her to do field research for her third book, which explores the
intricacies of animal and plant life at the seashore.
Her childhood interest in nature was revived when she took a college
course in biology which caused her to change her major from English to
zoology. This author-scientist is a member of the National Institute of
Arts and Letters and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She
has been on the staff of two universities.


There are a host of industries which employ persons with educa­
tion and/or experience in the biological sciences. Many of these
industries employ relatively few biologists and many individual
companies employ only one or two. Nevertheless, when all these
jobs are added together, the total is quite large.
Pharmaceutical (or drug) companies as a group comprise one of
the largest employers of persons trained in the biological sciences.

A scientist prepares to use a spectrophotometer to determine rate of excretion and
absorption of a new sulfa drug.



.J"*Blg|F |aHL 'JMj

Laboratory technicians working in polio vaccine production.

Many of these companies, especially the smaller ones which have a
less-specialized staff, require their biologists to have considerable
knowledge of chemistry. One segment of the pharmaceutical in­
dustry produces and distributes items such as vaccines, antitoxins,
serums, and blood products.


Other employers in private industry include seed houses and es­
tablishments developing and/or manufacturing insecticides and
pesticides. Virtually all of the large manufacturers of food prod­
ucts, as well as distilleries and breweries, maintain laboratories for
quality control of current products and the development of new or
improved lines of goods.
Women biologists are employed by many industrial and business
concerns, especially in laboratory activities, but their representation
is believed to be smaller in this employer segment than in education
and government.
Although activities which are normally considered part of the
medical field are not covered in this report, it should be remembered
that many hospital laboratories utilize persons with backgrounds
in biology. The training required for these jobs may differ in some
respects from that for workers in “regular” biological research
laboratories. Nevertheless, jobseekers may wish to investigate em­
ployment opportunities at hospitals and at private laboratories
which serve physicians and dentists.
^ Marriage to a fellow botanist helped shape the course of one woman’s
scientific career. She continued her graduate studies and research work
while accompanying her husband in his travels from job to job. In addi­
tion to raising a family, she became so involved in his field of professional
interest that she was considered the only person capable of taking over
her husband’s university lectures after his death. Later, she was given a
grant to continue their previously joint research on root hairs of plants.
This study shed light on the similar growth process of cotton—knowledge
which proved invaluable to the Department of Agriculture and also led
to her discovery of the origin of cellulose. An incidental distinction was
that of being named director of a cellulose laboratory of a chemical foun­
dation from which she is now “retired.” She has since established her
own laboratories where she continues her research activities ; she also serves
as an associate professor of botany at a New England university.
^ After acquiring a Ph. D. degree, one woman worked as a plant breeder for
a seed company. She later became a full professor at a western university,
specializing in the structure of vascular tissues with regard to the move­
ment of food materials and behavior of viruses in plants. She is the
author of two books on plant anatomy as well as of many articles in
scientific journals.


A number of philanthropic foundations and other nonprofit or­
ganizations are active in the biological sciences. Many of them ad­
minister comprehensive programs of basic or applied research or
both. Examples of those active in the biological-medical field are
the Rockefeller Foundation, which sponsors education and research
579161 0-61—3

projects around the world, and the Sloan-Kettering Institute for
Cancer Research which operates primarily from its headquarters
facilities in New York City. All of these organizations employ
women biological scientists directly, or support their research
through grants or fellowships.
► A woman who is now a specialist in cytology began her work experience
as a secretary while majoring in languages at a university evening school.
Later she was interpreter to an anthropoid expedition to Cuba and at an
International Zoological Congress in Uruguay. Language and secretarial
training enabled her to support herself while studying for a Ph. D. degree
in zoology. Her current research involves evaluation of destructive effects
of various agents on mammalian cancer cells, at an outstanding institute
for cancer research. She is also editor of one of the biological journals.
► After serving as a teacher and research assistant at a half-dozen colleges
and universities, one Ph. D., still in her early 40’s, is now an associate
professor of microbiology at a major eastern medical college and simul­
taneously holds a high administrative post at an outstanding nonprofit
research institute. Among her recent research projects have been in­
vestigations into the application of antibiotics in the treatment of tubercu­
losis; and mechanisms of resistance to anticancer drugs in bacteria and
mouse leukemia and their relationship to human leukemia.


Types of Work Activity
Work performed by persons in the biological sciences field can be
divided into several broad areas of activity. The vast majority of
women in this field, however, are engaged either in teaching or re­

In colleges, teachers of biology or some of its specialties are con­
cerned primarily with classroom teaching of undergraduates and
supervision of laboratories. In universities, professors often teach
some classes, spend a considerable amount of time working with
graduate students, and perhaps supervise or conduct one or more
research projects. In a typical high school, a teacher is usually
responsible for several classes in biology and one or two other
courses, one of which may be general science.2

A woman scientist with a Ph. D. in psychology, but whose work is similar
to that of certain biologists, designed and directs her own research project
at an institute of animal behavior at a well-known eastern university
where she also teaches. Her current study involves observing and photo­
graphing comparative reproductive and parental behavior patterns of
various species of doves.


One Ph. D. became a botany teacher at the same women’s college where
she had obtained her baccalaureate degree. Distinguished as a Fulbright
lecturer in Australia and Peru, she has specialized in the genetics of
maize, cell physiology, and plant-growth hormones.


For the most part, jobs in basic research (that segment of the field
concerned with the discovery of biological facts or relationships
for which there may be no immediate application) are found in the
2 For more Information on teaching jobs, see “Occupational Outlook Handbook” 1959
Edition, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (pp.


Federal Government, universities, and nonprofit institutions or foun­
dations. Increasingly, however, private concerns are allocating a
portion of their facilities to fundamental research, either from their
own funds or under government contract.
Jobs in applied research (that segment of the field concerned with
the application of known facts to an immediate problem) are found
in hospitals (both private and public) public health laboratories,
commercial research firms, and industrial manufacturing establish­

A small group of workers—primarily in the technical and aid
occupational categories—are engaged in what might be termed
quality control activities. Persons engaged in this function—vital
to the operation of many types of industrial establishments such
as drug houses and food and beverage plants—insure, by continuous
testing, that laws or standards set for potency and purity of manu­
factured products are adhered to.

There are a few interesting jobs in museums and zoological parks,
although the overall volume of employment in this field is relatively
small. Some of these institutions are run by government agencies
and some by private (usually nonprofit) organizations.

While studying for her Ph. D. degree, one woman worked at the National
Museum of the Smithsonian Institution and is now curator of the Division
of Reptiles and Amphibians, where she does extensive classification and
oversees a collection of 150,000 specimens. An authority on frogs, her
research has taken her to South America. She has numerous published
materials to her credit including “The Herpetology of Hispaniola,” “Frogs
of Southeastern Brazil,” and “Typical Reptiles and Amphibians in the
U.S. National Museum.” She also illustrated many of her articles.


One woman, who in her early undergraduate days briefly considered
majoring in botany and chemistry, went on to earn her Ph. D. in zoology.
She subsequently did research and writing at a prominent midwestern
university. She later became affiliated with the American Museum of
Natural History in New York to facilitate her research on what was to
become a project of many years’ duration—the compilation of material
and the writing of a treatise on invertebrate zoology. Five volumes of
this series have been published and a sixth is now underway. The out­
standing character of these works has won her acclaim both in this coun­
try and abroad; she was recently honored by election to membership in The
National Academy of Sciences. Among her other honors are three honorary
Sc. D.’s, and gold medals from the National Academy, and the Linnaean
Society in London.


.___ ____ _
A botanist in a commercial seed firm examines results of an experiment.


Medical and biological illustrators prepare drawings, paintings,
photographs, exhibits, charts, television visuals, motion picture ad­
juncts for classrooms, publications, and educational programs. This
work may be performed for hospitals or medical schools, physicians,
scientists, publishing houses, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, or
advertising agencies.
Librarians who are trained in the biological sciences are em­
ployed by various Federal Government agencies (Agriculture;
Health, Education, and Welfare; Interior; Defense; Veterans Ad­
ministration ), by large public libraries which have specialized de­
partments, by medical schools, by medical and/or biological societies
or organizations, and by some of the larger pharmaceutical firms.
Writers and editors are in considerable demand to prepare tele­
vision and radio scripts, for work with science magazines or maga­
zines with science departments, and to cover science developments

for newspapers. Technical writers are in demand for company
publications and for journals of professional societies and other
scientific organizations.
Statisticians are Employed in growing numbers—especially by
Federal and State governments, nonprofit organizations, and hos­
pitals—in all segments of work connected with the biological sciences.
Those who have had training in biology or one of its specialties are
most in demand. They collect and analyze information on many
types of activity, and most often are engaged in correlating data
and measurements relating specifically to scientific studies and ex­
periments. Statisticians frequently find that training in biology
is useful in dealing with such factors as expenditures, personnel,
and program activities.


Nature of the Jobs
The preceding section discussed briefly the major types of work
activity in which biological sciences personnel are engaged. This
section describes more specifically the content of a number of typical
jobs, some types of projects in which biological sciences workers are
employed, and notes some of the agencies in which certain types of
jobs are found.

By far the largest group of men and women trained in the biologi­
cal sciences—roughly half of the estimated total—are engaged in
teaching. The largest proportion of these teachers are employed by
colleges and universities with most of the remainder in secondary
Colleges and universities usually require that their teachers have
either a master’s or a doctor’s degree. Most new faculty members
are hired as instructors or assistant professors, depending on their
level of education and/or the amount of their experience. They
usually are engaged full time in classroom teaching and in supervis­
ing laboratory activities for undergraduates, predominantly students
in the freshman and sophomore classes.
As teachers advance up the academic scale to the associate pro­
fessor and professor levels, they may (a) teach advanced courses
to upperclassmen and graduate students, (b) have smaller classes,
fc) have a lighter teaching load (fewer hours spent in the classroom
each week), (d) engage in one or more research projects, (e) spend
proportionately more time in counseling and working with graduate
students, and (f) assume a number of administrative duties.
Teachers at all academic levels must spend a considerable amount
of time developing lectures and other instructional materials, pre­
paring and grading tests, and reading professional journals, new

textbooks, and the like to keep up with latest developments in the
various scientific fields. Sometimes they have the assistance of both
graduate and undergraduate students in the performance of these
In a number of institutions, a major factor considered in pro­
moting faculty members is the quality and quantity of papers pub­
lished in scientific journals or delivered before professional societies.
For the most part, these papers describe the findings of the author
relating to research activities.
In order to draw some conclusions on the degree to which women
are represented on the faculties of the biological sciences departments
of colleges and universities, the Women’s Bureau examined the staffing
pattern from a sample of 100 schools (including at least 1 from each
State). This sampling showed that in the 1959-60 school year 13
percent of biological sciences faculty members were women. The pro­
portion of women among faculty members of women’s colleges and
universities, however, was 59 percent.
Of the women faculty members counted in the 100-school sample,
20 percent were full professors, 21 percent were associate professors,
26 percent were assistant professors, and 33 percent instructors. A
few’ of the professors also served as department chairman or head.
Generally, only a bachelor’s degree is required for high school
teaching whereas a master’s degree is often a requisite for advance­
ment. In a few’ places, however, a master’s degree is required even
for beginning teaching in high school. The duties of high school
biology teachers vary markedly from place to place and depend
on a number of factors, such as the organizational structure of the
school, the size of the student body, and the curriculum. In a very
large school, a teacher may teach only biology. But in most places,
she also teaches one or more other science subjects, such as general
science, mathematics, or chemistry, or perhaps one or more subjects
unrelated to science.
Like her college and university counterpart, the high school
teacher must spend considerable time in preparing material to be
presented during class periods or outlining experiments to be under­
taken in laboratory exei’cises. She must devise and grade tests and
maintain a number of administrative records. Most high school
teachers are responsible for at least one extracurricula activity which
may bear directly on school programs or may be only school-related.
The line of promotion for a high school biology teacher may be
progressively from head of the science department to assistant
principal, principal, or superintendent of schools. At each suc18

9 9 SB IB'I’i


A technologist making a sedimentation rate test.

ceeding level of responsibility, she is expected to assume an increas­
ingly heavy load of administrative duties and to perform fewer
activities normally associated with classroom teaching.

Scientists and their helpers who are engaged in basic research in
the biological sciences are seeking to add to the world’s fund of
scientific knowledge by discovering new truths or by utilizing old
truths in new ways. The objective of these efforts is to improve the
health and well-being of mankind.
Of perhaps equal importance is the application of known scientific
facts to bring about better health and well-being for our present
generation.- Some facets of applied research are carried on in public
579161 0-61—4

health service laboratories and others in hospital laboratories and
in those maintained by private individuals or commercial groups.
Since the beginning of World War II there has been an enormous
upsurge of interest in basic research. This has resulted in expanded
laboratory facilities and in a marked increase in the number of
persons engaged in research activities—a trend that has accelerated
in the past few years.
Traditionally, such basic research has been conducted in thousands
of small laboratories in widely dispersed locations. Frequently,
it is conducted as an auxiliary function at places where the major
portion of staff time is devoted to applied research. For example,
in hospitals and public health services, where most workers are en­
gaged in the identification of organisms, necessary for diagnosis of
disease, some workers are engaged in theoretical study and experi­
The growing recognition of the importance of basic medical re­
search to the achievement of a higher standard of living for all its
citizens has prompted the Federal Government to play an increas­
ingly important role in this work.
For example, in 1940, the entire Federal budget for medical and
health related research was only $3 million. In 1959, the appropria­
tion for such work administered by the National Institutes of Health
alone (including the cost of new construction) was estimated at
$210 million—accounting for almost three-fourths of the total Fed­
eral medical research budget. Most of these NIH funds were for
grants to agencies and persons outside government to conduct re­
search studies, for research training, or for construction and mod­
ernization of research facilities. These grants were awarded
primarily to educational institutions, but also to individuals (who
are usually attached to an educational institution), to other govern­
ment agencies, and (in recent years) to private industrial concerns.
Only about one-fifth of the total NIII medical research expenditure
was used in direct research at the Institutes’ major research center
at Bethesda, Md.
During this same fiscal year (1959), the National Science Founda­
tion made 967 grants for a total of nearly $20.5 million for biological
and medical research. This represented about two-fifths of its total
grants ($49.1 million) in 1959.
Although the Federal Government contributes the largest single
share of money to the total medical research program in this country,
funds from private industry, philanthropic organizations, and en­
dowment funds also play an important role. Of an estimated
$330 million spent on all medical research in 1957, one-half went
into projects conducted at universities, medical schools, and other

nonprofit laboratories; a little over one-fourth was used by indus­
try; and the remainder was utilized by government installations.
Colleges and Universities

The largest amount of money being channeled into basic biologi­
cal research today is being utilized at colleges and universities.
For many years, some of these educational institutions have placed
considerable emphasis on basic research and many of them have
well-equipped facilities. With the greater recognition given to this
type of work in recent years, schools which pioneered in this field
have expanded their staff and facilities. At the same time, addi­
tional institutions embarked upon such programs. This has been
possible largely through the increased availability of funds from
the Federal Government and from philanthropic organizations
(foundations, etc.).
A few of the 9,000 research projects for which NIH funds were
granted in fiscal year 1959 to educational institutions are as follows:
Role of nutrition in animal eancerogenesis
Application of electron microscopy to renal anatomy
Carbohydrates in normal and pathologic tissues
Tissue culture investigations in rheumatoid arthritis
Mechanisms of gene transfer in bacteria
The biological synthesis of protein
Studies with measles virus grown in tissue culture
Localization of radioactive compounds in tumors
Growth, structure, and genetic functions of viruses
Serologic studies on the agent of human leprosy
Dietary fats, plasma lipids and blood coagulation
Acute nonbacterial gastroenteritis of man
Respiration of plants infected by obligate parasites
Production of malignant tumors by plastic materials
Relationship of virus infection to tumor growth
Interepidemic survival of influenza virus

In some colleges and universities, faculty members are relieved
of all teaching responsibilities and spend full time planning and
carrying out research projects. They may have several full-time
research workers to assist them. Sometimes they are able to draw
upon the services of graduate students in the field in which they are
In other institutions, faculty members combine research activities
with teaching duties. Again, they may employ full-time assistants
to carry on some of the routine aspects of their projects and/or
utilize the services of graduate students.

Federal Government Agencies

The largest geographic concentration of Federal jobs in basic
biological research is in the Washington, D.C., area. A very large
proportion of these jobs and many of those situated throughout the
country are filled from registers of the U. S. Civil Service Commis­
sion. Following is a partial listing of biological sciences occupations
for which the Civil Service Commission recruits workers and in
which women may be particularly interested:

Plant taxonomy
Plant pathology
Plant physiology
Systematic zoology
Fishery research biology

Wildlife research biol­
Plant disease and insect
Biological aid
Laboratory animal care­
Medical biology techni­

Two Federal Government scientists have reported extensive studies of on agent known as
the SE Polyoma virus which induces tumors in certain small animals. They have also
worked out an immunizing technique against this virus.


■ v

More than 1,000 women were employed in 1959 in the occupational
groups listed above, according to a Civil Service Commission survey;
nearly 450 worked in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
Among professional job categories, by far the largest number of
women were classified as bacteriologists and the next largest number,
biologists. Well over one-third (37 percent) of all women in these
groups were medical biology technicians.
Positions under the Federal merit system are filled through com­
petitive examinations.
For appointment to positions such as aid and technician, a college
degree is not required but it is given appropriate credit in rating the
qualifications of applicants. Normally, high school graduation with
courses in appropriate subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics
is sufficient. To qualify for most entrance level professional positions
applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and pass a written test of
general abilities. If she has been a superior student, an applicant
may be appointed at two grades higher than a graduate with an aver­
age college record. The top level professional positions, particularly
in research, are filled by experienced scientists, many of whom have
the Ph. I). degree.
Health, Education, and Welfare Department

Although biologists are employed in a number of Health, Educa­
tion, and Welfare organizational units, they are concentrated in
two—the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug
The NIH, the research arm of the Public Health Service, which
has its center of operations in the Washington, D.C., area at
Bethesda, Md., conducts and supports medical research. This in­
stitution is primarily concerned with the extension of knowledge
regarding the major killing and crippling diseases. The scope of
its work is indicated by the names of its seven Institutes: Allergy
and Infectious Diseases, Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases, Cancer,
Dental Research, Heart, Mental Health, and Neurological Diseases
and Blindness.
Other important components concerned with research at NIH
include the Clinical Center—a research hospital, the Division of
General Medical Sciences, the Division of Research Grants, and the
Division of Biologies Standards. The Division of Biologies Stand­
ards administers the provisions of the Public Health Service Act
which requires the licensing of establishments and specified biologi­
cal products in interstate or international commerce. These products
include vaccines, serums, toxins, antitoxins, and analogous products

(such as human blood and its derivatives) applicable to the pre­
vention or treatment of diseases of man.
NIH employs a sizable number of women who are classified as
biologists, bacteriologists, physiologists, pharmacologists, parasitolo­
gists, medical biology technicians, and laboratory animal caretakers.
It is not possible to describe the job duties of a typical biologist
or biological specialist working at NIH. Duties vary markedly from
laboratory to laboratory, depending on the worker’s degree of educa­
tion and experience, on the level of responsibility at which she is
working, and, of course, the nature of the research in which she
is engaged. A few actual jobs, chosen at random, are summarized
briefly in the paragraphs which follow to give some insight into the
nature of the work.
A biologist at the entry level might perform various immunologic, chemical, or
biologic tests, to evaluate commercial preparations as to potency and safety prior
to their licensing or release for sale. She might also conduct tests required in
preparing standards, for biological products including diagnostic reagents and
therapeutic blood products.
Another biologist, at a much higher job level which involves supervisory duties,
may have responsibility for choosing areas deemed most significant for research
attack and independently plan, organize, and direct such original research proj­
ects. She would select, develop, and validate the techniques, methods', and
procedures used. Two examples of such projects are (1) to develop clones of
cells for study of cell transformations in test tubes, particularly those involving
changes from normal tissue cells to tumor-producing cells; and (2) to study
physiologic and nutritional requirements, growth properties, structural differ­
ences and biochemical characteristics between lines of cells derived in the test
tube from a single cell that differ in their tumor-producing capacity. In con­
nection with such experiments, a scientist may develop new, or modify existing,
methods of procedure or equipment.
A physiologist at the entry level may be responsible for the conduct of assigned
portions of experiments such as using baby chicks to determine the content of
gland-stimulating substances found in tissue extracts, or to determine the amount
of iodine that chicks use up after being given graded doses. This junior scien­
tist may also make counts of radioactivity in the thyroids of chicks.
A physiologist at the senior scientist level might have responsibility for plan­
ning and executing experiments concerned with the relationship between avail­
ability of oxygen and the metabolic rate in insects, the mechanism of gas transfer
into and within the respiratory system, and related physiological processes. In
carrying out this broad phase of research, the scientist might undertake specific
projects, such as (a) measuring the metabolic rate of various insects in relation
to age, nutritional condition, temperature, and respiratory system in general;
and (b) analyzing the effects of various narcotics in relation to the effects on
activity, basal respiration, and the mechanism and persistence of narcosis.

The Food and Drug Administration enforces the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the national “pure food” law). It main­
tains a program of constant testing and surveillance of food addi­
tives, ingredients used in drugs and cosmetics, food packaging

components, pesticides, and processing and preserving methods.
For example, scientists are concerned with the toxicity of coloring
and dyes added to oranges and lipstick, of pesticides sprayed on
cranberries and other agricultural products, of hormones and other
growth-inducing chemicals injected into or fed to poultry and cattle.
Among other activities, FDA personnel perform and interpret
assays as a basis for the certification for safety and efficacy of batches
of a number of antibiotics and antibiotic products as required by
the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These assays are used also for
the purposes of developing fundamental information as to the action
of antibiotics; the development of working regulations or specifica­
tions governing their identity, strength, purity, and safety; and the
development of methods of assay for new antibiotic products.
A recent function added to FDA’s responsibilities is the study
of the effects of radioactivity on food. The biochemists, biophysi­
cists, and other biologists engaged on this project are currently
measuring the amount of fallout and devising methods of cleansing

Scientists inject chick embryos with tissue extracts from mice treated with a tumor-damaging
drug as a means of detecting the drug and mapping its metabolic fats.

radiated food. An expanded staff may subsequently be needed to
work on associated problems such as establishing maximum per­
missible levels of radiation in foods or discovering the nature and
extent of radiation injuries to man.
Examples of specific types of jobs being carried on in the FDA
are cited below.
A pharmacologist may conduct research on the reactions of animals to drugs
or chemical substances to determine whether there would be harmful effects on
man. Depending on the level of responsibility, she would either originate, plan,
supervise, or conduct the experiments which form the basis for such legal action
or administrative decisions as might be found necessary to protect the Nation’s
health. After studying available literature she might select the approach and
develop or adapt techniques suitable to the best performance of the test or bio­
assay. She may make statistical analyses of the results, interpret and publish
the findings, and sometimes testify at court proceedings.
A medical biology technician usually works under the direction of a profes­
sional pharmacologist or biologist. Her duties might entail the selection of
experimental animals, such as rats, mice, chicks, dogs, pigeons, and rabbits
which have specific characteristics; controlling their care and feeding; preparing
them for surgery by choosing and applying a proper anesthetic; performing
simple surgery; preparing the chemical being studied; determining the dose
levels, schedules, and manner of administration (by diet or injection) ; and/or
recording, measuring, and computing the data from such observations as food
intake, growth, abnormal symptoms, and autopsies. The technician is usually
expected to recognize any variation from the normal or expected course of an
experiment. She should understand animal anatomy and be able to mix and
measure chemicals or test diet constituents, conduct routine chemical or biological
tests, handle a stomach tube, extract and prepare blood samples, operate instru­
ments and other recording equipment, and use various laboratory glassware and
A histopathology technician is considered the “hands” of a pathologist and
assists such scientists by processing fixed tissues for microscopic examination.
This involves either freezing the tissue or embedding it in paraffin preparatory
to cutting and making up reagent solutions. She may also be called upon to
perform autopsies on all types of laboratory animals, which requires a careful
removal of organs and tissues. Other duties include making records of obser­
vations and perhaps writing simple descriptive reports for the pathologist.

Agriculture Department

Another significant employer of persons in the biological sciences
is the Agricultural Research Service (an agency of the Department,
located in the Washington, D.C., area at Beltsville, Md.). The
Service conducts fundamental, applied, and developmental research
relating to the production and utilization of agricultural products,
and conducts those control and regulatory programs i>f the Depart­
ment which involve the enforcement of plant and animal quaran­
tines, meat inspection, the control and eradication of diseases and

insect pests of animals and plants, and related work. It also carries
out the Department’s physical, chemical, and biological sciences
research in the fields of crops, farms and land management, live­
stock, and home economics, and conducts utilization research to de­
velop new and expanded uses for farm commodities. Some of the
specialty fields in which its women research workers are engaged are
plant pathology, nematology, genetics, mycology, nutrition, plant
taxonomy, entomology, and parasitology.
Special ARS pioneering research groups explore beyond the pres­
ent limits of knowledge in the agricultural sciences. Utilizing out­
standing scientists, these groups conduct long-range searches for new
scientific data to provide a solid foundation for the future develop­
ment of agriculture.
Present developments in experimental nutrition differ considerably
from past trends. For example, early studies of this nature empha­
sized growth, whereas the concentration now appears to be on tissue
changes in plant, animal, and man. Also, although the approach
today is on normal nutrition, researchers in the future wull try to
prevent pathological conditions of nutrition.
An important segment of the work done by the Agricultural Re­
search Service is carried out in the laboratories at Beltsville, Md.,
and, as indicated earlier, a number of these jobs are filled by women.
Many of its jobs, however, involve “field” work which requires
persons to spend a great deal of time out of doors in all kinds of
weather and to use considerable physical strength. For these and
other reasons, few women are currently employed in field jobs,
either in Beltsville or in the many stations located throughout the
United States and foreign countries.
Following are descriptions of a few of the jobs being carried on at
A parasitologist at an Intermediate level of responsibility might identify and
classify parasites. She may be concerned with studies of the structure and
identification of worms affecting wild animals which can be transmitted to
domestic animals; recover, identify, record, and preserve parasites for future
study; investigate the structural and biological relationship and classification
of adult and larval worms and culture the immature or free-living status of
nematodes to obtain adults which may be more easily differentiated from closely
related species ; assist in the identification of parasites which may be detrimental
to the livestock industry (when these parasites are submitted to the laboratory
by border quarantine stations) ; and assemble, analyze, evaluate, and interpret
results of research and prepare material for publication in a journal and/or
reports for administrative use.
A plant pathologist may, for example, assist in the planning and conduct of
investigations into the nature and control of virus, fungus, and bacterial diseases
of certain vegetables. Investigations might be undertaken to identify viruses
associated with disease of certain crops, to develop methods of inoculation with

579161 0-61—5


s '•■' '■%



* t'i*«*
; vy

A biologist using the microbiological assay technique to Find unidentified poultry growth
factor in fish oil solubles.

viruses or to improve techniques to ascertain the pathogenicity of organisms, or
to determine virus resistance in selected plant varieties or progenies. The plant
pathologist would then analyze, interpret, and evaluate the results of such an
investigation and prepare reports for publication, presentation at meetings:, or
for administrative use.
A histologist doing research in the nutritional aspect of biology may study how
the quality and use of foods are affected by different methods of cooking or
processing or by production and marketing factors. One of the commercial aims
of such an investigation would be to aid plant breeders in the development and
selection of food varieties with improved qualities for marketing, processing,
and preparation for the table. The study would involve an analysis of the
structural characteristics of vegetable, fruit, and cereal tissues to learn normal
and abnormal variations in structure and their relation to a particular problem.

Other Federal Government Agencies

A great deal of biological research is carried on in hospitals
and related facilities maintained by various agencies of the Federal
Government. Within the Defense Department, for example, is the
complex of several hundred Army, Navy, and Air Force hospitals.

These hospitals range in size from small station hospitals to very
large general hospitals. Virtually all have some sort of laboratory
facilities. Personnel in the small hospitals may perform only the
most elementary and routine laboratory tests. Conversely, some of
the largest hospitals have the finest and most modern equipment
and are staffed by eminent scientists capable of performing the most
complex laboratory analyses.
For the most part, these installations are staffed by military per­
sonnel. However, in many establishments, the military staff is sup­
plemented by a sizable complement of civilian employees. This is
especially true in the larger hospitals where a sufficient number of
military personnel are not available for such assignment or where
such personnel lack the needed specialized training or experience.
Civilians hired for these jobs are usually selected from civil service
registers; many of these jobs are available to women.
In addition to the hospitals, there are a number of other Defense
Department installations engaged in various types of biological
research. In the Washington, D.C., area alone are the Walter Reed
Army Institute of Research, the Armed Forces Institute of Pa­
thology, and the Naval Medical Research Institute. Other special­
ized research units, scattered around the country, and indeed
throughout the world, carry out both basic and applied research.
Almost all employ civilian workers—both men and women—for
scientific and technical research.
In early 1960, the Veterans Administration had a total of 127
hospitals and clinics with 1 or more facilities located in every State.
Within these facilities, more than 140 separate laboratories are in
operation, all staffed by civilian workers.
The U.S. Public Health Service operates 15 hospitals, of which
several are quite large. Almost all are located in port cities since
their primary function is to serve merchant seamen and members
of the Coast Guard. Virtually all personnel in these hospitals are
Much of the laboratory work at these three groups of hospitals—•
military, Veterans Administration, and Public Health—is carried
out as an integral function of the hospital. Laboratory personnel
of these installations are, therefore, concerned with the more or less
routine identification of various elements of materials examined
(tissue, blood, spinal fluid, urine, etc.) and of disease germs. In a
great many of the laboratories, however, personnel are also engaged
either regularly or intermittently in carrying out more complex
biological analyses and in performing more far-reaching, basic re­
search projects.

Almost all of the civilian jobs in these hospitals and in other
research facilities are filled by workers recruited through the U.S.
Civil Service Commission central and regional offices. These jobs
range from aids and technicians to top-level scientists, and virtually
all are available to women.
State and Local Public Health Organizations

Although occasionally a State or local public health service con­
ducts what may be considered basic research, the major activity of
these organizations is in the realm of applied research. Workers
in public health services therefore have two major functions:
1. They are responsible for providing the scientific evidence necessary to
enforce public health statutes with regard to (for example) quality and
cleanliness of food, milk, and drug products in order to help prevent
illness and to help maintain standards of quality.
2. When illnesses do occur, they assist the medical profession in making
diagnoses and health officials in the prevention and control of human
disease by determining the causative agents of infectious diseases and
by making biochemical, cytological, and other tests for the diagnosis of
such noninfectious diseases as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Virtually every State government has a central laboratory which
performs biological research for its health department. In addition,
many States have branch laboratories in local areas which perform
most of the routine tests done in a central laboratory. Much valu­
able time can be saved in those instances where specimens can be
processed in a nearby branch rather than being sent to a central
laboratory. Some States maintain county laboratories (rather than
local branch laboratories) which are operated by county health
State public health central laboratories range in size from those
with only a few workers to those with nearly 150. The average
number of employees in 1958 was about 35, according to a U.S.
Public Health Service survey made late in that year. The work
carried out by these laboratories is primarily in the fields of micro­
biology and chemistry.
^ Women comprise a significant proportion of the work force in
State public health laboratories. In some places, almost all the
technician jobs and a substantial number of the higher level bac­
teriologist and chemist jobs are filled by women.
A typical State public health laboratory may employ bacteriolo­
gists and biochemists as well as laboratory technicians and laboratory
assistants. Both the bacteriologists and technicians may work in
specialized fields such as serology, virology, cytology, mycology,
and parasitology.

Harvesting fluid from the amniotic cavity for isolation of influenza virus.

Each State civil service board is responsible for establishing its
own requirements for filling jobs in the laboratories and for setting
pay scales. Job titles of the laboratory workers vary markedly
and the number of persons in each job classification likewise varies
from State to State.
A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum education required
to qualify as a laboratory scientist (bacteriologist or biochemist).
Appointment or advancement to supervisory jobs may require a
master s degree. The director of a State laboratory often has an
M.D. or Pli. D. degree (or both) and one of these degrees is some­
times required of persons who head major divisions.
Some subprofessional jobs such as laboratory assistant or tech­
nician require a bachelor’s degree; others may require only 2 years

of college work and experience in the field. Usually laboratory
aids need only be high school graduates, preferably those who have
had courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.
Examples of some of the job duties which persons in State public
health service laboratories may perform follow.
Laboratory (or science) aids do routine work incidental to setting up and
making laboratory tests and they may also prepare routine reports of the tests.
They may be required to handle supplies, operate simple equipment, and, if
no other workers are employed for this purpose, be responsible for the cleaning
of glassware and equipment.
Laboratory technicians or medical technicians may perform several or all of
the following duties (and perhaps others) : Make media, stain and make micro­
scopic examination of smears of blood, urine, spinal fluid, etc. Prepare smears
and/or cultures of tissue specimens. Prepare reagents used in serological
examination and read and record results of such tests. Perform procedures
such as blood screening and glucose tolerance tests. Make red and white blood
cell counts. Make tests for hemoglobin, sedimentation rate, and coagulation
time. Perform venipunctures.
A bacteriologist trainee (entry professional level job) needs a good academic
background in the biological and chemical sciences to learn the standard lab­
oratory procedures for examination of water, milk, and food. Other job duties
may require making bacteriological analyses by means of cultural reactions,
pigment production, blood coagulation, and gelatin liquefaction; determining
bacteria count for such diverse items as dairy products, restaurant pans, and
water from swimming pools and conducting serological tests for the diagnosis
of communicable diseases. In addition, such a trainee might conduct tests to
determine the feasibility of utilizing new methods or procedures in laboratories.
As a junior scientist gains greater knowledge (some of which may be ob­
tained through additional education) and experience, she may be promoted to
successively higher jobs which utilize this training in the performance of more
complex technical duties and those requiring use of administrative judgments.
A principal bacteriologist or senior biologist may head a major organiza­
tional segment of the laboratory and in this capacity assist the director in
determining administrative and technical policy. She might initiate plans for
major new projects or programs and, if approved, direct such investigations;
be responsible for continuing critical analysis and appraisal of the functions
and performance of the laboratory with a view toward bringing about a more
efficient and more effective operation; occasionally (or as necessary), engage in
highly complex laboratory testing procedures; and be responsible for the selec­
tion and training of new staff.

Private Industry

The, biological research procedures carried out by private firms
are much the same as those carried out under other auspices except
that these activities are, of course, directed primarily to the discovery
or creation of new commercial products. Nevertheless, some of the
activity of such establishments is necessarily directed to basic bio­
logical exploration.

The pharmaceutical companies, for example, are concerned pri­
marily with the development of new drugs or medicines or the
adaptation of old drugs to combat newly identified types of disease.
These activities, in some ways, parallel those of certain government
agencies and nonprofit organizations devoted to research in a single
disease or group of diseases.
The work of seed houses and of insecticide and pesticide firms
is directed primarily toward securing better quality and quantity
of agricultural products through development of strains which are
more resistant to plant diseases, and the development of chemical
sprays and other products which secure like results. Biological
sciences personnel employed by food and beverage establishments
seek to develop new or better commercial products.


A biochemist assisting in the isolation and purification of antifungal antibiotics.


Bacteriological research in a food products plant.

The job duties which persons trained in the biological sciences
perform in private industry are similar to those performed by their
counterparts in laboratories run by government agencies, educational
institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The education and train­
ing required to acquaint workers with fundamental biology labora­
tory techniques and equipment is the same as for other workers at
a comparable level of responsibility.
As previously indicated (p. 9), the largest number of biological
sciences workers in private industry are probably in the employ
of pharmaceutical houses. Some of the larger companies have
several major laboratories located throughout the country. Others
are concentrated in a single location and employ several hundred
biological scientists and supporting personnel in their research labo­
ratories. In general, relatively smaller numbers of persons work
in other types of private industry such as biological supply houses,
seed houses, food and beverage manufacturing, processors, and firms
manufacturing insecticides and pesticides. The hiring of women,
both at the scientist and at the supporting level, has long been a
practice in most laboratories operated by private industry.


A technical assistant setting up a cancer research project.

Laboratories run by private industry utilize the skills of persons
possessing a wide range of biological specialties or subfields, includ­
ing bacteriology, endocrinology, entomology, enzymology, genetics,
microbiology, nutrition, parasitology, pathology, pharmacology,
physiology, virology, and zoology. Persons with these specialties
have one or more degrees—a bachelor’s, master’s, doctor of philoso­
phy (Ph. D.), doctor of medicine (M.D.), or doctor of veterinary
medicine (D.V.M.).
In addition to the professionally trained personnel, all companies
employ workers with less training and experience to fill supporting
jobs. Each firm has its own nomenclature for its supporting person­
nel but the job titles include: technician, technical assistant, labora­
tory technician, laboratory helper, glassware washer, animal care­
taker, laboratory assistant, technical aid, and research aid. In some
places, technicians are required to have a bachelor’s degree; in
others, to have some college training; and in others, only a high
school education.
Women with a college background (usually a major or a minor)
in biology or one of its specialties are also employed in a number

of nonlaboratory jobs in private industry establishments. Among
the most common of these types of jobs are those concerned with (a)
the writing and editing of journals, manuals of instruction, and
technical papers and (b) library services (abstractor or librarian).
Among laboratories in private industry, there is considerable varia­
tion in working arrangements—depending on the size and function
of an organizational unit, and more particularly on the specific
problem at hand. In one place, a biologist may work alone on a
project, and in another she may have the assistance of other biolo­
gists, technicians, or aids. Or, biologists may be engaged in solving
a problem which requires cooperating with persons trained in other
fields, such as physics, chemistry, medicine, or veterinary science.
Such a team may be comprised of one or more biologists (perhaps
including one or more Ph. D’s), an M.D., and/or a DA .M.

Reaching for the moon is but one of the many ways of probing
space. Plumbing the depths is yet another dimension—one that
also promises rewarding discoveries for the 1960 decade. Although
nearly three-fourths of the earth’s surface is covered by water, little
study of sea life has been made in comparison with many other
scientific areas. However, basic research activity in the marine
sciences should at least double during this decade if the recommenda­
tions of the Committee on Oceanography of the National Academy
of Sciences—National Research Council are followed.
In general, the Committee recommended an extensive program of
ocean wide surveys3 and extensive investigations of marine resources
and radioactivity, among other applied marine sciences. Of special
interest to persons who have training in the biological sciences are
recommendations that the following specific studies be carried out:
The genetic effects of radiation on marine organisms
Possible improvement of stocks by selective breeding and hybridization
The effects of living organisms on the distribution of radioactive elements
introduced into the sea
Characteristics and behavior of fish under controlled conditions
Population fluctuations, locations, migrations, and survival requirements of
commercial fish stocks
Transplantation of useful organisms from one region of the sea to another
Feasibility of adding trace elements to the sea to increase productivity of
marine organisms
3 Our knowledge In tills field is reported to be now limited largely to water 100 miles
from shore, and is deemed inadequate for even this modest area.


Diseases and other toxic effects in the marine environment
Precise definition of species, and other basic studies

There are many positions in research laboratories, offices, and
aquariums which represent suitable opportunities for women. The
solution to theoretical and statistical problems need not require
even occasional field excursions aboard a vessel or to distant waters.
Nevertheless, more and more marine stations are providing adequate
facilities for women scientists who wish to spend time at sea. It
may be expected, therefore, that more women will prepare them­
selves for careers in marine biology.
Some jobs related to marine biology are available in private
firms such as power companies, oil companies, and those engaged in
commercial fishing or fish-processing. Other sources of job oppor­
tunities are commercial research laboratories, nonprofit organiza­
tions, universities, and private consulting firms. Some of the
well-known research organizations include the Woods Hole Oce­
anographic Institution at Woods Hole, Mass.; Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.; Lamont Geological Observatory,
Columbia University, Palisades, N.Y.; Marine Laboratory of the
University of Miami, Miami, Fla.; and Bingham Oceanographic
Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
A number of government agencies are vitally concerned with the
problems of fish and animal life. Every State has a fish and wild­
life department, board, commission, or division engaged in the control
and care of fish and animals found within its borders. Foremost
among the Federal agencies is the Fish and Wildlife Service of the
U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1959, this agency employed
.175 fishery research biologists. In addition, the Navy Department
maintains several small laboratories.
A few examples of the kinds of work conducted by the Fish and
Wildlife Service follow:
A fishery research biologist (marine) who acts as a project supervisor may
plan, develop, and direct investigations into the characteristics, fertility, life
history, ecology, migrations, and other factors in the biology of certain species
of commercial fishes. The objective might be to understand the causes of
fluctuations in availability and abundance of the fish in order to predict such
changes and plan successful fishing operations.
Another fishery research biologist may conduct a survey of a river basin to
determine the fish resources and to analyze the effects of proposed waterdevelopment projects (power, flood control, irrigation, etc.) on such resources.
For some of the field work, aqua-lungs and underwater television are among
the diving equipment used.


A microbiologist may study the culturing of algae for feeding oysters and
clams, the removal of bacteria, and the search for a better food.
A biometrician may design a sampling system to obtain reliable and repre­
sentative data for measuring or estimating various characteristics of fish popu­
lations or for establishing a trend for observable relationships, such as the
death rate of a school of fish and the amount of bacteria found in the waters.
Other biometricians develop suitable statistical procedures and techniques or
analyze and interpret the information for significance and then make a written
report of their findings.
A fishery aid assists scientists in classification and may help to identify and
maintain research collections of fishes, prepare research results for publication,
and assist in the preliminary reporting of findings. She may compile records
and prepare illustrative figures, separate the groups of fishes under study from
the large collections of unidentified species, identify them from the scattered
and frequently obscure literature in ichthyology, adequately preserve and label
specimens, make scientific illustrations, record information in catalogs, assist
in the preparation of maps showing fishing locations, maintain laboratory
equipment in serviceable condition, and answer inquiries about research in

Scientists with Ph. D.’s outnumber master’s degree holders in
university laboratories, whereas the federally operated laboratories
employ only a small proportion of scientists with Ph. D.’s. How­
ever, government-owned and smaller fishery laboratories are rela­
tively good sources of employment for junior scientists and tech­
nicians. Of 60 laboratories of various sizes, 5 of the largest currently
account for more than half of the junior scientists and technicians.
If the research program in oceanography as recommended by the
Committee is carried through, the number of oceanographers at the
Ph. D. level would need to be doubled during the next 10 years and
an even greater rate of increase would be needed in supporting
personnel. At present, an estimated 520 professionally trained scien­
tists are engaged in this field in the United States. Only about a
dozen universities offer the doctorate in oceanography and probably
no more than a score of persons have received their doctoral degree
each year to date. Graduate education at a lower level is provided
by three additional universities.
^ An ichthyologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York
received her doctorate in zoology and won a Pulbright scholarship to do
research work in Egypt. Her investigations in undersea life have been
conducted in many parts of the world, where she has often gone deep-sea
diving with spear, mask, or net to collect specimens of rare and poisonous
Raising a family of four with her surgeon husband did not signal retire­
ment, for during this time she wrote a popular book on her experiences
with skindiving. This led to her appointment as the director of a newly


established marine laboratory in Florida where she is studying the be­
havior of sharks.
► Immediately after earning her Ph. D. degree, a woman teacher began her
professional career at a far western university and is now associate pro­
fessor of zoology there. A few years ago she was awarded a Guggenheim
fellowship which enabled her to do further study and to visit marine
biological stations in northern Europe and Scandinavia. Subsequently, she
worked at the famous zoological station in Naples. More recently she was
responsible for the material presented in an educational television series
entitled “Animals of the Seashore” which consisted of 15 half-hour pro­
grams. She is now serving on the Committee on Oceanography of the
National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, which drafted
the 10-year action program for the United States as described on page 36.
In Copenhagen in July 1960, she participated in the planning for the
10-year international program of surveying the oceans of the world.


Museums, usually operated by government or nonprofit private
organizations, are located throughout the country; most are in
major metropolitan centers but some are in smaller places. In the
aggregate, the number of jobs in this field is relatively small.
One of the most coveted museum jobs is that of curator. Large
museums or zoological or botanical parks usually maintain a staff
of curators ranging from assistant to head curator. A specialist
in some group of plants or animals, each curator is responsible for
the collection, maintenance, study, and exhibition of specimens in
his field of knowledge. Those who demonstrate outstanding ability
in public relations and administration may advance to a director­
ship. The total number of curator posts throughout the country,
however, is fairly limited. Consequently, it is advisable for those
interested in this career to prepare themselves for teaching as well
as research so as to insure a wider choice of job possibilities. Mu­
seum curators generally hold a Ph. I). degree. Many have taken
their graduate training in one of a number of areas of specialization.
Growing public interest in scientific and technical fields will create
some expansion in the demand for persons to carry on educational
services offered by museums, which will provide some good job
opportunities for women biologists. Today, women with a bachelor’s
degree in biology are filling public information posts as lecturers or
hostesses to school and other groups and many help to plan museum
A high school education is usually considered sufficient training
for museum workers called “exhibits technicians.” To be successful
in this work, a woman should be artistically inclined since she must
579161 0-61—6

become proficient in such diverse techniques as coloring, wiring,
and making plastic molds of plants or animals. Accuracy is an
essential work characteristic for preparing materials for exhibit,
such as artificial flowers, leaves, and other accessories. Since many
women have a high degree of manual dexterity, they have proved
particularly adaptable to this kind of work. Although it is oc­
casionally necessary to handle heavy objects, custodial workers are
usually available to assist in this lifting.
“Zoological or botanical illustrators” must, of course, be able to
make accurate sketches. There is little room, however, for imagina­
tive artistry in their work since they must be meticulous in reproduc­
ing the detail of the animal or plant. Training in biology is not
required but is considered helpful.
Although job opportunities are expected to expand in the future,
museum employment will probably never constitute more than a
small proportion of the total number of men and women working in
the biological field. In 1959, the Federal Government employed
only about 125 professional workers in museums, of whom many were
in disciplines other than biology, and about 85 aids. One museum
official estimated that at the technician level only about 1 job in 15
was filled by a woman. Another official estimated that, nationally,
the number of full-time positions in taxonomic botany is less than 35.
However, a somewhat larger number of biologists are engaged in
taxonomic research on a part-time basis.
Some universities have a herbarium where taxonomic work is
combined with the primary duties of teaching. Unlike those jobs
requiring considerable field work, for which there has been a pref­
erence to employ men, herbarium positions can easily be filled by

The demand for all types of scientific personnel to provide tech­
nical assistance to other nations has opened up a number of oppor­
tunities for persons trained in the biological sciences and will un­
doubtedly continue to do so in the foreseeable future. In addition,
there are some projects being conducted by and for the United
States abroad which offer jobs to women biological scientists and
technical workers.
In 1959, 84 persons trained in the biological sciences occupational
series (see p. 22) were working for the United States Government


in foreign countries. Other persons with such training were em­
ployed by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the
Rockefeller Foundation, private industry, church groups, and other
organizations. Many of these biological sciences personnel were
engaged in rendering advisory services to schools and colleges, to
public and private health services, and to various kinds of research
organizations of foreign governments to help solve agricultural and
health problems.



A biologist analyzing blood proteins in studies involving human nutrition



Preparation for a Career

Persons who wish to become full-fledged scientists in the biological
field should, if at all possible, work toward the attainment of a
doctor’s degree (M.D. or Ph. D.). Employers point out that those
with less than a doctor’s degree seldom have sufficient knowledge
or experience in the field to initiate plans for a research project,
determine methodology or develop techniques for the conduct of a
study, analyze the results, or prepare a report of the findings for
a professional journal or for internal administrative use.
Although in the past a number of people with less than a doctor’s
degree have made names for themselves in biological research,
today’s trend in biology—as well as in many other fields—is toward
raising the academic requirements for workers. It is generally con­
sidered advisable to continue working toward an advanced degree
unencumbered by the simultaneous holding of a full-time job. How­
ever, if this cannot be arranged, a dual work-school schedule can be
followed fairly satisfactorily if courses are stretched over a longer
period than would be necessary if studying full time.
Tire course of study of a candidate for an advanced degree in the
biological sciences, like that in other fields, will be determined
largely by three factors:
1. The ultimate occupational goal of the student (if this is known),
2. The requirements established by the educational institution for the
degree sought, and
3. The breadth and depth of individual courses offered by the college or

Many authorities agree that it is highly desirable for a student to
get the broadest possible foundation in the humanities, the scientific
field in general, and in the fundamentals of biology during under­
graduate years, and to begin her specialization at the graduate
level. The more one knows about her intended career goal, the

better she can plan the area in which she wishes to specialize. Once
an area of specialization is determined, a student is in a better
position to select the school which provides a good program in her
chosen area of work.
An advanced degree is almost always required for college or uni­
versity teaching. A teacher’s certificate is required to teach in public
junior colleges in some States (including California, Illinois, Florida,
New Jersey, and Michigan). To qualify for such a certificate, one
must usually have a master’s degree and have completed specific
courses in education.

Persons who have been unable to continue their formal education
beyond the level of a bachelor’s degree nevertheless play an important
role in today’s biological sciences research team. These people hold
jobs as research associates or research assistants and are the eyes and
hands of the higher level scientists who are usually project leaders.
Under the supervision of these leaders, research assistants perform
the many activities necessary to push a project toward its comple­
tion—usually by designated, fairly standard laboratory techniques.
At the entry level, research assistants perform a variety of routine
tests. As these workers gain experience, they are generally given
increasingly important assignments involving the use of more com­
plex procedures. The research project leader is usually responsible
for the final analysis of test results and for reports of results for
publication in scientific journals or for official use, but experienced
research assistants or associates often write initial drafts or make
major contributions to the preparation of such reports.
The required course of study for obtaining the bachelor of science
degree with a major in biology varies markedly from school to school.
Some schools offer a wide range of electives in the biological sciences
whereas others have a high percentage of required courses. In order
to gain some insight into current practices, the Women’s Bureau
examined the 1959-60 curriculum offerings in 100 schools (at least 1
in each State). Sixty-eight of the schools offer a major in biology.
At these schools, in addition to general biology, the courses most
frequently required of a biology major are botany, genetics and hered­
ity, anatomy, and physiology.
Among the 36 colleges offering a botany major, the courses most
frequently required (other than botany) include physiology, anatomy,
morphology, ecology, genetics and heredity, and general biology. The
32 institutions which offer a major in zoology most often require that
students take courses in anatomy, botany, embryology, physiology,

genetics, and general biology. A large proportion also require a
senior seminar. Considerably fewer of the 100 universities (14) offer
a major in microbiology or bacteriology. Among those which do,
courses required most frequently outside the immediate major field
are immunology, genetics and heredity, and physiology.
Other courses which were either required or deemed highly desirable
for majors in biology or its specialties are taxonomy, histology, ento­
mology, evolution, pathology, mycology, parasitology, virology, and
In addition to specific courses in biology, many schools require
mathematics, chemistry, physics, and a foreign language—most fre­
quently German or French. These courses do not count toward the
major but are necessary for a degree in the biological sciences.
With the growing interdependence of all of the scientific disci­
plines, it is increasingly imperative that biology majors also study
chemistry and physics. Taking these courses during undergraduate
years is highly desirable; for a graduate degree in biology, they are
usually a firm requirement.
Foreign languages are extremely helpful, especially in working
toward a higher academic degree. Much of the world’s scientific
literature is published in either German or French and although
there is a growing utilization of persons to translate and abstract
this material, many scientists find it a great advantage to be able to
read papers in the original language. With the widening of ac­
tivity by the Russian nation in the scientific fields, the study of their
language is also becoming increasingly popular among scientific
The importance of the mastery of the English language—both in
writing and in speaking—cannot be emphasized too strongly. No
matter how brilliant a scientist may be, if she cannot communicate
her findings to others her own progress and that of the scientific
world are deterred. For this reason, many science students find it
advantageous to take undergraduate courses in expository writing,
report writing, and public speaking. Or if this is not feasible, par­
ticipation in such extracurricular activities as debating or dramatic
clubs or in literary or journalism societies may provide valuable

A young woman who plans to teach in high school will want to
ascertain early in her college career the requirements for obtaining
a certificate or license in the State in which she intends to work.

The usual educational requirement for a State certificate is a
bachelor’s degree, with the equivalent of at least one-half year of
education courses, including student teaching, and specialization in
one or more subjects commonly taught in secondary schools. Ari­
zona, California, New York, and the District of Columbia grant
secondary certificates only to applicants with a year of graduate
work. Many school systems, especially in large cities, have require­
ments beyond those needed for State certification.
College students preparing for secondary school teaching usually
devote from one-fourth to one-third of the 4-year course to their
major, which may be a single subject or a group of related subjects.
About one-fifth of the time is spent in education courses and the
remainder is devoted to general or liberal education.
Although certification requirements vary among the States, the per­
son who is well prepared for secondary school teaching in one State
usually has little trouble meeting requirements in another. A wellqualified teacher can ordinarily obtain temporary certification in
a State while she prepares to meet any unusual requirements.

There has been a recent resurgence of interest by women in the
study of the biological sciences, as shown by the number of college
degrees granted in this field. Some 4,000 such degrees—bachelor’s,
master’s and doctor’s—were awarded in the school year 1958-59,
compared with only 2,900 in 1955-56. The uptrend that began in
1956-57 was sharply accelerated in 1957-58, and was followed by
about the same rate of increase (about 15 percent) in 1958-59. This
group, however, represented only 2.6 percent of total degrees in all
fields granted to women in the most recent year for which informa­
tion is available—1958-59. Nevertheless, the rate of increase in the
number of degrees awarded in the biological sciences over the 3-year
period ending in 1958-59 (38 percent) was more than double the rate
of advance in total degrees awarded in all fields during this period
(16 percent).
Year-by-year information on degrees granted to women in all
fields and in the biological sciences since 1948 is shown in table 1.
Eighty-six percent of the degrees granted to women in the biologi­
cal sciences in the academic year 1958-59 were bachelor’s, 11 percent
were master s, and 3 percent were doctorates. These proportions
were about the same as in the 3 previous years. The distribution
was somewhat different for biology degrees granted to men in the

Table 1.—Degrees Granted


1947-48 Through 1958-59


[ All levels ]

All fields
Academic year

change from


1957-58 ___
1956-57__ _
1947-48--- _

Biological sciences 1

153, 448
145, 126
139, 171
132, 509
124, 089
124, 871
124, 863
125, 605
124, 584
121, 540
118, 537
110, 168



3 4,
3 3,
3 3,
3 2,


change from


+ 15
+ 14

1 Certain classification changes have been made since 1947-48 when the U.S. Office of Education began
publishing its annual reports on earned degrees. Limited data on earned degrees published prior to that
time are not comparable with annual data for the past 10 years. In particular, the 1955-56 survey
expanded the definition of “education" to include science education as well as art, business, and nursing
education. As a result, beginning in 1956, some recipients of degrees previously classified as science
majors were classified as education majors.
3 Less than 1 percent.
8 Excludes degrees granted in premedical, predental, preveterinary sciences, and optometry (prepro­
Source: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education. Annual reports
for the academic years 1947-48 through 1958-59, Earned Degrees Conferred by Higher Educational


2.—Degrees Granted

in the


Biological Sciences


Selected subfield
Total Bach­ Mas­ Doc­ Total Bach­ Mas­ Doc­ Total Bach­ Mas­ Doc­
elor’s ter’s toral
elor’s ter’s toral
elor’s ter’s toral
All subfields 1_____ _. 14,320 11,297 1,981 1,042 4,001 3, 432
Anatomy and histol234
ogy..--------------------Bacteriology 3.................
Biology, general
Botany, general
Pharmacology (exeluding pharmacy)...
Physiology___ _______
.. ......... 2,641
Other'3._____ ________

7, 534


147 2, 536 2, 357





112 10,319 7,865 1,524



5, 682 5,177






1,961 1,551












1 Excludes degrees granted in premedical, predental, and preveterinary sciences, and in optometry.
3 Often called microbiology, includes mycology, parasitology, and virology.
8 Includes subfields such as cytology, embryology, morphology, marine biology, and ecology.
Source: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education. Annual report for
the academic year 1958-59, Earned Degrees Conferred by Higher Educational Institutions.


1958-59 academic year—76 percent received bachelor’s; 15 percent,
master’s; and 9 percent, doctorates.
Of all the women who earned degrees in the biological sciences
during 1958-59, a majority (63 percent) majored in general biology.
The next largest proportion (17 percent) was in general zoology.
Bacteriology and botany accounted for relatively smaller groups—
8 and 4 percent, respectively, and the remainder represented a wfide
variety of categories within the biological sciences field.
The numbers of degrees in individual biological specialties that
wTere granted to men and women during the school year 1958-59
are shown in table 2. In most of the categories, the number of de­
grees received by women exceeded that for the preceding academic

The course of study in high school will be much the same whether
a young woman plans to go on to college and major in the biological
sciences or plans to seek a job in this field immediately upon high
school graduation. She will want to take as much general science,
biology, chemistry, and physics as her schedule will permit. If ad­
vanced courses in the latter three subjects are offered, they should be
scheduled if at all possible. A thorough grounding in English, par­
ticularly grammar, and in mathematics is essential, and 2 years of a
foreign language will be extremely helpful.
Slight increases have occurred in the proportion of high school stu­
dents enrolled in biology, chemistry, and physics courses in the grades
in which these subjects are usually offered, according to surveys con­
ducted by the Office of Education of the Department of Health, Edu­
cation, and Welfare. These studies have been made at 2-year inter­
vals, starting in 1954. The 1958 survey also found that about 3 out
of every 4 pupils enrolled in the 10th grade were taking biology—by
far the largest proportion of any science group in the respective grade
where the subject is usually taught.
The ratio of girls to all pupils taking biology declined slowly but
steadily during the 10-year period 1949-58—from 53 percent in 1949
to 49 percent in 1958.

There are a multitude of professional scientific societies in the
biology field, each of which establishes its own membership require­
ments. Membership in some societies is open to college students at

either the undergraduate or graduate level. In others, membership
is restricted to highly trained and experienced scientists who have
engaged in original research projects and who have had their papers
on such projects published in appropriate journals.
Most professional societies are national or international in scope
and have chapters located throughout the country on a local area or
regional basis. Meetings are usually held monthly (some for only 9
or 10 months each year) and are devoted at various times to business
matters of the organization. For the most part, however, they are
devoted to the reading and discussion of research. College students
who belong to professional societies usually pay a considerably lower
membership fee than regular members.
There are many advantages to such membership, especially for per­
sons who are interested in a career in the biological science field. A
listing of some of the well-known societies to which persons trained
in the biological sciences may belong appears in Appendix E.
A number of study programs for high school science students are
offered by universities and other organizations during the summer
months. For example, one university schedules a 2-weeks’ summer
session for 80 high school pupils from the 9th through the 12th
grades. Students take part in laboratory and field activities in the
natural sciences. Another program provides for a 10-weeks’ summer
session limited to 25 promising students who have had at least one
course in biology. Research techniques and methods are taught.
Cooperative work-training and apprentice activities for students are
provided by some local community groups during the summer
Among other activities of interest to science students are science
clubs, bird or wild life study, scientific journals or books, and visits
with scientists. In addition, prospective scientists often visit labora­
tories, State extension stations, and museums of natural history and
A high school girl who is interested in science may become a mem­
ber of one of the Science Clubs of America, affiliated with Science
Service, Inc. In 1959, there were nearly 25,000 such clubs. If none
is available in the community, a club can be organized by a sponsor
or teacher in any grade who requests material from headquarters.
Information about such organizations can be obtained from the
Science Clubs of America, 1719 N Street NW., Washington 6, D.C.
Science Service, Inc., is a nonprofit association that sponsors science
fairs for high school students. College scholarships, prizes, and trips
are awarded to project winners. A Science Talent Search is also
open each year to high school seniors. Winners are awarded college

scholarships. Any high school principal or teacher may request in­
formation by writing to Science Talent Search at the address given
Another activity for junior and senior high school students inter­
ested in science is the contest held annually by the Future Scientists
of America Foundation (of the National Science Teachers Associa­
tion). This contest, now known as the Future Scientists of America
Awards Program, is open to science students all over the country, and
some 40,000 girls and boys entered in 1960.
A judging team of science teachers and scientists chose the 194
regional winners, who were awarded United States savings bonds.
That girls as well as boys are successful in this program is indicated
by the fact that one-third of the winners were girls. Reports of the
projects are written by the students themselves, and many are pub­
lished in a magazine entitled “Tomorrow’s Scientists.”
Information about this awards program can be obtained from the
national headquarters of the sponsoring organization, which is
located at 1201 Sixteenth Street NW., Washington 6, D.C.

Many high school and college students are able to utilize the sum­
mer months to earn money and gain work experience. Interested
students who have good academic records are employed either on a
part-time or full-time basis during the summer by a number of educa­
tional institutions and business or industrial firms. Although many
of these jobs involve the performance of rather routine duties, they
often give the student an insight into the entire operation as well as
bring her into contact with professional scientists who may help her
determine whether she desires a lifetime career in this field.
Some of the jobs are clerical and require making simple computa­
tions or keeping various kinds of records or reports. In a research
laboratory or research center, a summer helper might have charge of
certain supplies or equipment, assist workers of a higher grade in
performing simple laboratory procedures, help with glasswashing, or
assist in the care and feeding of animals used in experiments.
Many Federal Government agencies hire student assistants for
temporary, part-time, or intermittent jobs without requiring a civil
service examination. They are assigned to aid scientific, professional,
and technical personnel and cannot be appointed to routine clerical
positions. Persons appointed must be high school or college students
pursuing courses related to the field in which they are employed. A
number of agencies employ only those students who are at least col­

lege juniors. Work is limited to a maximum of 130 days a year;
maximum total pay for this period is $1,785.
Under another program, college students who are recruited as stu­
dent trainees are required to pass a civil service examination. They
receive on-the-job training in Federal offices and research laboratories
under the guidance of experienced professional personnel. A trainee
has a chance to observe and participate in the work of an agency and
to decide whether she would like to join it on a permanent basis. One
who does good work may be given leave of absence without pay to re­
turn to school. She may then return the following vacation to work
in the same agency without taking another examination. After re­
ceiving her degree, she can be promoted from subprofessional to
professional work without taking another examination.
Vacation jobs open to student trainees which may be of interest to
biological sciences majors are in the following fields: biological and
plant sciences (agronomy, biology, botany, genetics, horticulture,
plant pathology, plant physiology) entomology; oceanography; and
plant pest control. Information and application forms can be ob­
tained from most post offices, U.S. Civil Service Commission regional
offices, or the U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington 25, D.C.

There are many vTays in which a high school graduate with an out­
standing academic record but limited financial resources can obtain a
college education. Many sources of information on the types of schol­
arships are available. A student should talk with her school coun­
selor, preferably before graduation, and with the librarian at both her
school and public library. She might also write to the college or uni­
versity of her choice, telling them of her school record and work ex­
perience (if any) and the field in which she wishes to specialize and
ask them to send her information on scholarships for which she might
be eligible.
Title IT of the Xational Defense Education Act of 1958 provides
for the establishment of loan funds in American colleges and univer­
sities from which a student may borrow up to $5,000. The law re­
quires each borrower to be a full-time student, be in need of the
amount of the loan to pursue her courses of study and be capable, in
the opinion of the institution, of maintaining good standing in chosen
courses of study. Special consideration is given to students with
superior academic backgrounds who intend to teach in elementary or
secondary school or whose background indicates a superior capacity
or preparation in science, mathematics, engineering, or a modern

foreign language. These loans are interest-free during the years of
study and 1 year thereafter, when they become repayable at 3 percent
interest on a long-term basis.
The same Act, under Title IV, authorizes university fellowships
for as much as 3 years of full-time graduate study with a maximum
stipend of $6,600 plus dependency allowances. Although the ap­
plicant who indicates an interest in college teaching is given prefer­
ence, she is under no obligation to teach or render any services either
during or after her course of study. Fellowships, some of which re­
quire the performance of duties in exchange, are also available under
the sponsorship of private companies, universities, service organiza­
tions, and philanthropic individuals.
Almost every college and university has funds for scholarships or
loans to help the undergraduate student. Graduate students are
often able to defray their costs of study through teaching assistantships.
An increasing number of college alumni groups and local clubs and
fraternal orders affiliated with national or international organizations
provide assistance to promising local students.
A 1957 survey of business firms revealed that one-third of the com­
panies employing more than 1,000 workers and one-seventh of those
employing 1,000 or fewer workers award one or more scholarships
annually. Fewer than half of the firms restrict the awards to em­
ployees or their children. Awards range from $300 to $1,000 a year.
Several are renewable if the student’s grades are satisfactory. Many
of these firms have tuition-aid programs for employees attending
school on their own time.
Further suggestions as to ways of obtaining financial aid have been
issued by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
The following publications, which were selected by its Office of Edu­
cation as helpful to prospective college and graduate students, may
be found in college libraries and in public libraries of larger cities.
Rich, Wilmer Shields. American Foundations and Their Fields. 1949-55.
American Foundations Information Service. 860 Broadway, New York 3, N.Y.
784 p. $35.
Feingold, S. Norman. Scholarships, Fellowships and Loans. 1955. Bellman
Publishing Co., Box 172, Cambridge 38, Mass, v.l—$6; v.2—$5; v.3—$10.
3v. set $20.
Lovejoy, Clarence E. and Jones, Theodore S. College Scholarship Guide. 1957.
Simon and Schuster, Inc., Publishers, 630 5th Avenue, New York 20, N.Y.
$3.95 cloth ; $1.95 paper.
Wilkins, Theresa Birch. Financial Aid for College Students: Undergraduate.
1957. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education.
1957 series', no. 18. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 23 p. $1.


Mattingly, Richard C. Financial Aid for College Students: Graduate. 1957.
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education. 1957
series, no. 17. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.O. 50 cents.
Craig, William Bradford. How to Finance a College Education. 1959. Henry
Holt & Co., New York 17, N.Y. 79 p. $1.95 paper.
Potter, Virginia Bosch. Fellowships in the Arts and Sciences, 1960-61. 3d. ed.
1959. The Association of American Colleges, Washington, D.C. 220 p. $3.75.
Babbidge, Homer D. Student Financial Aid; Manual for Colleges and Uni­
versities. 1960. American College Personnel Association, Washington, D.C.
56 p. $1.50.
UNESCO. Study Abroad: International Handbook, Fellowships, Scholarships,
Educational Exchange, XI, 1959-60. 1959. UNESCO Publications Center,
801 Third Avenue, New York 22, N.Y. or Columbia University Press, 2960
Broadway, New York 27, N.Y.


Earnings and Other Work Factors

The earnings of persons working in the biological sciences are
roughly comparable with those of other professionally trained per­
sonnel with similar educational backgrounds.
Federal Employment

The pay scale for Federal workers is based on the degree of diffi­
culty and responsibility of individual jobs. On the basis of these
factors, 18 pay grades have been established (see Appendix B).
Persons with a bachelor’s degree in biology or one of the biological
specialties but no work experience, who pass the required written test,
may be appointed at grade 5, $4,345 a year. Those who have a
superior academic record or who have successfully completed 1 year
of graduate study in the appropriate specialty may be hired at grade
7, $5,355. Those who have successfully completed 2 years of graduate
study beyond the bachelor degree may be hired at grade 9, $6,435 a
year. The Ph. D. graduate without experience may start at grade
11, $7,560.
Most persons who continue in Federal Government service are ad­
vanced to successively higher grade levels commensurate with their
education, skill, and experience. A few- biologists now hold positions
at the GS-17 level under the Classification Act, and a few- are in posi­
tions for which Congress has made special provisions and for which
the salary may go as high as $19,000. In 1959, however, the highest
grade held by women biologists in Federal employment was GS-14.
Nearly half of all women in the supervisory level jobs (GS-11, 12,
13, 14) w7ere bacteriologists.
Persons with at least a high school education but less than a bach­
elor’s degree may enter the biological sciences field in the Federal
service in such jobs as Medical Biology Technician, Biological Aid,
or Laboratory Animal Caretaker. Technician and aid jobs range

from GS-1 ($3,185) through GS-7 ($5,355), with the exact entry
classification dependent on education and/or experience.
Average annual salaries of professional men and women working
for the Federal Government in selected occupational fields in 1958
are shown in the following tabulation.
Fishery research biology.
Plant pathology_______
Plant physiology______
Plant taxonomy_______
Systematic zoology____
Wildlife research biology

Average annual salary
of Federal employees,
$7, 397
8, 064
7, 609
7, 791
7, 079
8, 153
7, 468
8, 689
8, 187
7, 006
7, 887
9, 413
8, 867
8, 111



Source: TJ.S. Civil Service Commission, Occupations of Federal White-Collar Workers, October 31,1959.

In 1959, medical biology technicians in the Federal Government
had an average salary of $4,328; biology aids, $4,299; and laboratory
animal caretakers, $3,588.
Among the supplemental benefits enjoyed by Federal Government
employees are the rather liberal allowances for vacation and sick
leave, low-cost group life insurance, group medical-hospitalization
benefits, and a retirement system to which the employer makes sub­
stantial contribution.
State and Local Employment

According to the latest (August 1958) salary survey of State health
workers conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service, salaries of
1,334 professional laboratory employees ranged from $2,142 to
$13,321. The average (median) salary was $5,208 for this group.
More than half of the State laboratory workers covered by the
PHS survey earned between $4,000 and $6,000. Roughly one-seventh
earned less than $4,000, one-seventh between $6,000 and $7,000, and
one-sixth $7,000 and over. Most of those people who earned $9,000 or

over were in the Middle Atlantic States (New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania) and in the East North Central States (Ohio, Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin).
The PHS survey noted a marked rise in the median salaries of
State workers in all health occupational categories between 1956 and
1958. In the 11-year span 1947-58, however, there was a smaller per­
centage increase for the laboratory personnel group than for each of
the other five groups surveyed (medical personnel, sanitary engineers,
sanitary personnel, supervisory and consultant public health nurses,
and nutritionists).
The Public Health Service also made a survey in August 1958 of
the salaries of local public health workers. This study covered 904
professional laboratory workers—those having at least a bachelor’s
degree in the biological sciences. More than 60 percent of these work­
ers earned between $4,000 and $6,000 a year, with a median salary of
$4,963. Another 16 percent earned less than $4,000; 13 percent, be­
tween $6,000 and $7,000; and 9 percent, $7,000 and over.
Colleges and Universities

The salary level of teachers and researchers in colleges and univer­
sities generally reflects the level of academic training and the length
of experience. However, it may vary between women’s colleges and
coeducational institutions, by geographic region, by sex, between pub­
lic and nonpublic institutions, and between colleges and universities.
According to the National Education Association’s 1959-60 salary
survey, the median salary of women who had attained the rank of
full professor was $7,899 (based on a 9-month term). Three out of
four of the women professors made between $6,680 and $9,190. The
salary for full professors ranged as high as $16,000.
Associate professors (women) had a median salary of $6,790. The
salaries of associate professors ranged from $2,000 to as high as
$12,000. Three-fourths of these women made more than $5,900.
As might be expected, the median salary for women assistant pro­
fessors was somewhat lower—$5,875. The lowest salary reported for
assistant professors was under $2,000 and the highest was between
$12,500 and $13,000. Three-fourths of these women earned about
Three out of four of the women instructors made about $4,400,
with a median of $4,855. Salaries for women instructors ranged from
less than $2,000 to between $14,500 and $15,000.
The median salary of teachers in junior colleges was slightly below
the median of those employed in 4-year schools.

Women teaching in colleges and universities in the Far West had
the highest median salary ($6,815), according to the NEA survey.
The median salary was a little lower for women who taught in the
New England States—$6,241—and in the Middle Atlantic States—
$6,208. Lowest salaries were reported for the Southeastern States,
with a median of $5,094.
The type of educational institution appeared to bear an important
relationship to the salaries paid to college and university faculty sur­
veyed. Although municipal universities had fewer faculty members
than any other type of educational institution, the median salary for
women of all ranks in these schools was by far the highest recorded—
$8,089. In fact, this salary level was $55 higher than the median
salary paid men at these same institutions. Women in teachers col­
leges had the next highest (median) salary ($6,418) followed by
those in State universities ($6,152) and State colleges ($6,115).
Median salaries for women at landgrant colleges and nonpublic uni­
versities were slightly lower—$5,908 and $5,825, respectively.
The lowest median salaries for women were reported in the non­
public colleges. Moreover, the smaller the student body in the non­
public colleges, the lower the median salary for women faculty mem­
bers. Among those colleges with 1,000 or more students, women
faculty members had a median salary of $5,457; those writh between
500 and 999 students, $5,055; and those with fewer than 500 students,
Some differences occur in salaries for teaching in summer sessions.
More than 80 percent of the colleges and universities responding to
the NEA survey have summer sessions. Of those which hold summer
sessions, half employ almost 50 percent of their full-time, academicyear teachers. More than half of the summer session teachers are
paid the same salary rate as during the academic year, about 45 per­
cent are paid a lower rate, and 3 percent are paid a higher rate.
Secondary Schools

The average annual salary of all secondary school classroom teach­
ers (men and women) for academic year 1959-60 was estimated by
the NEA to be $5,334. Only about 13 percent of these teachers had
salaries below $3,500; 30 percent were between $3,500 and $4,499; 29
percent between $4,500 and $5,499; 17 percent between $5,500 and
$6,499; and 11 percent made $6,500 or more. The largest proportion
of persons in the $6,500-and-over salary bracket were in California,
Alaska, New York, and New Jersey.
An earlier NEA survey (1958-59), showed that the median mini­
mum salary for classroom teachers in large urban school districts

(population of 30,000 and over) was $4,000 for those who had a
bachelor’s degree, and between $4,200 and $4,300 for those who had
a master’s degree. In the smallest districts (population between
2,500 and 4,999), the median minimum salaries were somewhat
lower—$3,831 for teachers with a bachelor’s degree and $4,039 for
those with a master’s degree.
The same 1958-59 survey indicated that the medians of maximum
salaries for classroom teachers in the large urban districts ranged
between $6,000 and $6,500 for teachers with a bachelor’s degree,
between $6,502 and $6,850 for those with a master’s degree, and
between $7,176 and $7,200 for those with a Ph.D. degree.
In a 1955-56 study, the NEA reported that, on the average, women
secondary school teachers earned about 4 percent, less a year than
Private industry

The salaries paid biological sciences personnel in private industry
are affected by factors such as occupational category, geographical
area, extent of training and experience, and the supply-demand
situation of the job market. In early summer 1960, the Women’s
Bureau studied the salaries paid by a few representative firms
located in various parts of the United States, with the following
The most common entry salary reported for men and women
filling jobs which required only high school graduation or some
college work but less than a bachelor’s degree was $3,300 or $3,400
a year. Some of these jobs commanded a salary closer to $3,550.
Still other workers, classified in somewhat more responsible sub­
professional or technician classifications, had beginning salaries of
Entry salaries for persons who held a bachelor's degree ranged
from $4,050 to $6,500 a year. For persons with a master’s degree,
the range was from about $5,400 to $7,150 a year wTith almost
$6,100 the most common salary.
In some private industry establishments, the beginning rate for
all occupational categories is a little lower for women than for men
with the same qualifications. At the doctoral level, however, the
rate in all reporting establishments was uniform for both sexes.
Entrance salaries for Ph. D.’s and M.D.’s ranged from $6,000 to
$9,350, with the most common annual salary close to $8,250.



An indication of the type of supplementary benefits which scien­
tific personnel are enjoying today is gleaned from a survey of 22
selected industrial firms leading in research and development activi­
ties throughout the United States. The Stanford University study,
entitled “Motivation of Scientists and Engineers,” published in 1959,
reported that these employees generally receive some form of over­
time pay and, in most cases, share in the company’s success through
participation in profit-sharing, bonus, or stock-purchase plans. In
addition, all the corporations interviewed offer in-company training
and opportunities for graduate study.
About three-fourths of the firms adopted a parallel line of pro­
motion for their scientific personnel, thus enabling them to advance
through progressively higher technical responsibilities rather than
through increased administrative duties. Moreover, technical com­
petence was the criterion stressed by most of the firms canvassed in
selecting their research supervisors.

Government agencies (Federal, State, and local), nonprofit re­
search organizations, and many private industry establishments
engaged in activities in the biological sciences field have had a
continuing interest in giving their employees on-the-job training or
in providing the opportunity for off-the-job instruction.
A number of Federal Government agencies have availed themselves
of the opportunity, afforded by the Government Employees Training
Act (Public Law 85-507) of July 1958, of authorizing selected
employees to attend various kinds of training courses. This training
is authorized in order that these employees may develop maximum
proficiency in the performance of their official duties. Some of these
courses are of short duration and teach only one specific phase of
work; others have broad application to work situations.
From time to time, the U.S. Public Health Service conducts
special training programs open to members of the laboratory staff
of State and local public health services. These may be conducted
at the National Institutes of Health in the Washington, D.C., area or
at a Public Health Service field station—such as the one for com­
municable diseases, in Atlanta; or the Sanitary Engineering Center
(Taft Memorial Laboratory), in Cincinnati. These courses may be
conducted so that participants can “brush up” on fundamentals of
certain types of laboratory analysis, or for the purpose of teaching
either a new technique or the use of new equipment or machinery.

Professional associations and other groups occasionally hold semi­
nars or symposiums which laboratory workers may attend to broaden
their knowledge or perspective.
College and university teachers are ordinarily given sabbatical
leave to study, do research, or travel in order to become qualified for
advancement. High school teachers are usually encouraged or re­
quired to attend annual or semiannual conferences or conventions of
up to a week’s duration to discuss literature and the use of equipment
and to exchange experiences in classroom techniques.

0 * *.

* *

m «

An associate microbiologist measuring the activity of antibiotic-producing cultures.



Up until a few years ago, the biological scientist engaged in labora­
tory research could seldom advance beyond the median salary level
and still remain primarily in research. Before such a scientist could
advance further, it was generally necessary to assume administrative
duties—which occupied a large proportion of the workday. But
there was a growing recognition by both public and private establish­
ments of the obvious advantages of retaining scientists directly on
research throughout their work life, rather than allowing their time
and energies to be channelled into other activities. This recognition
has led many employers to the divorcing of pui'e research from admin­
istrative duties. As a result, it is now possible for a scientist as she
gains greater experience, carries more research responsibilities, pre­
pares more research documents, and achieves professional recognition
in a specialty field, to advance to the top of the salary scale as a
laboratory worker.
The new “open-door" policy of advancement via progressively
higher research channels rather than through administrative posts,
is a particularly favorable development for those who demonstrate
technical proficiency. This does not mean that scientists at the upper
echelons wTill have no administrative assignments. Rather, it means
that such duties will not normally constitute a significant portion of
her activities. At the same time, the way remains open for the bio­
logical scientist who enjoys the management aspects of this field to
advance via the more usual route to the top—the administrative “chain
of command.”
To the extent that education shapes a person’s native ability,
imagination, resourcefulness, and the like, training-in-depth may be
considered the most important single factor affecting her advance­
ment. Of course, a thorough education alone is no guarantee that a
scientist will succeed. Indeed, at the junior and intermediate levels,
some supervisors prefer to work with individuals who are intelligent
and proficient in their jobs but who have only a modest academic
background. However, it is generally recognized that a solid educa­
tion is the cornerstone for a successful career, particularly at the
professional level, where a Ph. D. and/or a substantial number of
published papers are deemed indispensable for achieving prestige
and status.
The usual line of advancement for persons in the teaching field
was discussed earlier (see pp. 17-18) but is summarized briefly here.
Customarily, persons beginning their teaching careers at colleges
or universities are hired as instructors. In most places, the work

performance of members of the teaching staff is evaluated periodi­
cally and those who meet established criteria are given a salary
increment while retaining the same job title, or are promoted to the
next highest rank, usually that of assistant professor. As vacancies
occur and as junior members of the staff achieve proficiency in their
teaching activities and professional recognition from their scientific
colleagues, they usually advance to associate professor and then to
Professors who have an interest in and a talent for administrative
duties in addition to their demonstrated talents for teaching or
research may be promoted to head of a department or perhaps dean
of a college.
Promotion at the high school level is somewhat more limited and
depends, among other things, upon the size of the school system to
which one belongs. In many places there are no gradations for
classroom teachers, although there may be periodic salary increases
based on length of service. In larger schools, a teacher may become
head of the biology department and then head of the science depart­
ment. In a smaller school, promotion may be directly from classroom
teacher to school principal and ultimately to superintendent of
schools. A person may hold the post of school principal and continue
to do some classroom teaching. To attain the position of superintend­
ent, a teacher must usually hold an advanced degree (often a Ph. D.)
and/or demonstrate ability in administration.


Finding Employment
The manner in which one locates and obtains a job in the biological
sciences depends, among other things, on the extent of academic
preparation, the type of position desired, and whether one is seeking
a temporary summer job or a regular full-time job. Vacation work
was discussed previously (see pp. 50-51), and only full-time jobs will
be discussed in this section.
In general, there are a number of things a young job seeker will
want to do—no matter in what occupational field she is qualified.
She should talk with her school counselor or college placement
officer, advising him of her job interest and ascertaining if he knows
of job openings for which she is qualified. He may be able to make
an appointment for her with government and industry representa­
tives who visit the campus. He may also help her prepare a brief
statement of academic qualifications, personal attributes, and work
experience (both paid and voluntary) which could be used in lieu of
or as a supplement to more formal applications required by some
She undoubtedly will discuss her interest in a job with the head of
the science department and her major professor since employers
sometimes contact them directly. She will alert her family and
friends to be on the lookout for suitable vacancies. She will watch
the newspaper “help wanted” advertisements in cities in which she
would like to work. She will also scrutinize the “want ads” and
notices that appear in the scientific and business journals.
She may wish to talk with the youth counselor at the local office
of the State public employment service (affiliated with the United
States Employment Service). If she lives in or near a large city,
she will want to speak with the professional placement officer of the
public employment service to ascertain the local and national job
market in her field. There are more than 100 such professional
placement centers scattered throughout 44 States and the District of

If she knows an establishment where she would particularly like
to work—a Federal or State government agency, a pharmaceutical
house, a seed house, a food or beverage firm, a hospital, a private
research laboratory—she will want to send a resume of her qualifica­
tions, or apply directly, to the personnel office of that establishment.
Other, more specific, suggestions for persons of various educational
levels and interests follow.

Some jobs in Federal Government establishments—such as medical
aid, biological aid, medical technician, and medical biology techni­
cian—do not require a college degree. These jobs are in research
centers and in government hospitals. Examination announcements
may be obtained from the central office of the U.S. Civil Service
Commission in Washington or from the appropriate regional civil
service office.
There are also jobs as laboratory aids in State and local public
health laboratories. Notices of examinations can be obtained from
the appropriate civil service boards.
In addition, all kinds of establishments conducting biological
research—public, private, nonprofit, and others—have a few jobs
which may not even require high school graduation. These occupa­
tions may involve taking care of animals used in research, or of the
glassware and other equipment and supplies in a hospital or labora­
tory. Application for these jobs may also be through civil service—
or directly at the place of employment.

Let us assume that a young woman has a baccalaureate degree
with a major in biology or one of the biological specialties. If she
plans to teach in high school, she would have included in her pro­
gram of study the courses in education required by the Board of
Education in the State in which she plans to teach. She would also
have taken the necessary steps to obtain a license or certificate to
teach in that particular State (all States require them).4 *
If she is interested in teaching in high school in any particular
community, she should write to the locality’s school board during her
4 Arizona, California, New York, and the District of Columbia require that a high
school teacher have a bachelor’s degree and have completed 30 additional semester hours’
work before a permanent teacher’s certificate is issued. Under certain conditions, the
District of Columbia and New York will grant temporary certificates to persons with
less than this number of college credits.


senior year to inquire whether they expect any vacancies. Since
prospective employers often contact college employment offices, the
head of the college biology department, or the local public employ­
ment office, she should seek their assistance. Her State Board of
Education may maintain a list of schools needing teachers in her
If she is interested in a Federal Government job, she should get
the appropriate examination announcements from the U.S. Civil
Service Commission in Washington or from the appropriate TJ.S.
Civil Service Regional Office which serves her area. In some cases,
she may be able to file for an examination and be placed on a register
even before she is graduated (although final appointment will
probably not be made until the actual awarding of the degree).
If she is interested in working in the 'public health service labora­
tory in a particular State, she should get in touch with the State
Civil Service Board or the appropriate Merit System Agency for
information about examinations. (All State health departments
are covered by a merit system.)
Some counties and municipalities also maintain laboratories to
help protect the health and welfare of their citizens, and entry to
these jobs is also usually through civil service or merit systems.
In order to answer a number of questions about post-graduation
experience of women aioarded their bachelor’s degree, the Women’s
Bureau, in cooperation with the National Vocational Guidance Asso­
ciation, conducted a survey in 1958.5 This survey covered almost
88,000 women who received first degrees in June 1957. Employment
status 6 months after graduation was reported for an estimated
2,800 women graduates with a major in the biological sciences. Of
these, 60 percent were employed; 32 percent—quite a large propor­
tion in relation to graduates with majors in other fields—were
continuing their schooling; 2 percent were still seeking work; and 6
percent were not employed, in school, or seeking work.
Among the employed, nearly half were working as biologists or
technicians in biological and health-related fields, 26 percent were
teaching, 5 percent were engaged as chemists, almost 5 percent were
nurses, and the remainder worked in miscellaneous occupations and
Of the nearly 1,935 graduates working as biologists and biological
technicians, 38 percent reported that they had found their jobs
through direct application to the place of employment. Another6
6 See “First Jobs of College Women, Report of Women Graduates, Class of 1957,”
Women’s Bureau Bull. 268, U.S. Department of Labor, 1959.


> '


A supervising technologist planting tuberculosis cultures under a protective ultraviolet
sterilizing bacteriological hood.


26 percent were guided to their jobs through their college placement
bureau or a college professor. Twenty-one percent of those surveyed
found employment through the efforts of family or friends, and the
remainder through public and private employment agencies or news­
paper or magazine advertisements.

A woman who has an outstanding academic record and a Ph. D. or
M.D. degree in one of the biological sciences will find a wide range of
job opportunities available to her. She can pursue a career in either
basic or applied research in a number of government agencies, uni­
versities, hospitals, museums, nonprofit research organizations, or
private firms.
If she wishes to teach in high school, she will have taken the
courses required to obtain a certificate in the State in which she
plans to work. If she wishes to teach at a college or university, her
chances of being appointed to the faculty are far greater if she has
a Ph. D., particularly for posts above the instructor level. In some
colleges, a doctorate is required for teaching posts.
Whatever her choice, the methods of finding a suitable job are
much the same as those outlined in the preceding section for persons
with a bachelor’s degree. In addition, organizations such as the
American Institute of Biological Sciences and the Federation of
American Societies for Experimental Biology, both located in Wash­
ington, D.C., maintain employment exchanges for their members
and, in some instances, for nonmembers. Job seekers and hiring
personnel often make contact while attending the annual conventions
of these organizations as well as through the placement offices main­
tained by the societies and through their publications which often
contain information on job applicants.

Both biological research and teaching offer opportunities for part­
time employment to a growing number of people who are not avail­
able for full-time work. The nature of activities carried on in some
laboratories makes it possible and often times even desirable to
utilize part-time personnel. For example, some types of basic
research or experimental work can be conducted as well or better
on a 3-or-4-day-a-week schedule or on an abbreviated (4 or 6 hours)
workday. Applied research laboratories such as hospitals, public

health service facilities, and commercial laboratories sometimes need
extra people at certain hours of the day or at certain times during the
month or the year in order to meet peak workloads. Many experi­
ments require around-the-clock observations or testing and can be
carried out only if supplementary personnel are available to replace
the regular staff when they go off duty for evenings, weekends, or
A number of junior and senior high schools are meeting their
teacher shortages by hiring housewives academically qualified to
teach one or more courses each day. Similarly, women wTho hold a
master’s or doctor’s degree and live in college towns may have an
opportunity to do part-time classroom teaching or laboratory super­
vision. Some colleges and universities conduct night courses and
either employ or might be willing to employ qualified persons to
teach biological sciences subjects at these evening classes.
In the next decade, with the unprecedented influx of students into
high schools and colleges, the number of schools with arrangements
for the utilization of part-time personnel can be expected to grow.
This development will work to the especial advantage of women who
cannot work full time or to those who hold full-time jobs but who
wish either to broaden their experience or enhance their income or


A Look to the Future

No one can foresee what monumental discoveries biological scien­
tists engaged in research will make in the years ahead. Hardly a day
passes without the announcement of some new development which
has in it the potential for a dramatic improvement in the health and
well-being of mankind.
For example, within the past 10 to 15 years our knowledge of
viruses, the smallest of the ^living things,” has been growing by
leaps and bounds. Scientists are already able to break them apart
and put them together again and can cause infection with just that
part of the virus known as a nucleic acid. Biologists and biochemists
are now trying to synthesize nucleic acids. If they succeed and these
nucleic acids can cause infection, the scientists will, in one sense,
be on the verge of creating life. Virology is a field which has had
a particular appeal for women and a number of them are already
making notable contributions to the advancement of this research
Still other specialists will be engaged in other research projects
which have far-reaching implications—such as those who are work­
ing to discover or devise an abundant, nourishing, and inexpensive
food supply for the exploding world population. But whether the
pioblem solved is tiny or huge in scope, there is every reason to
believe that women scientists of the future will continue to display
keen interest in and contribute significantly to discoveries in all the
specialized fields of research.

Radiation research is among the fields that have recently emerged
in the biological sciences area. A number of pioneering scientists
are studying the effects of radiation—including fall-out from atomic

Poplar trees grown under special conditions so that each receives the same nutrition.
Plants are subsequently used in experiments related to atomic energy.

weapons tests—upon such biological processes as aging, tumor
growth, mutations and other changes in the hereditary mechanism,
structural differences in proteins and cells, and sensitivity and
tolerance adjustments.
Radiation is also becoming increasingly useful as a tool in medical
research and therapy for both diagnosis and treatment of various
diseases. Radioactive tracers are used to study physiological proc­
esses (both plant and animal), photosynthesis, energy transfer,
growth, disease, and healing processes. Future possibilities from
radioactive isotope research are foreseen for such projects as produc­
ing nicotine-free tobacco and obtaining more efficient production of
agricultural products.
Already involved in various aspects of radiological research and
application are a number of private companies, universities, and
government agencies. Among the latter are several units of the
Department of Defense; the Department of Health, Education, and
Welfare; the Veterans Administration; State and local health de­
partments; and the Atomic Energy Commission. The AEC was
established to promote the use and control of nuclear materials for

m ;i.




,-* .jiV

A biology technician using a microscope to determine genetic changes in fruit Flies, some
of which have been exposed to X-rays, and others to neutrons—atomic particles pro­
duced by a nuclear reactor.

our national defense and in the interest of health and welfare for
mankind everywhere. Its operations are carried out largely by
industrial concerns and by private and public institutions under
contract with the Commission.
Women represent a fairly sizable proportion—ranging from onefourth in some installations to more than half in others—of all
biologists and biological technicians employed by selected AEC
laboratories surveyed by the Women’s Bureau in early 1960. Nearly
3 out of 10 women biologists were reported to hold supervisory
positions at 1 of the installations, but it should not be inferred that
this was a representative picture since comparable data were not
furnished by the others. Individual installations stress different
aspects of the biology field, but it appears that women are most
likely to work in medical technology, general biology, physiology,
biochemistry, microbiology, cytology and cytochemistry, genetics,
pathology, and enzymology.

All except one of the installations surveyed reported an adequate
supply of biologists and technicians. College graduates to work as
technicians were most needed at one facility. Another indicated a
steady demand for bachelor’s and master’s degree holders in all fields
of biology because of the high turnover of scientists at this level who
leave to continue their study toward a Fh. D.
Because of the variety of research activities conducted by these
laboratories, both specialists and individuals with broad general
training are employed. In the main, the difference between the duties
of technicians and scientific personnel is that the latter originate and
carry through their own research projects whereas the technicians
assist and work under the supervision of a scientist.
On the educational plane, at some places the scientists usually
hold advanced degrees, whereas subprofessional workers generally
have a bachelor’s. In some places, however, technicians need have
only a high school education or possibly some college training, de­
pending on the level of job responsibility.
As an example of the levels of remuneration that may be expected
by beginning biology personnel today, the following salaries are
cited for one of the eastern installations under contract to the AEC.
Starting rates in early 1960 ranged from $550 to $650 a month for
Ph. D.’s, $475 to $550 for M.S.’s, $300 to $425 for B.S.’s, and $280 to
$310 for high school graduates.

Launching a manned satellite, as we already know, is an under­
taking of herculean proportions that requires the participation of
many types of scientists. Exobiology, space biology, extraterrestrial
biology, bioastronautics are all merely esoteric terms which are
alternative names for this new and exciting branch of science.
Is there life on Mars? Or, for that matter, is any other planetinhabitable? Can space research open the Pandora’s box to the
riddle of creation—the origin and evolution of the universe? Will
investigation yield discoveries of new organisms that may be of
economic benefit or danger to man? What effects would space
environments have on humans and other living species and how
could they be applied to the medical and biological problems of
manned space flights ? For example: What- would be the basic
physiological and psychological reactions of space travelers to factors
such as extreme temperature change, weightlessness, acceleration and
deceleration, buffeting, noise and vibration, toxicity, radiation, con­
finement, and isolation? How much tolerance has man to such

stresses and pressures and what methods, precautions, and treatments
can be devised by biologists to help these astronauts successfully
adapt to voyages through the upper atmosphere? Will man con­
taminate other planets with organisms from earth?
An illustration of some of the studies being conducted for use in
our probe of outer space concerns the age-old problem of sustenance.
Until recently, biologists were hopeful that algae (plankton)—a
fast-growing form of plant life—could be used as the perfect food.
Now, experiments show that these sea weeds are unsatisfactory as
a sole or even palatable source of food without further processing.
Parallel research is centering on a completely synthetic chemical
diet, while similar problems abound in clothing composition and
design as well as the other practical aspects of maintaining life and
good health aloft in space ships.
If there is any form of life on other planets, it is believed most
likely to be microorganisms, both because they are more apt to thrive
in marginal environments and to precede in evolutionary sequence
the larger organisms. Moreover, according to at least one outstand­
ing scientist, it is considered relatively feasible to collect, cultivate,
and analyze microbes under the present experimental techniques of
microbial cytochemistry and biochemical genetics which also lend
themselves to automation and telemetric recording adaptations.
Since microbes will be such an important source of raw material
for biological space study, scientists are extremely interested in
avoiding contamination of other planets from the introduction of
earth’s organisms. Similar concern is being expressed about the
risks of infectious diseases and harmful agents that might be
carried back to earth by the returning space vehicles.
Although it is thus obvious that microbiologists and biochemists
will be in the forefront of exobiology research, virtually all the other
branches of biology will also be represented in the long-range studies,
especially as the accumulation of data facilitates deeper investiga­
tion into the more complex species. Accordingly, this vast spectrum
of endeavor ranges from systematic biology, which classifies species,
to psychology or human engineering, which studies anxiety, loneliness,
performance, and other behavior manifestations.
Some of the areas of work in the life sciences and the types of
personnel that will be needed include:
1. Life-support systems for generating breathing oxygen and absorbing
carbon dioxide: These projects will require—in addition to scientists of
other disciplines—biochemists, biophysicists, bioengineers, and cellular, res­
piratory, and plant physiologists.
2. Clothing design for the moon, planets, and space: General physi­
ologists and textile engineers.


3. Nutrition: Biochemists, dietitians, physiologists, and bioengineers.
4. Toxicity monitoring and data telemetering: Physiologists, bioengi­
neers, and biochemists.
5. Radiation: Radiobiologists and biophysicists.
6. Basic research for extraterrestrial life and for vehicle decontamina­
tion : Experimental zoologists and botanists, physiologists, biochemists, and
7. Testing, performance, data reduction, and psychological aspects of
space flight: Human engineers, human factors specialists, neurophysiolo­
gists, psychologists.
8. Physiological stress studies: Physiologists, biochemists, and all types
of aeromedical researchers.

Where is the work of basic and applied research in exobiology
being conducted? Colleges and universities and a scattering of pri­
vate companies, generally under government contract, have been
conducting a substantial share of the space studies. Government
agencies themselves have been playing a vital role in both the plan­
ning and development phases of space activity. Among the Federal
agencies directly engaged in either carrying out or monitoring space
research projects are the National Aeronautics and Space Adminis­
tration and the Department of Defense.
Relatively few women have had either the training or the oppor­
tunity to participate in space biology research. But as activities in
this field accelerate, it is anticipated that more and more women will
find jobs available to them—especially those occupations which re­
quire highly trained scientists to work in laboratories.



National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel
The most authoritative and detailed information on those charac­
teristics of scientists which are related to their work is contained in
the National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel main­
tained by the National Science Foundation. A number of profes­
sional scientific societies mail questionnaires to individual scientists,
members and nonmembers alike, to insure the most complete coverage
possible. By using a standard National Science Foundation ques­
tionnaire, information on each scientist in the Register is brought up
to date every 2 years.
The Register does not contain a full count of scientists, however.
Response to the National Science Foundation questionnaire is on a
voluntary basis and a number of scientists fail to respond. Secondly,
the National Register defines the term “scientist” as those persons for
whom academic training and experience in a scientific field are
prerequisites. Normally, persons holding a doctoral degree in a
scientific field or persons with a bachelor’s degree plus 4 years of
professional experience are considered “scientists.” The exact defini­
tion, however, varies among the scientific disciplines.
The 1956-58 Register includes approximately 140,000 scientists
who were employed full time. Of these, more than 8,700, or 6.2
percent, were women. Persons registered in the life sciences—which
include the biological sciences, agricultural sciences, and medical
sciences—totaled almost 30,000, of whom 8.2 percent were women.
TV omen registered in the life sciences (2,470) ranked third in number
behind women working in the fields of psychology and chemistry.
A brief analysis of selected categories of data collected during
1956-58 by the American Institute of Biological Sciences and the
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology for the
National Science Foundation follows.
Place of Employment

By far the greatest number of women life scientists were employed
by educational institutions. Three-fifths worked in these institu­
tions; one-fifth worked for government and approximately one-tenth
each for nonprofit organizations and private industry. More than

one-third of the women employed by nonprofit organizations were
microbiologists and almost two-fifths of those employed by private
industry were microbiologists or pharmacologists.
Educational institutions employed 86 percent of the women biolo­
gists who specialized in anatomy and 80 percent of those in zoology.
Also working in educational institutions were 76 percent of the
botanists, 70 percent of the geneticists, 74 percent of the physiologists,
64 percent of the nutritionists, almost 40 percent of the microbiolo­
gists, 44 percent of the pathologists, and 35 percent of the pharma­
cologists. More than two-fifths of the women employed by govern­
ment agencies were working in the subfield of microbiology; the next
largest subfield wras nutrition.
Work Activity

More than two-fifths of the women life scientists in the Register
were employed in some type of research and fewer than two-fifths
were engaged in teaching. The remainder -worked in a variety of
other activities such as management or administration, inspection,
field exploration or clinical practice.
Most of the women whose biological subfield was anatomy, botany,
or zoology held teaching posts, whereas the majority of the geneti­
cists, nutritionists, pharmacologists, and physiologists were engaged
primarily in research activities. Nearly half of the microbiologists
and pathologists were doing research work, and more than one-third
were employed in activities other than teaching or research.
Educational Attainment

Eight out of ten of the women life scientists held a graduate degree
and over 60 percent of these were doctoral (M.D. or Ph. D.). Ana­
lyzed by subfield, the largest numbers of doctoral degrees were held
by microbiologists (240) and nutritionists (182). The largest pro­
portion of doctoral degrees was held by geneticists (74 percent), fol­
lowed closely by anatomists and physiologists (70 per cent), and
nutritionists (69 percent). In the subfields of botany, pathology,
and pharmacology, roughly half of the women held a doctorate ; twothirds of the pathologists had medical degrees.
Educational Major

More than two-fifths of the women in the life sciences had received
their highest degree in the same subfield as that in which they were
employed, and one-third received their highest degree in another life

The highest proportions of women employed in the subfield in
which they had majored were botanists (76 percent), microbiologists
(66 percent), and zoologists (62 percent). Conversely, only 6 per­
cent of the pathologists and 20 percent of the anatomists were em­
ployed in the subfield in which they had taken their highest degree.

Table A-l.—Number of Women Employed in Selected Life Sciences
Subfields Who Reported Highest Degree Granted and Education Major 1
Highest degree granted s
Life sciences

Total . .
Anatomy ...
Zoology _ __

Total than a











Education major 12
Medical Other
Same as Other
sciences Non
M.D. Total employ­
sciences sciences mathe­ tific
180 2,453














1 See p. 79 for definition of terms used in this table.
2 Total represents number of responses to this questionnaire item.
Source: National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel, 1956-58, National Science Foundation.

Table A—2. Number of Women Employed in Selected Life Sciences
Subfields Who Reported Type of Employer and Work Activity1
Employer 2_
Life sciences

Work activity 2

Educa­ Govern­
Private organi­
institu­ agency industry zations




Physiology. __
Zoology-------Other........... .















Research Teach­












1 See p. 79 for definition of terms used in this table,
2 Total represents number of responses to this questionnaire item.
Source: National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel, 1956-58, National Science Foundation.


Salaries of Registrants

The median salary for women employed in the life sciences was
$5,719. More than two-fifths received $6,000 or over, and only an
eighth reported less than $4,000. Women in the subfield of nutri­
tion had by far the highest median salary ($6,886). The next high­
est was that of pathologists ($5,972), followed by those in pharma­
cology ($5,848).
Age of Registrants

More than half of the women reported as full-time workers in the
life sciences were 40 years of age or older; over half of these were at
least 50 years of age. Almost one-third of the registrants were 30
to 39 years of age, and the remainder were under 30.

Table A-3.—Number op Women Employed in Selected Life Sciences
Subfields Who Reported Salary and Age
Age 1

Salary 1
Life sciences
T otal

Anatomy. ...
Botany _________
Nutrition___ ____
Physiology----------Zoology.. .. ...

Under $4,000$4,000 $5,999

and Median Total




50 and

2, 424





2, 451









5, 446
5, 286
5, 590
6, 886
5, 972
5, 848
5, 710






1 Total represents number of responses to this questionnaire item.
Source: National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel, 1956-58, National Science Foundation.


Definitions of Terms Used in Tables A—i and A-2
Less than a master’s

Most women in this group have a bachelor’s degree;
some have more than a bachelor's but less than a
master’s; a few have less than a bachelor’s.

Master's degree:

Includes women with at least a master’s degree but
less than a doctorate.

Same as employment:

Includes women working in the subfield in which
they had majored, i.e., anatomy, botany, etc.

Other life sciences:

Includes women employed in life sciences not shown
separately such as entomology, ecology, biophysics,
and phytopathology.

Medical and health

Includes women employed directly in the field of
medicine and surgery (cardiology, hematology, radi­
ology, etc.) or dentistry, public health, pharmacy, or
veterinary medicine.

Other sciences and

Includes women employed In fields such as the earth
sciences, meteorology, geography, chemistry, and


Includes women employed in fields such as psychol­
ogy, history, or one of the social sciences (economics,
political science, demography, sociology, etc.).

Educational institution :

Includes women employed by colleges, universities,
and secondary schools.

Government agency:

Includes women employed by agencies of interna­
tional, Federal, State, and local governments.

Private industry:

Includes women employed by private industry or
business establishments and those who are selfemployed.


Includes women whose primary work activity was
in research, without regard to the place of employ­

Other (workactivity) :

Includes women engaged in a wide variety of ac­
tivities such as development and design; consulting;
technical writing and editing; management or ad­
ministration ; Inspection, analysis, testing, process
control: production; technical sales, service, market­
ing, purchasing; field exploration, surveys, and
clinical practice.


Canadian Government Register
The Canadian government also has registered personnel engaged
in the scientific and professional fields. The educational attainment
of persons surveyed in Canada may not be directly comparable with
those covered by the XSF Register. It is noteworthy that women
constituted a relatively small proportion of the total on the register
in each country. However, women biologists in Canada represented
a much larger proportion of that field than in the United States.
In order to establish a Technical Personnel Register, the Canadian
Department of Labour made a survey (in 1956) of persons who re­
ceived their bachelor’s degree prior to 1952. Women are represented
in all 15 of the major professional fields which make up the Register
and comprise 23 percent of the nearly 1,500 who work in the field of
biology. This was by far the largest proportion of women among
the categories of personnel on the Register.
Among the women in biology, 38 percent were employed in re­
search; 47 percent in testing, inspection, and laboratory services; 13
percent in teaching and writing; and 2 percent in other activities.
Of the women biologists on the Register who reported by type of
employer, almost one-third worked in government, nearly one-third
in educational institutions, and the remainder were scattered among
other types of employers.
Although coverage of the United States Register differs somewhat
from that of the Canadian Register, some comparisons may be made
of work activities and places of employment.
A large proportion of women on both registers were engaged in
research, with the slightly higher rate in the United States—45 per­
cent compared with 38 percent. But then the pattern deviates
sharply. Although 36 percent of the other United States registrants
were teachers, less than 13 percent were so engaged in Canada.
Nearly half (49 percent) of all Canadian women biologists performed
testing, inspection, laboratory, or other miscellaneous services
whereas only 17 percent of the United States women engaged in these
When compared by place of employment, the dissimilarity of the
two groups of registrants becomes even more apparent. Roughly 60
percent of the United States women biologists were employed by edu­
cational institutions compared with about 31 percent in Canada. A
higher proportion worked for government agencies in Canada (30
percent) than in the United States (20 percent).

Federal Government Salary Structure
Federal civilian employees are paid under several different pay
systems. Virtually all jobs in the biological sciences are covered by
the Classification Act; a few are under the jurisdiction of local wage
boards. Pay rates for employees under the Classification Act are set
by the Congress and .are nationwide or broader in coverage.
The Classification Act provides a pay scale called the General
Schedule (GS) for employees in professional, administrative, tech­
nical, and clerical jobs, and for employees such as guards and mes­
sengers. The jobs under the General Schedule are classified and ar­
ranged in pay grades according to difficulty of the duties; the re­
sponsibilities ; and knowledge, experience, or skill required.
Grades in the General Schedule, together with the entrance and
maximum salary and the periodic steps for each grade, are listed in
the following table.
U.S. Government Classification Pay Scale
[Effective July 10, 1960]
Rates within grade












3, 500
3, 760
4, 040
4, 345
4, 830
5, 355
5, 885
6, 435
7, 560
10, 035
13, 730
15, 255
16, 530
18, 500

3, 605
3, 865
4, 510
5, 520
6, 050
6, 600
9, 215
16, 790

3, 710
4, 250
4, 675
5, 685
6, 215
6, 765
7, 325
8, 080
9, 475
15, 775

$3, 500
4, 840
5, 850
6, 380
6, 930
7, 490
8, 340
9, 735
14, 705
17, 310

$3, 605
4, 460
5, 490
6, 545
7, 655
8, 600
13, 250
17, 570

5, 655
7, 260
7, 820
13, 510

$3, 815
4, 670
5, 335
5, 820
6, 345
6, 875
7, 985

4, 495
6, 510
7, 590

4, 340
4, 600
4, 880
5, 665
6, 675
7, 755
8, 315
9, 380
12, 455
15, 550

4, 445
4, 705
4, 985
5, 830
6, 315
6, 840
7, 370
8, 480
9, 640
15, 810

Employees in all grades except GS-18 receive periodic “step” in­
creases if their job performance is satisfactory. In each of the first
10 grades, the increases occur every 12 months until the maximum

salary is reached. In grades GS-11 through GS-17, they occur every
18 months. Employees in grades GS-1 through GS-15 also get a
maximum of three “longevity increases” if they continue to serve in
the same grade after they have reached the maximum salary.
Employees are not promoted automatically to a higher grade. Pro­
motions depend upon openings in higher grades and upon the ability
and work performance of the individual employee. It is not always
necessary for an employee to move to a new job to get a promotion.
If his work assignments become more difficult and his responsibilities
increase, his job may be reclassified to a higher grade with a corre­
sponding increase in pay.



Women’s Bureau Publications in the Medical and
Health Services Field
Publications marked with an asterisk (*) are out of print, but can
be seen in many public libraries and university libraries.
Publications for which prices are quoted may be obtained from the
Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washing­
ton 25, D.C. Orders for these items should be accompanied by check
or money order payable to the Superintendent of Documents.
The Outlook for Women:
As Physical Therapists. 51 pp. Rev. 1952. 204.
As Occupational Therapists. 51 pp. Rev. 1952. 204.
In Professional Nursing Occupations. 80 pp. Rev. 1953.
As Medical Technologists and Laboratory Technicians. 54 pp. Rev.
1954. 254­
As Practical Nurses and Auxiliary Workers on the Nursing Team.
62 pp. Rev. 1953. 404*203-6
As Medical Record Librarians. 9 pp. 1945.
As Women Physicians. 28 pp. 1945.
As Medical X-Ray Technicians. 53 pp. Rev. 1954. 25(*.
As Women Dentists. 21 pp. 1945.
*203-10 As Dental Hygienists. 17 pp. 1945.
*203-11 As Physicians’ and Dentists’ Assistants. 15 pp. 1945.
*203-12 Trends and Their Effect Hpon the Demand for Women Workers.
55 pp. 1946.
The Industrial Nurse and the Woman Worker. 48 pp. 1949. 154Some of the above subjects are covered also in chapters prepared for the 1959
edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook—Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bulletin 1255. Reprints of these chapters may be had under the following titles :
Employment Outlook for:
1255-47 Medical X-Ray Technicians, Medical Technologists, Dental Hygien­
ists, and Medical Record Librarians. 15(s'.
1255-59 Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists. 104­
1255-74 Registered Professional Nurses and Practical Nurses. 10((.



Glossary of Selected Biological Specialties
Geneticists :




Investigate cells.
Deal with the relationship between plants and
animals and their environment.
Examine the growth process, from seed or egg
to mature organism.
Study the transmission and variation of heredi­
tary characteristics.
Investigate tissues.
Study the structure of organisms.
Emphasize the effects of food on animals and
man, including diet, food processing and prep­
aration ; and are concerned with many digestive,
circulatory, and excretory functions.
Trace the origin and development of species by
studying the fossil remains of the past.
Attack the problems related to the nature, causes,
and control of plant and animal diseases.
Concentrate on functioning of organs to learn
how digestive, circulatory, reproductive, and
other systems operate.
Identify and classify species according to their
characteristics and “family tree” relationships.


Professional Societies in the Biological Sciences
I. Societies associated with the American Institute of Biological
Member Societies
American Academy of Microbiology
American Bryological Society
American Physiological Society
American Phytopathological Society
American Society for Horticultural Science
American Society of Human Genetics
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
American Society of Naturalists
American Society of Parasitologists
American Society of Plant Physiologists
American Society of Plant Taxonomists
American Society of Zoologists
Botanical Society of America
Conference of Biological Editors
Ecological Society of America
Entomological Society of America
Genetics Society of America
Mycological Society of America
National Association of Biology Teachers
Poultry Science Association
Phi Sigma Society
Society for Industrial Microbiology
Society of General Physiologists
Society for the Study of Development and Growth
Affiliate Societies

Association of Anatomists
Association of Bioanalysts
Dairy Science Association
Fern Society
Fisheries Society
Genetic Association
Ornithologists’ Union
Society of Agronomy
Society of Animal Production


Affiliate Societies—Continued
American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
American Society of Mammalogists
Association of Official Seed Analysts
Association of Southeastern Biologists
Biological Photographic Association
International Association of Dental Research
National Pest Control Association
Potato Association of America
Society of American Bacteriologists
Society of American Foresters
Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Society of Protozoologists
Society for the Study of Evolution
Society of Systematic Zoology
Wildlife Disease Association

II. Societies associated with the Federation of American Societies
for Experimental Biology:

Physiological Society
Society of Biological Chemists
Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Society for Experimental Pathology
Institute of Nutrition
Association of Immunologists

III. Other Organizations
American Association for the Advancement of Science
New York Academy of Sciences