Job Family: Engineering and Scientific Research Life Scientists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force

Supplemental Information
Profile  | 
Photo 1: Scientists inspect specimen. Photo 2:
Biologist inspects a sample in the lab.

Ulises Miranda
Occupation: Cinical Laboratory Officer

My dad was a sergeant in the Army, so I was exposed to the military at an early age. He took me along with him in the field. As early…

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Short Description
The military conducts studies of human and animal diseases to understand their causes and to find treatments. Harmful pests and bacteria are studied to find ways to protect people and food against illness or infection. Life scientists study the biology and chemistry of living organisms.


What They Do
Life scientists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Study bacteria and parasites to determine how they invade and affect humans or animals
  • Study the effects of diseases, poisons, and radiation on laboratory animals
  • Study the effects of drugs, chemicals, and gases on living organisms
  • Study ways of protecting humans through immunization from disease
  • Direct blood banks and study blood chemistry
  • Study the effects of aerospace flight, temperature, and movement on human physiology
  • Study food storage and handling methods
  • Study ways of keeping bases and ships free from pests and contagious diseases
  • Conduct experiments and write technical reports

Helpful Attributes
Helpful fields of study include biochemistry, biology, microbiology, and pharmacology. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and concisely
  • Interest in mathematics, chemistry, biology, and medical research
  • Interest in scientific work

Training Provided
No initial job training is provided to officers in this occupation. However, advanced courses are available in some specialties.

Work Environment
Life scientists work in medical, clinical, and research laboratories and, at times, in food processing or storage plants. They may work outdoors while conducting field work on land or aboard ships.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian life scientists work for universities, government agencies, medical laboratories, blood banks, pharmaceutical firms, chemical companies, or in private practice. They perform duties similar to those performed by military life scientists. Depending on their specialty, civilian life scientists may be called biochemists, biologists, entomologists, immunologists, medical technologists, pharmacologists, physiologists, toxicologists, or veterinarians.

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