Life scientists work with anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of humans, animals, plants and other living organisms to better understand how living organisms function and interact with each other and the environment.

Specialisations include biological scientists (focus on living organisations in agriculture, fisheries, biotechnology, medicine and the environment) and marine scientists (focus on coastal zones and the ocean).

Where life scientists are employed

Life scientists work in federal, state, territory and local government organisations including research organisations. They are also employed in private industry, hospitals, educational institutions, primary production and fisheries.

Life scientists have average employment prospects but entry to some jobs is highly competitive.

Job demand is linked to factors such as growing environmental awareness, the market for primary products and levels of government funding for research.


Full-time life scientists in South Australia generally earn more than $1,600 per week.

Graph of pay scale for Life scientist

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 308 people employed full-time as life scientists in South Australia compared with 314 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a life scientist you usually have to complete a degree relevant to your chosen field of specialisation. To get into these courses usually requires completion of year 12.  

At school you can study biology, maths and rural studies to get a good foundation for this occupation. 

For information on course admission requirements and how to apply to the universities and TAFE in South Australia visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Check South Australian Universities at The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia.

For information about Australian universities visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

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Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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