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Top 10 Biologist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for biologists to help them advance their careers.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important part of the job market for biologists, as they demonstrate a level of skill or knowledge that is often required by employers. Certifications can help demonstrate to potential employers that the biologist has the necessary qualifications and experience to do the job. Additionally, certifications may be required for certain positions in order to obtain licensing or insurance coverage. Having a certification in a particular field can also provide additional credibility when applying for jobs, as it shows that the biologist has put in the effort and dedication to achieve a higher level of expertise.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Biologists and explain how they can help to advance one's career in the field.

What are Biologist Certifications?

Biological certification is a voluntary process which recognizes professionals in the fields of biology and related sciences. This certification demonstrates that the individual has achieved a certain level of expertise in the field, and can be used to increase job opportunities and career advancement.

Certification is provided by scientific organizations such as the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) or the Ecological Society of America (ESA). In order to become certified, typically an individual must have a minimum number of years of experience in the field, provide evidence of their education and training, and pass an examination that tests their knowledge in various areas related to biology.

By becoming certified, biologists are able to demonstrate their qualifications and expertise to potential employers. This can help increase their job prospects by showing employers that they possess a higher level of knowledge than those who do not have certification. Additionally, certification may also be required for certain positions in government agencies or academic institutions. Furthermore, some organizations offer additional benefits such as discounts on professional development events or access to resources for continuing education. Ultimately, becoming certified can help biologists further their careers by demonstrating their qualifications and providing them with additional opportunities for advancement.

Pro Tip: When pursuing biologist certification, make sure to research the requirements of the specific certifying body you are applying to in order to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria. Additionally, it can be beneficial to gain experience in the field or have a degree or other qualifications related to biology in order to increase your chances of success.

Related: What does a Biologist do?

Top 10 Biologist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Biologists today.

1. Certified Professional Biologist (CPB)

Certified Professional Biologist (CPB) is a professional designation for biologists in Canada. It is a voluntary certification program administered by the Canadian Council of Professional Biologists (CCPB). The CCPB was established to recognize and promote the highest standards of professional practice and ethical conduct among biologists.

It takes approximately two years to become certified as a CPB. To be eligible, applicants must have completed an accredited university degree in biology or related field and at least three years of relevant work experience. Applicants must also submit references from two qualified professionals in their field, pass an exam, and sign a code of ethics.

The cost to become certified varies depending on the applicant’s province or territory of residence. For example, in Ontario it costs $250 CAD for the application fee and $275 CAD for the exam fee.

Overall, becoming a Certified Professional Biologist demonstrates that you are committed to your profession and have met the highest standards of professional practice and ethical conduct.

2. Certified Fisheries Professional (CFP)

A Certified Fisheries Professional (CFP) is an individual who has demonstrated a high level of knowledge and experience in the field of fisheries management and conservation. The CFP program is administered by the American Fisheries Society (AFS), which is the leading professional organization for fisheries professionals in North America.

In order to become a CFP, individuals must meet certain educational and work experience requirements. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree in fisheries science or a related field from an accredited college or university, as well as at least five years of professional experience in fisheries management or conservation. In addition, applicants must pass an examination that covers topics such as fish biology, ecology, population dynamics, habitat management, and fish culture.

The CFP certification process typically takes six to twelve months to complete. After submitting an application and passing the examination, candidates will receive their certification within four to six weeks.

The cost of becoming a CFP varies depending on the type of membership chosen by the applicant. AFS offers three levels of membership: Regular ($150/year), Senior ($90/year), and Student ($50/year). All memberships include access to AFS publications and discounts on conferences and other events.

3. Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB)

A Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB) is a professional designation granted by The Wildlife Society to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of wildlife biology. To become certified, an individual must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in wildlife or related field, plus at least five years of experience working in the field. They must also pass an exam administered by The Wildlife Society.

It typically takes six to nine months to complete the certification process, depending on how quickly you can complete the required steps. The first step is to submit an application to The Wildlife Society and pay the application fee ($75 for members and $150 for non-members). Once your application is approved, you will be sent information about registering for the exam and how to prepare for it. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your certification as a CWB.

The cost of becoming a CWB varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of The Wildlife Society. For members, it costs $75 for the application fee plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam (such as travel expenses). For non-members, it costs $150 for the application fee plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam (such as travel expenses).

4. Certified Ecologist (CEcD)

A Certified Ecologist (CEcD) is a professional designation awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise and knowledge in the field of ecology. The certification is offered by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), an international organization dedicated to restoring and managing ecosystems. To become certified, individuals must demonstrate their knowledge and experience through an examination process that covers topics such as ecological principles, restoration techniques, environmental law, and management practices.

The process of becoming a Certified Ecologist typically takes between six months to one year. During this time, applicants must complete a series of courses and exams in order to demonstrate their knowledge of ecology. After completing the coursework, applicants must then take an exam administered by SER. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants will be awarded the CEcD designation.

In order to become a Certified Ecologist, applicants must meet certain requirements set forth by SER. These include having at least two years' experience working in an ecological field; holding a bachelor's degree or higher in ecology or related field; being able to demonstrate professional competence in the field; and being able to pass the SER exam with a score of 80% or higher. Additionally, applicants must submit references from two professionals who can attest to their qualifications for certification.

The cost for becoming a Certified Ecologist varies depending on where you live and which institution you choose for your certification program. Generally speaking, however, it can range anywhere from $500-$2,000 USD depending on the program chosen.

5. Certified Plant Scientist (CPS)

Certified Plant Scientist (CPS) is a professional certification program for plant scientists. It is offered by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America. The program was established to recognize the specialized knowledge and skills of those working in the field of plant science.

To become a Certified Plant Scientist, applicants must have at least an undergraduate degree in plant science or related field, with at least two years of work experience in the field. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by the American Society of Agronomy. The exam covers topics such as plant physiology, genetics, biochemistry, ecology, soil science and pest management.

The application process typically takes four to six weeks to complete and includes submitting transcripts, references and other supporting documents. Once accepted into the program, applicants must pay an application fee and then take the exam within one year of acceptance. The cost for taking the exam is approximately $400 USD. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants will be awarded a CPS designation which is valid for five years.

6. American Board of Environmental Professionals (ABEP)

The American Board of Environmental Professionals (ABEP) is a professional certification program for environmental professionals. It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge, experience, and expertise in the field of environmental protection. The ABEP certification is awarded to those who demonstrate a mastery of the principles and practices of environmental protection through their work.

In order to become certified by the ABEP, applicants must meet certain educational requirements and pass an exam administered by the board. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree in an environmental-related field or equivalent experience in the field. Applicants must also have at least three years of professional experience in the environmental protection field, including two years as a supervisor or manager.

The ABEP exam consists of two parts: a written portion and an oral interview portion. The written portion covers topics such as air quality management, water resources management, hazardous waste management, and risk assessment. The oral interview portion covers topics such as communication skills and problem solving techniques.

It typically takes six months to one year to complete all requirements for ABEP certification. During this time, applicants must submit their application materials and take the exam within 12 months from when they first applied for certification.

The cost for taking the ABEP exam varies depending on your location but generally ranges from $500-$800 USD. This fee includes both the written and oral portions of the exam as well as any other related fees or costs associated with taking the test.

7. American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Certification Program

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Certification Program is a voluntary program that provides recognition for individuals who demonstrate knowledge and experience in the biological sciences. The program is designed to recognize the expertise of those working in the field, as well as to provide employers with an objective measure of a candidate’s qualifications.

The AIBS certification process typically takes between six and twelve months to complete. To get certified, applicants must first submit an application form, which includes a detailed description of their professional experience and education in the biological sciences. Once this information has been reviewed by AIBS staff, applicants are then invited to take a written exam that covers topics such as biology fundamentals, laboratory techniques, and data analysis. After passing the exam, applicants must also submit evidence of their professional experience in the field before they can receive their certification.

The cost of certification varies depending on the type of certification being sought. For example, AIBS offers certifications in general biology, biotechnology/molecular biology, ecology/environmental science, and microbiology/immunology. Each certification costs $250 USD plus any applicable taxes. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the written exam or submitting additional documentation for review.

Overall, obtaining AIBS certification is an excellent way for individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the biological sciences and stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs or promotions within their field.

8. Society for Conservation Biology Certification Program

The Society for Conservation Biology Certification Program (SCBCP) is a voluntary certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in the field of conservation biology. The SCBCP was created to provide a way for conservation professionals to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and their dedication to protecting natural resources.

The SCBCP is open to any individual who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree in an area related to conservation biology, such as ecology, wildlife management, or environmental science. In addition, applicants must have at least two years of professional experience in the field of conservation biology.

To obtain certification, applicants must pass an examination that covers topics such as habitat management, species protection, and sustainable development. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their certification from the Society for Conservation Biology.

The cost of taking the SCBCP exam varies depending on where you take it; however, the fee typically ranges from $150-$200 USD. In addition, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam if you choose to take it at a testing center rather than online.

Overall, obtaining certification through the Society for Conservation Biology Certification Program can help demonstrate your dedication and knowledge in this important field of study. It also provides recognition from peers within your profession and can potentially lead to increased job opportunities or promotions within your current position.

9. Entomological Society of America Certification Program

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) Certification Program is a voluntary program that recognizes entomologists who have demonstrated professional excellence in the field. It is designed to recognize the accomplishments of entomologists and to encourage them to continue their professional development.

To receive certification, an individual must meet certain criteria, including having a minimum of five years of experience in the field, completing at least 30 hours of continuing education courses, and passing a written examination. The examination consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as insect identification, ecology, pest management, and public health.

Once all requirements are met, the individual can apply for certification through ESA’s website. The application fee is $150 and includes a one-year membership to the society. Upon approval of the application, the individual will receive an official certificate from ESA recognizing their achievement.

The process typically takes six months or more depending on how quickly all requirements are met. Once certified, individuals must maintain their certification by participating in continuing education activities every three years.

10. Association of Zoos and Aquariums Professional Certifications

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Professional Certifications are a set of credentials that demonstrate an individual’s commitment to the highest standards in animal care and welfare. The certifications are available for both zookeepers and aquarists, as well as for other professionals working with animals.

To become certified, individuals must first complete a minimum of two years of full-time experience in their chosen field, or equivalent part-time experience over a longer period. They must also have completed at least 40 hours of continuing education related to their field within the last five years. Once these requirements have been met, applicants must pass an AZA certification exam to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

The cost of AZA certification varies depending on the type of credential being sought; however, it typically ranges from $100-$200 USD. Certification is valid for five years, after which time recertification is required. Recertification involves completing additional continuing education courses and passing a recertification exam every five years to maintain certification status.

Overall, AZA Professional Certifications provide recognition for individuals who demonstrate excellence in animal care and welfare through their knowledge and dedication to the profession.

Do You Really Need a Biologist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your career goals. If you are looking to pursue a career in the field of biology, then having a biologist certificate could be beneficial. With a biologist certificate, you can demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the subject and make yourself more marketable in the job market. Having an official certification from an accredited institution also shows potential employers that you are serious about pursuing a career in biology.

On the other hand, if you do not plan on pursuing a career in biology, then having a biologist certificate may not be necessary. There are other ways to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the subject such as completing college courses or taking online classes. Depending on your current qualifications, these may be sufficient for achieving your specific career goals.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not obtaining a biologist certificate is necessary for achieving your desired outcome. Consider what type of qualifications employers look for when hiring someone with experience in the field of biology and weigh that against any existing qualifications you have before making a decision.

Related: Biologist Resume Examples

FAQs About Biologist Certifications

1. What certifications are available for biologists?

A: Depending on the field of biology, there are a variety of certifications available. These include Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB), Certified Fisheries Professional (CFP), Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), and Certified Professional in Regulatory Affairs (CPRA).

2. How do I become certified as a biologist?

A: To become certified as a biologist, you must first obtain an academic degree in the relevant field of biology and then complete any additional certification requirements, such as coursework or exams, set by the professional organization offering the certification.

3. What is the cost of getting certified?

A: The cost of certification varies depending on the type of certification and organization offering it. Generally, most certifications require payment for an application fee, exam fee, and annual renewal fees.

4. Are there any continuing education requirements for biologists?

A: Yes, most professional organizations that offer certifications require ongoing continuing education to maintain their credentials. This typically includes completing approved courses or attending conferences related to the field of biology.

5. Do I need to be certified to work as a biologist?

A: While certification isn't always required to work as a biologist, it can be beneficial since it demonstrates expertise in your field and may help open up career opportunities or increase job prospects.