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Venom Researcher Career Profile

Do you want to work as a venom researcher?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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UPDATED:

11 May 2024

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What is a venom researcher?

A venom researcher is a scientist who studies the properties, effects, and potential applications of venoms produced by various animals, such as snakes, spiders, scorpions, and certain marine creatures. These researchers work in various fields, including biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and medicine.

Snake 1

Alternative Names

Venom researchers can be known by several alternative names, depending on their specific focus and the context of their work. Here are some of the most common alternative names:

Toxinologist:

This term is often used to describe scientists who specialise in the study of toxins, including those found in venoms.

NB!

The person who mainly extracts or milks the venom and poison is called a venom milker and is discussed in a separate career.

Career Categories

The Venom Researcher career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Animal Health
  • Scientists

Antivenom History?

First antivenom was produced by Albert Calmette in 1895 against cobra bites

Animals used?

Venom and poison can be harvested from animals such as bees, snakes, spiders and even the blue-ringed octopus

What does a Venom Researcher do?

Groups of animals a Venom Researcher works with

Mammals List Icon OZT
Mammals
Fish List Icon OZT
Fish
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Reptiles
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Amphibians
Insects List Icon OZT
Insects
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Arachnids
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Mollusks
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Myriapods
Cnidaria Icon 2
Cnidaria

A venom researcher works with a wide variety of venomous animals across different groups. These animals produce venom as a means of predation or defence. Here are the main types of animals that venom researchers commonly study:

Reptiles

  • Snakes: Many species of snakes produce venom, including cobras, vipers, rattlesnakes, and mambas.
  • Lizards: Some lizards, like the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard, produce venom.

Arachnids

  • Spiders: Various spider species produce venom, such as black widows, brown recluses, and funnel-web spiders.
  • Scorpions: All scorpions are venomous, with some, like the Arizona bark scorpion, being particularly dangerous to humans.

Insects

  • Bees: Honeybees and other bees have venomous stings.
  • Wasps and Hornets: Many wasps and hornets, including yellow jackets, have venomous stings.
  • Ants: Certain ants, like fire ants and bullet ants, possess venomous stings.

Marine Animals

  • Jellyfish: Various species, such as box jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ war, have venomous stings.
  • Cone Snails: These marine snails produce potent venom used to capture prey.
  • Octopuses: Some octopuses, notably the blue-ringed octopus, produce venom.
  • Fish: Venomous fish include stonefish, lionfish, and certain rays.

Amphibians

  • Frogs and Toads: Some frogs, like the poison dart frog, produce toxic secretions, though these are typically considered poisons rather than venoms. However, some researchers might study them due to the overlap in the mechanisms of toxicity.

Mammals

  • Platypus: Male platypuses have venomous spurs on their hind legs.
  • Shrews: Some species of shrews produce venom in their saliva.

Other

  • Centipedes: Many centipedes have venomous bites.
  • Snails: Certain land snails produce toxic mucus, though not typically classified strictly as venomous, they may still be of interest to venom researchers.

Venom researchers study these animals to understand the biochemical composition of their venoms, the mechanisms of action, and potential applications in medicine and pharmacology. They may also work on developing antivenoms and studying the ecological roles of venomous species.

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With who does a Venom Researcher work?

Besides working with all of the animals, Venom Researchers will need to interact with other people while doing their daily tasks. The people might include fellow staff members or the public.

Fellow staff might include:

  • Supervisors/Managers
  • Operational staff, such as Human Resources, Finance and Maintenance
  • Research Scientists
  • Lab Technicians

What does a Venom Researcher focus on?

The primary focus of venom researchers is to use extracted venom or poison to see whether it can be used in producing new medicines or even materials for pest control.

What are the daily tasks of a Venom Researcher?

  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Research specific venom or poison
  • Document research findings
  • Inject venom into animals to produce antibodies
  • Produce antivenom
  • Freezing venom and antivenom
  • Administration and filing

Working conditions of a Venom Researcher?

Where does a Venom Researcher work?

Environment –

Venom researchers work mostly indoors in specialized laboratories.

Places of Employment –

They may be employed by government, medical research institutions, academia or antivenom producing companies.

What is the average annual salary of a Venom Researcher?

On average the income per year is around $70,000. This will differ from country to country.

Can a Venom Researcher be promoted?

Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. First-year researchers often begin on a part-time basis, fitting their training commitments around other work demands.

The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following:

Intern -> Junior Researcher -> Senior Researcher -> Manager

What kind of difficulties can a Venom Researcher face?

The most difficult part of this career is the exceptionally long hours and stress of finding and producing new antivenom.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The industry is difficult to penetrate, but there is a very high level of growth in the private sector to supply the large demand in especially snake antivenom.

Availability of Jobs

Average

Which Skills are required by a Venom Researcher?

The skills required for a career as a venom researcher can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Excellent research skills
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Venom Researcher?

Minimum Requirements

The minimum educational requirement to become a venom researcher is a Bachelor’s Degree in a scientific field. Most researchers do progress on to a Master’s or even Doctoral Degree.

Study Focus

Major –

Most researchers focus on studies towards chemical analysis, biology, molecular bioscience, virology, toxicology.

Short Courses –

Courses in learning more about the toxicity of individual animal species and the application of their venom or poison for medicinal use.

Study Duration

The duration of a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Master’s and Doctoral Degrees can add an additional 2 to 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Path Plan

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Pursuing a career as a venom researcher involves a combination of education, hands-on experience, networking, and continuous learning. Here is a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in this field:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions

Participate in career guidance sessions at school to understand the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities in venom research. Seek advice from career counsellors about the educational requirements and potential career paths in the field.

2. Research All Possible Careers

Investigate various roles related to venom research, such as toxinologist, herpetologist, arachnologist, marine biologist, and pharmacologist. Explore different sectors where venom researchers work, including academia, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, and public health agencies.

3. Explore Educational Paths

Look into undergraduate and graduate programmes in biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, zoology, and related fields.
Research universities and institutions known for strong programmes in these areas and their research facilities.

4. Align High School Subjects with the Educational Path

Focus on science subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Take advanced placement (AP) or honours courses in these subjects if available. Participate in science fairs, biology clubs, or related extracurricular activities to enhance understanding and interest in the field.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent

Complete high school with a strong academic record, especially in science subjects.

6. Learn About Animals That You Will Work With

Study books, documentaries, and online resources about venomous animals. Visit zoos, aquariums, and museums to learn more about these animals and their habitats.

7. Align Post-School Path with Career Goals

Decide whether to enter the workforce directly, pursue further studies, or potentially start a business related to venom research. Consider the benefits of higher education in opening up advanced research opportunities and career growth.

8. Gain Experience Through Volunteering, Internship, Mentorship

Volunteer at local zoos, wildlife centres, or aquariums to gain hands-on experience with animals. Seek internships or mentorship opportunities with researchers, universities, or laboratories specialising in venom research.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities

Join science clubs, participate in science competitions, and engage in activities that foster a deeper understanding of biology and chemistry. Get involved in community service projects related to wildlife conservation and education.

10. Join Professional Associations

Become a member of professional organisations such as the Society of Toxicology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, or Herpetologists’ League.
Attend meetings, conferences, and workshops to learn about the latest research and network with professionals.

11. Gain Specialised Skills

Learn laboratory techniques, data analysis, and safety protocols related to handling venomous animals and toxic substances. Develop proficiency in scientific research methods and equipment.

12. Network with Professionals

Connect with professionals in the field through social media platforms like LinkedIn, academic conferences, and networking events. Seek informational interviews with researchers and industry experts to gain insights and advice.

13. Enter the Job Market, Finish Tertiary Studies, or Launch a Business

Apply for entry-level positions in research labs, universities, or companies focused on venom research after completing relevant degrees. Consider pursuing further education (Master’s or Ph.D.) for advanced research roles. If entrepreneurial, explore opportunities to start a business related to venom research, such as a biotechnology firm.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education

Continuously update your knowledge and skills through workshops, courses, and professional development opportunities. Stay informed about the latest scientific discoveries and technological advancements in venom research.

By following this comprehensive career preparation path, a high school student can effectively pave the way towards a successful career as a venom researcher.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a scientist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the university as well as the place of employment, after you have successfully applied for a new job.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior scientist.

Join the Venom Researchers Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining the OZT Community

Professional Associations

  • None listed yet

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards biology and molecular science.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:

CAREER PATH PLAN

Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

SHORT COURSES

Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

STUDY GUIDE

Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

Join the OZT community and career chat Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a venom researcher.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Venom Researcher, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

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