As a taxonomist you classify organisms into groups on the basis of their biological structure, origin and behaviour. You work with plants, animals and micro-ogranisms. 

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What the job looks like
Salary expectation
starts at $50,000 up to $80,000+
The good
  • Drawing intricate details with scientific accuracy
  • Providing information for a species that was previously unknown
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Lots of variety in the job
  • Combining science and nature
The not so good
  • Not a big job demand for taxonomists
  • Requires a lot of patience

As a taxonomist, it is your job to name known and unknown species and provide the information, including a drawing, for scientific record. You will collect specimens out in the field and compare any information that exists with your own research findings.

Math skills will help to draw to scale and English will be useful to write effective reports and read/understand related material. The role is very heavily based around science and focuses on the biological nature of different species.

After drawing the specimen you will have to write a detailed description of it and also find related publications to create an easily accessible resource tool.

Taxonomy is really important to identify invasive species against native species, establish what organisms benefit different ecosystems and determine what types of plants should be protected. This information can be used by governments, environmental groups and organisations to preserve or protect various species of plants and animals.

If you are patient, like drawing and biology, then a career as a taxonomist could be for you.

Taxonomy is crucial to any life sciences and I get to see interesting animals everyday, I love it.


Pathways to this career

Subject suggestions for the HSC

Choosing your HSC subjects from this list could really help with your career. Think carefully about what you want to study after school as you might need to choose specific HSC subjects for that course and to count towards your ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). An ATAR is your academic rank in relation to other HSC students and helps with University admission.

HSC subjects 

Some subjects will count towards your ATAR, others will not. Check with your career advisor before making subject selections.

What can I do after I have finished school?

University degrees 

Studying one of these degrees can help with your career.


Check out the Australian Museum for more information

  • Talk to museums about finding work and volunteer
  • Look for summer school programs at museums and places like botanical gardens
  • Focus on your area of interest such as plants, insects or sea life
  • Practice your drawing skills
  • Go to career expos and events like university Open Days for information about what you will study