An entomologist is a zoologist who focuses specifically on the study of insects. Given that the insect world is vast and incredibly diverse, most people in this field focus on a specific order or family of insects. Careers in entomology are incredibly varied, ranging from forensic entomology to agricultural entomology. Numerous colleges and universities around the world offer training in entomology to people who are interested in this field of study.
Entomology is a very old science. Humans have had an interest in the insect world for centuries, thanks to agricultural pests and home invaders of the insect variety. Early entomologists probably learned to identify potential crop pests and to treat infestations of unwanted insects, and entomology was even involved in forensics at a fairly early state in human history. Many prominent scientists including Charles Darwin and E.O. Wilson also studied insects.
There are a number of branches within entomology. Entomologists may look at insect behavior, morphology, nutrition, and ecology. They can also study the ways in which insects interact with other animals and agricultural sites; such a person might look at insect vectors of disease in humans, for example, or the impact of locusts on crops in the Middle East. Entomologists are also active in fields like paleontology, learning about the evolution of insects, and in forensics, using insects as tools to learn more about victims of crimes.
The study of entomology can provide interesting clues into the history of life on Earth, and it can also be used to make projections about the future. Entomologists can participate in a wide range of projects, ranging from genetically engineering insects which attack crop pests to looking at the role that insects play in the life cycles of many plants.
An entomologist who focuses on butterflies is known as lepidopterist, while one who studies bees is called an apiologist. A coleopterist studies beetles, while myrmecologists look at ants. There are several other broad fields like these within the study of entomology, and a person may choose to focus on a specific subset of a field, like honeybees or dung beetles.
If you are interested in a career as an entomologist, you should start by getting a strong grounding in the sciences. If there is a particular subfield of entomology which interests you, try to get training in this field. Some accept interns, for example, while schools which offer entomology tend to have several programs with specific focuses available. Typically, entomologists attend both undergraduate and graduate institutions, and many of them pursue post-doctoral work as well. This field is incredibly vast and interesting, and you are unlikely to be bored as an entomologist.