What Jobs Are Biology Majors Qualified For?

Earning an undergraduate degree in biology, the science of living organisms, could prepare you for a number of careers. Keep reading to learn more about jobs available to someone with an undergraduate degree in this field. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Biology Major Defined

A bachelor's degree in biology is suitable for a variety of occupations, although management or research positions typically require additional education. As a biology major, you typically focus on living organisms and their roles in the environment. You gain scientific insight into the process of life and how, through research, these processes can be changed. Some of the courses you may take include biochemistry, cell biology, environmental biology and genetics. After completing a degree in this field, you may consider jobs such as a biological technician, science teacher, forester or medical laboratory technician.

Important Facts About Jobs for Biology Majors

Required Education Most careers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree
Key Skills Attention to detail, analytical, resourceful
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for foresters; 6% for high school teachers; 16% for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians
Work Environment Outdoors, laboratory, classroom, hospital

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Types of Jobs

Biological Technician

In this role, you work alongside biologists or medical scientists as they study living organisms and their environments. Your duties typically include many of the hands-on tasks involved in the research process, such as setting up equipment, monitoring experiments and tracking the results. This research can be performed for the sake of scientific knowledge or it can be applied toward product development. Biological technician jobs are found within many different industries, including the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields.

Forester

If you're interested in working in forests and similar environments, then a career as a forester might interest you. As a forester, you help protect forests and make sure they're available for environmental, conservational, economical and recreational purposes. Because many large forests are under government control, you may work for a government agency, or there may be opportunities for you to work as an independent contractor for landowners who need help with their forests.

A bachelor's degree in biology can prepare you for this career, although other degree programs in majors such as natural resource management, environmental science and forestry are also acceptable. If you plan to get involved in research, a Ph.D. is recommended.

Science Teacher

If you enjoy teaching, then becoming a science teacher might be for you. With a bachelor's degree in biology and the appropriate training to gain teaching certification, you can teach at the elementary or secondary school levels. As a teacher, you prepare course materials, educate students and administer tests, assignments and homework. You may also prepare laboratory work and oversee laboratory experiments.

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician and Technologist

In these occupations, you test body fluids and cells for chemical contents that could identify the presence of bacteria, drugs or other microorganisms. Most of this complex work is performed in small laboratories in medical offices, clinics or hospitals. You'll need to apply the proper skills and methodology in handling and conducting tests. Depending on the state, you may need a state license to work as a clinical laboratory technologist or medical laboratory technician.

Type of Wages

In May 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that biological technicians earned a mean annual salary of $44,610. That same report found that $60,070 was the mean salary for foresters.

If you're considering teaching, you might be surprised to learn that middle school teachers earned a mean annual salary of $57,620 in 2014, while their counterparts teaching in high schools reported an average salary of $59,330 according to the BLS.

Medical and clinical laboratory technicians reported a mean annual salary of $40,750 in 2014, while technologists in these same facilities earned $60,560, the BLS noted. This large a difference could be attributed to the fact that technicians typically hold associate's degrees, while technologists usually have a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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