What Are Some High-Paying Biology Professions?

If you're interested in the life sciences field, many biology professions offer high salaries. You might find a career working as a biological scientist, researcher, sales representative or physician in all sorts of specialties. Read on to learn more about some of the highest-paying biology professions. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

There are a number of biology jobs that offer lucrative salaries; however, many available positions require particular levels of education. An undergraduate degree can prepare you for a career in science and medicine sales, while an advanced degree can allow you to pursue independent scientific research or become a physician.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Technical/Scientific Products Sales Representative MicrobiologistSurgeon
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 10% 7% 18% (for all physicians and surgeons)
On-the-Job Training Training programs that lasts one year or less Temporary period of research after Ph.D. program Residency program (3-8 years)
Licensure/Certification Can obtain certification through the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) Clinical microbiologists can obtain voluntary certification Licensure is required in all states; voluntary specialty certification is available
Similar Occupations Insurance or advertising sales agent, sales engineer Biological technician, agricultural and food scientist Dentist, optometrist, podiatrist

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Sales Jobs

If you hold an undergraduate degree in biology, you might start a high-paying profession as a pharmaceutical or medical equipment sales representative. You may want to complete some coursework in marketing and sales, in addition to your science education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the mean annual income for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives of technical and scientific products was $86,750 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov).

According to May 2014 BLS salary data, wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers employed the highest number of these professionals and offered an average wage of $97,750. Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers had the second highest employment level and an average wage of $87,690. The highest-paying states for these sales representatives were Wyoming and New Jersey, which paid respective average wages of $120,430 and $108,930.

Careers in Research

With a graduate degree in biology, you may become a biological scientist or researcher. If you want to perform independent research, you generally must earn a doctoral degree. Biochemist and biophysicist jobs were expected to increase by 19% from 2012-2022, reported the BLS, which was much faster than average compared to other employment sectors.

According to the BLS, biochemists and biophysicists earned an average wage of $91,960 in May 2014. Most were employed in scientific research and development and made a mean annual salary of $95,930 as of May 2014. The next most popular industry for these professionals was pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, and biochemists and biophysicists in this field earned a mean income of $92,420 per year.

You also might pursue a high-paying job as a microbiologist. Microbiologists working for the executive branch of the federal government held the highest-paying jobs, with an average yearly salary of $102,980 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. The most common industries of employment were scientific research and development services and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, which offered respective average wages of $80,810 and $76,720.

Medical Professions

Medicine is another profitable biology-related profession. If you wish to become a physician or surgeon, you must earn an undergraduate degree, complete four years of medical school and attend a residency for a period spanning 3-8 years. You must then earn your medical license, which generally entails passage of a licensing exam.

Family and general practitioners earned a mean wage of $186,320 in May 2014, according to the BLS. Those who worked in medical and diagnostic laboratories brought in the highest wages, earning on average $230,050 per year. You might also pursue a career in anesthesiology, which offered a mean income of $246,320 in May 2014, based on BLS figures. Anesthesiologists working in physicians' offices earned an even higher average wage of $256,230. Surgeons earned an average salary of $240,440 in May 2014, with most of them working in physicians' offices and earning an average wage of $247,900.

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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