Careers with a Biology Major
Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in with biology major. Read on to learn more about career options along with potential earnings and career outlook information.
What Can I Do With A Biology Degree?
With an undergraduate degree in biology, you can find several entry-level positions in the fields of zoology, microbiology and biochemistry, among other areas. Although advanced academic work in these fields often requires a graduate degree, you may find work in research laboratories with just a bachelor's degree.
The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering these fields.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree minimum, doctoral degree desired|
|Education Field of Study||Zoology, biology, chemistry||Microbiology, virology, chemistry||Biology, chemistry, physics|
|Key Responsibilities||Observe and record animal behavior in the wild||Study characteristics of micro-organisms||Conduct applied research on complex projects|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||5% growth (for zoologists and wildlife biologists)*||5% growth*||6% growth (for biochemists and biophysicists)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$63,420 (for zoologists and wildlife biologists)*||$71,650*||$93,280 (for biochemists and biophysicists)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Biology Programs are Available?
Undergraduate degree programs in biology are offered through many colleges. These programs prepare you for furthering your education at a professional level or for immediate work in a biology-related career. If you study biology, you will learn about the development of immunology, molecular biology, genetics and evolution.
Some of the subjects you may study in an undergraduate degree are molecular biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, anatomy, genetics and evolution. Some colleges offer degrees that specialize in marine biology, the study of animals and marine life. In these programs you may study zoology, larval ecology, oceanography and marine ecology.
What Careers Can I Consider?
A bachelor's degree in biology is a foundation for careers in medicine or the biosciences. The most common jobs available for those with a bachelor's in biology are in the fields of microbiology, zoology and biochemistry. Common zoology careers include wildlife biology and conservation science. You may also find employment in a microbiology lab, or as a biology technician, both of which require at least a bachelor's degree in biology. This degree is also perfect for pre-med study given the nature of the courses. Some other professions you can consider looking into are teaching, research, pharmacology, genetic counseling, marine biology, agriculture and biosciences.
What Salary Can I Make?
Your salary will depend on what branch of biology you decide to specialize in. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the median salary for a zoologist was $63,420. Biochemists, along with biophysicists, made $93,280 as a median, and microbiologists earned a median of $71,650. All other types of biological scientists made $79,590 as a median in 2018 (www.bls.gov).
What is the Career Outlook for Jobs in the Biosciences?
According to the BLS, employment for zoologists will grow by 5%, job openings for microbiologists will increase by 5%, and growth of biochemist jobs will be 6% between 2018 and 2028. This employment growth will be driven by increased research in these fields and advances in technology. Pharmaceuticals and gene research are expected to be at the forefront of this growth. Another field that you may want to consider is environmental biology. Increased public and government interest in environmental conservation and alternative energy sources will mean a significant rise in spending on research and development in these areas.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Agricultural and food scientists are researchers who examine ways to make food products safer for consumers and agricultural establishments. They work in a variety of setting that may include laboratories, universities, and manufacturing firms. Agricultural and food scientist should hold at least a bachelor's degree to enter the field.
Biological technicians work with medical and biological scientists in laboratories, They help conduct research, analyze experimental data, and write reports that explain scientific findings. A bachelor's degree is required to work in this area.
Natural sciences managers oversee the work of biologists, chemists, and other scientists. They play an integral role in research and development projects that may include testing, quality control, and production. Natural sciences managers may split their work time between laboratory and office environments.