Jobs with a Master's in Biology
Explore the possible careers you could pursue after earning your master's degree in the field of biology, including jobs that are related to research, the environment, and teaching.
Master's in Biology Career Outlook
Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist
Zoologists and wildlife biologists generally conduct scientific research, experiments, and studies that relate to a specific type of animal, such as mammals, reptiles, marine mammals, or birds, or that relate to a particular area, such as animal behavior or animal anatomy. While a zoologist often concentrates on a particular animal, a wildlife biologist often concentrates on animal populations or ecosystems, yet each job usually requires a master's degree in biology, zoology, or wildlife biology, if you are to conduct high-level research. As a zoologist or wildlife biologist, you might:
- Design experiments, collect data, and analyze results
- Write reports, research studies, or scholarly journal articles
- Work on managing, studying, and monitoring animal populations
- Study the human influence on wildlife and/or ecosystems
A biochemist, otherwise known as a cellular biologist or molecular biologist, is someone who studies the biological processes of living things, focusing on areas like cells, genetics, disease, and cellular evolution. As a biochemist, you could work in a wide range of industries, including the medical industry, where you might develop medications, or in the agriculture industry, where you might engineer crops on the genetic level. A master's degree in biology or biochemistry can help you pursue an entry-level position as a biochemist or can prepare you to go on to earn a PhD so that more career opportunities in research are open for you.
As a microbiologist, you will focus on researching and studying microorganisms, which are things like fungi, viruses, bacteria, and even parasites. Specific job duties you might have in this role include:
- Conducting research by designing experiments and using lab equipment, such as microscopes
- Maintaining and classifying microorganism specimens, such as bacteria
- Writing reports and/or research papers based on your research
Although a bachelor's degree is the entry-level educational requirement and a PhD is required to conduct independent research in the public or private sector, a master's degree in microbiology can prepare you for a career as a lab manager or a research manager.
Agricultural and Food Scientist
The field of agricultural or food science includes a range of specialization areas, such as:
- Animal science, where you study domestic farm animals
- Plant science, where you study crops
- Food science, where you study nutritional aspects of food
- Soil science, where you study the soil that crops grow in
What all of these areas have in common is that they focus on completing research that aids in solving issues related to food production. Most jobs of this type prefer that you have an advanced degree, and there are several educational pathways for becoming an agricultural or food scientist, including earning a master's degree in biology that has a concentration in food science, earning a PhD, or earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).
Environmental scientists focus on solving issues that affect the environment, such as climate change, water and soil contamination, pollution, and public health risks. As an environmental scientist, you could conduct research out in nature, collecting samples and data, and offer guidance to private, public, and governmental agencies or businesses on how to reduce negative impacts on the environment. To become an environmental scientist, you need at least a bachelor's degree in biology, environmental science, or a related field; however, a master's degree of the same type may help you advance your career.
A conversation scientist acts as a steward of the environment; they might offer recommendations to ranchers, local and federal governments, farmers, and others on how to balance environmental concerns with agricultural and human activity or development. In this type of position, you could:
- Create plans for managing forestry and other environmental activities
- Design and enact conversation plans
- Conduct research and gather data about the environment
- Work to protect habitats and/or wildlife
Conversation scientists generally need a bachelor's and master's degree in ecosystem management, environmental science, or a related field; however, there are also master's level programs that have a focus on or offer a concentration in conservation biology, which may help you pursue this type of career.
High School Biology Teacher
As a high school biology teacher, you would teach biology to 9th- through 12th-grade students, which would include holding classes, giving assignments, grading exams, and preparing students for standardized tests. You typically have duties outside of the classroom, as well, such as disciplining students and interacting with parents and administrators. Although the exact requirements for becoming a high school teacher vary by state, you'll typically need a bachelor's in your subject area, such as biology, you'll need to complete a teacher preparation program, and you must earn a master's degree after you become certified and are hired.
With a master's degree in biology, you might be able to pursue a career as a professor at the community college level; however, 4-year universities usually require a doctoral degree. As a community college professor, your job duties might include:
- Teaching your assigned courses
- Grading assignments and exams
- Mentoring and advising students
- Designing curricula
- Conducting your own research
|Job Title||Median Annual Salary (2019)||Estimated Job Growth (2019-2029)|
|Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists||$63,270||4%|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$94,490||4%|
|Agricultural and Food Scientists||$65,160||6%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$71,360||8%|
|Conservation Scientists and Foresters||$62,410||5%|
|High School Teachers||$61,660||4%|
|Postsecondary Teachers, biological sciences||$83,300||9%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics