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Biology is the study of life, and students learn how body systems work, grow, and interact with each other in order for organisms to function and reproduce. Specializations focus on different types of life: human biology (including genetics), zoology, cellular and molecular biology, and botany. Biology students learn about the atoms that make up living things, the bodies they are made of, and the ecosystems of creatures living together in groups.
Jobs Available With Biology Degree
We used data from the US Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the highest-paying, fastest-growing and most popular occupations among biology graduates. Learn more about the data and how we used this resource here.
Top 10 Jobs For Biology Degree Majors 2019
A B.S. in biology can open doors to many well-paying careers. Surgeons and other doctors are at the top, followed by dentists: if you’re willing and able to get the higher education required, you can join professions with average salaries well over $150,000 a year. Pharmacists are also well paid, but require advanced education and licensing. Health and health services executives earn an average salary of $100,000 and often only have a B.S. entry level, although a master’s degree can help you qualify for higher paying positions.
Many biology-related job categories are projected to grow very rapidly over the next 10 years. Nurse Practitioners (NPs) lead the way, with a staggering 51% growth rate through 2029. Third in line are physician assistants, whose 31.3% increase is less than NPs, but still well ahead of the U.S. average. Respiratory therapists and medical assistants are also enjoying healthy job growth. These numbers tell a story about a category conspicuously absent from the list: doctors. The shortage of doctors coming to the United States has led to a consistent increase in jobs that fill the same functions—for example, NPs have evolved into primary care providers who can prescribe medications.
Biology is a versatile field of study, and graduates are prepared to enter many fields. Two notable career lines (based on salary and expected job growth) are healthcare and education. A bachelor’s degree in biology is the first step to the highest-paying jobs in health care: doctors, dentists, and pharmacists need several years to begin practical training. Some of the fastest-growing jobs require only an associate’s or college degree to enter, including health care professional and clinical laboratory technician. In the field of education, biology graduates can become teachers in elementary or secondary schools, although additional education and certification will be required. Some students pursue PhDs in biology, where they can become professors and conduct significant research.
Healthcare professionals at all levels of care need an accurate patient history and accurate test results to properly diagnose and treat an illness or injury. They should also turn to reliable sources when faced with unfamiliar situations or symptom clusters. Students develop these habits at college by studying the existing literature, taking careful measurements and following detailed steps using the scientific method.
Types Of Jobs A Bachelor’s Degree In Science Offers
This is another important skill developed in biology that emphasizes identifying a problem, proposing a solution, and taking discrete steps to achieve a goal.
Professionals in all health care fields use far more technical tools than in previous generations, including complex diagnostic instruments and computers with specialized software. Teachers also use the latest educational technology to help their students learn and master technical skills on their own.
This skill is not necessarily developed by studying biology, but it is important for most careers in health and education. Diagnostic technicians need to give clear instructions to patients, doctors and dentists need to speak at the level of non-expert patients (who often struggle), and teachers need to create complex, understandable and engaging concepts.
Some jobs popular among biology majors only require a bachelor’s degree. The largest category is clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, who use sophisticated equipment to analyze biological samples in a variety of laboratory settings, including hospitals, private clinics and doctors’ offices, as well as colleges and universities. The median wage for these professionals is about $53,000 a year, and projected job growth of 7.3% is about twice the average for all American occupations. Not all university laboratories are involved in biological research, but biology provides the best foundation for laboratory technicians who want to work in healthcare.
Top Biology Degree Jobs
A bachelor’s degree in biology can lead to many career opportunities, but the most lucrative entry-level positions are usually found in the laboratory. Here are three options for those with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Clinical laboratory technologists, also known as medical laboratory scientists, are an essential component of the healthcare industry. They work in laboratories, use sophisticated scientific equipment, analyze blood, urine, and tissue samples, looking for abnormalities that can help doctors understand a patient’s health. In larger laboratory facilities, clinical laboratory technologists may specialize in broader research into specific conditions such as cancer or autoimmune diseases.
Environmental scientists work in laboratories or outdoors, collecting samples and analyzing data about certain aspects of the environment, such as air pollution, water pollution, or soil erosion. Some are employed by government agencies and help identify problems and solutions that become policies or laws. Others work with businesses and organizations, helping to ensure that organizations comply with laws and minimize their impact on the environment.
Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some parasites, are around us and inside us. Microbiologists use sophisticated instruments and computers to examine these microorganisms and collect data about them. The work of microbiologists is vital in many areas of our daily lives, from finding treatments for infectious diseases to improving the food supply to solving problems in the global environment.
Career Prospects And Development
A B.S. creates a foundation for many career paths in biology. Those with the appropriate driving license can cross