To pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, or not to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology: that is the question.
As you consider the possibilities a biology degree can offer, perhaps you already know exactly what you plan to do with it. If so, consider yourself lucky. However if you are like the masses, with an affinity for science but unsure exactly what to do with a biology degree, your question is probably “What can I do with a biology education?” to which we say, “Lots!”
After graduating with a BS in biology, your career possibilities are plentiful. Although most students gravitate to employment opportunities in the broad categories of research, health, education, and field positions, there are numerous diverse, dynamic subcategories within these areas. Some of your career options require only a bachelor’s degree, while others necessitate further education at the graduate level, often with specialized training. Let’s look at some of your exciting options.
Careers in research
You’ll find biology graduates enjoying stimulating careers as research biologists across a broad range of fields and industries: health and disease, microbiology, neurology, pharmacology, and genomics. Researchers are found in medical facilities and hospitals, nonprofit research institutes, universities and other higher education institutions, government agencies, and within business and industry.
Your bachelor’s degree qualifies you to work as a biological technician where you can use the laboratory skills and techniques you've learned to systematically carry out studies, generate valid and reliable results, and document your findings. The mean annual salary for biological technicians was $41,650 in May 2015.
A career in biotechnology would find you using biological processes, organisms, or systems to develop or make products intended to improve the quality of human life. In medical sectors, you might be involved with genetic engineering or drug development. You could also find a career in the agricultural field. Here, you might genetically modify or produce plants to be used as biofuels.
Your undergraduate biology major gives you the perfect springboard for a doctoral or professional degree needed to become a biochemist or biophysicist. The laboratory and scientific research skills you learn, coupled with your sharpened presentation and writing skills, prepare you to understand and communicate the impact of drugs and biotechnology solutions on the human body. Employment in these vital areas is projected to grow 8 percent by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals are increasingly in demand, and the mean annual salary is $93,390.
If you’d like to combine your love of science with your passion for criminal justice, the BLS estimates that employment for forensic science technicians is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. This dynamic work involves testing and processing evidence gathered in criminal investigations, and you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in biology for this career, coupled with on-the-job training. While competition for jobs will be stiff, the mean annual salary for forensic science technicians was $56,320 in 2015.
If studying animals in their natural habitats calls to you, your bachelor’s degree can qualify you for many entry-level zoologist or wildlife biologist positions. You’ll find these professionals working in offices, laboratories, or outdoors, studying animals and other wildlife and gathering data to assess how they interact with their physical environment. Part of this role involves determining the effects humans have on wildlife and natural ecosystems. The mean annual salary is $59,680 per year.
An environmental biologist works to help protect natural resources and plant and animal wildlife, solving environmental problems. You might develop and oversee recovery programs for endangered species and help educate the general public. Careers with a biology degree that fall under this category include:
- Marine and/or aquatic biologist
- Zoo biologist
- Conservation biologist
- Environmental manager
Industries that hire environmental biologists include governments, the public sector, charities, nonprofit organizations, and ecological agencies.
Other popular careers for graduates with a biology degree are:
Health Care - A large sector that offers a wide range of careers for those with a biology degree. Although you need more than an undergraduate degree to be a highly compensated physician or nurse practitioner, biologists are very much in demand in this industry. Hospitals and other medical facilities employ biologists, as do humanitarian organizations such as the Peace Corps that bring advanced health care to developing and war-torn regions.
Education – This offers many opportunities when you combine your biology degree with a teaching qualification. You might teach primary or secondary school children in a classroom, or educate adults in a lecture hall or museum setting. This allows you to share your passion for biology with others.
Pharmaceuticals - The multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry employs large numbers of biologists to work in research and development. New products require testing before they are brought to the marketplace, and biologists often perform this critical function allowing you to make a real impact on society.
If you’re interested in a biology-related career, find out how University of the Cumberlands can help you earn a respected biology degree. Go beyond the classroom with specialized research, at home and abroad, and enjoy exciting opportunities through our Biology Honor Society. Find out more today by visiting our website or contacting our admissions group at 877-713-8767.