Careers for biology majors range from jobs in biotechnology and healthcare to forensics, conservation, education, and more. If you are intrigued by the science of living things and have decided to major in biology, you will find several exciting careers and opportunities after you graduate. Some jobs may be field-based, while others may be focused on research and lab work.
The choice of careers for biology majors are endless. The best part is that there’s something for everyone, whether you like working alone or as part of a team, indoors or outdoors, with people, plants, animals, or the environment.
We’ve put together a list of 10 potential careers that you could pursue with a biology major. We’ve also included the average estimated annual salary for each career on the list. Salaries are constantly changing depending on a number of factors but the estimates give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Some of these jobs may require you to complete additional specialty programs. But, all these careers start with having a foundation in biology.
Take a look at some of the potential careers that you could pursue with a biology major. Some of these jobs may require you to complete additional specialty programs. But, all these careers start with having a foundation in biology.
Microbiologists spend most of their time at work peering into microscopes and other advanced scientific equipment studying microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and microscopic parasites.
Their main objective is to understand the positive and negative effects of these microbes on our health, the environment, agriculture, and climate. Others then use studies to solve a range of issues that affect our health, most importantly diagnosing and controlling infections and disease. A microbiologist’s work is critical to the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Average salary: $75,392
Salary Range: $43,500 to $133,280
2. Biological Technician
Biological technicians specialize in performing data analysis through lab tests and experiments. These specialists are usually employed by pharmaceutical firms, the R&D sector of manufacturing companies and non-profit research organizations. Advanced education is also necessary to take up a college teaching position.
Biological technicians usually work as a part of a team of technicians who then report back to the biologist leading that particular study. This job requires a high level of precision and careful attention to detail as there is no room for error in these studies.
Average salary: $45,036
Salary Range: $39,890 to $51,193
3. Genetic Counselor
Genetic counselors are experts in the behavior of genes in living organisms. They use this knowledge to evaluate the genetic composition of individuals. They then educate others on the potential risks of transmitting genetic diseases or disabilities to their children.
Genetic counselors must have a thorough knowledge of genomics, speciation, bacteriology, and human evolution. They must also know how to use advanced information systems and research methodologies to gather, measure and assess genetic data.
Average salary: $80,150
Salary Range: $49,100 to $121,070
4. Research Scientist
Becoming a research scientist is an excellent choice for someone who has an inquisitive mind and enjoys planning and conducting all kinds of experiments.
Clinical research scientists usually work in hospitals, commercial or government laboratories, and higher education institutions. They are responsible for conducting experiments and analyzing the results of these experiments. Others may use these studies to develop new products, processes or applications, or enhance scientific understanding in general.
Average salary: $109,250
Salary Range: $91,693 to $130,575
5. Forensic Scientists
Forensic scientists specialize in analyzing evidence for DNA, organic matter and other biological clues. Thus, they play a pivotal role in criminal investigations. Forensic scientists can choose from two main branches of this specialty—crime scene investigation and data analysis. Both divisions require a strong background in laboratory work and report writing.
Average salary: $61,930
Salary Range: $37,670 to $103,403
6. Health Communications Specialist
Health communications specialists educate others about various health issues, especially public health concerns such as healthy living, health management, and communicable diseases. Strong writing and interpersonal skills are essential requirements in this role.
Various healthcare facilities and healthcare companies employ these health communications specialists. Their main tasks involve coordinating community involvement and spearheading marketing strategies and public relations campaigns. Having a biology major sets a strong foundation and provides a competitive edge over applicants without this background.
This is one of the few jobs that biology majors can get started on with only a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree can help with career advancement opportunities but it’s not essential for getting a foot into the door.
Average salary: $63,335
Salary Range: $50,000 to $84,000
7. Healthcare Professionals
If you are interested in a career in healthcare, a major in biology is an excellent starting point. No matter which healthcare field you choose to pursue, after you graduate, you will also have to enroll in a specialty program to gain the knowledge and expertise to work in that particular area.
The duration of specialty healthcare programs differs widely, depending on the field you want to work in. Some specialties require just a few months of learning. Others may require more extensive study, which could take a few years. Whether you want to be a dietician, nutritionist, radiologist, pharmacist, doctor or dentist, it all starts with a biology major.
Average salary: WIDE RANGE
Salary Range: Depends on field and education level (i.e.. Nurse vs. Doctor vs. Radiologist).
8. Environmental Scientist
There is a huge demand for environmental scientists today and that demand is growing every day. If you are passionate about environmental conservation, this may be just the role for you. Not only will you be doing something you love, but you will get paid highly for it too.
As an environmental scientist, you will spend most of your time gathering data and conducting experiments. You’ll study how certain negative factors such as pollution, natural disasters, and overpopulation impact natural resources and living organisms, including plants, animals and the environment. Environmental scientists are often consulted before developing laws and regulations for the protection of natural resources. Senior positions often require a doctorate.
Average salary: $76,530
9. Biology Teacher or Professor
Choosing a career in teaching is a great way to pass your knowledge of biology on to future biology students. To teach biology at the high school level you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in science education, as well as a state teaching license. As a high school biology teacher, you teach students below 18 years of age. If you are interested in teaching biology at the college level, you will need to earn a doctorate to qualify. As a biology professor, you teach students aged 18 and above.
Whether you are working as a high school biology teacher or a college professor, you must be familiar with the full suite of teaching methods. That includes lectures, tutorials, e-learning, seminars, fieldwork, practical demonstrations, and assorted multi-media technologies.
Salary Range – Teacher: $48,706 and $79,064
Salary Range – Teacher: $48,706 and $79,064
10. Specialist Writer
If you have strong writing skills you will find numerous opportunities as a technical writer or an environmental journalist. Manufacturing companies often hire technical writers for developing product manuals and instructional guides in layman’s language that their end-users find easy to read. Multi-lingual technical writers are also in demand to translate these manuals and guides into different languages.
Writers with a biology background are also in great demand by companies that manufacture medical equipment, pharmaceutical companies, and organizations that committed to environmental issues. As environmental concerns get more serious by the day, this career path has tremendous potential.
Average salary: $72,250
That’s just ten of many potential careers that you can explore with a background in biology. The curriculum for biology programs in college is quite diverse to prepare students for a wide range of roles after graduation.
*Salary estimates are based on information from https://www.payscale.com/salary-calculator and https://www.bls.gov/. Numbers represented are estimates and dependent on level of education, experience, expertise, and location of employment.
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