Your Best Career Options With A Biology Degree

A bachelor’s degree in biology is a perfect fit for students that interested in the study of living things. A biology degree is a great start for your career, but what’s next? Continuing to medical school is one option, but there are career choices available.

Check your college career services center or talk to your advisor. Find out what other biology majors have pursued after getting their degree. You might be surprised by the wide variety of options available to you.

Still not sure what career options are possible? Read this list of 10 career options for students with a biology degree.

Biological Technician

This is a great career option for biology students that enjoy labs and research. A biological technician works with a team to. They collaborate on academic research and conduct lab tests and experiments.

In labs, you may have compiled reports. As a biological technician you will conduct tests and compile reports. Accurate testing and precision during experiments is important.

Technician jobs can be rewarding for students looking to use their degree without going on to graduate school. Biological technician jobs are in pharmaceutical firms, research centers, schools, or government agencies. Sometimes biological technicians are referred to as Laboratory Assistants.

Salary

The median pay for a Biological technician is $44,500 per year ($21.39/hour). The highest 10% earned $71,440. The lowest 10% earned less than $29,330.

The highest paying industry: Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing ($49,620)

Biological technicians are expected to see an average growth of 7% in employment from 2018-2028.

Biochemist

Biology students that understand chemical and physical processes may enjoy this career. This career path does typically need a higher-level professional or doctoral degree,

Laboratory and research skills learned in biology courses will be useful in your role as biochemist. As a biochemist your understanding of anatomy and physiology will help you develop and test new products.

To gain funding, biochemists will need to have strong communication skills. Biochemists will often need to present proposals to potential funders and colleagues. This career is a good fit for students with good writing and speaking skills.

Salary

The median pay for a biochemist is $93,280 per year ($44.85/hour). The highest 10% earned $ 177,680. The lowest 10% earned less than $49,230.

The highest paying industry: Wholesale trade ($114,930)

Biological technicians are expected to see an average growth of 6% in employment from 2018-2028.

Genetic Counselor

For students looking to continue their education with a master’s degree in biology, a genetic counselor role may be a good fit. More and more people are expressing interest in their genetic makeup. Genetic counselors assess a client’s genes. They then communicate the findings to make decisions about their health. This may be more prevalent in people who are at risk for a genetic disease or disability. Some clients may be concerned about passing genetic disorders on to future children.

Genetic counselors will need to communicate complex scientific processes in simple language. Biology students will use evaluation skills and write reports.

Research is rapidly changing in the field of human genetics. Genetic counselors must adapt to changes. They must understand the field to best make suggestions to clients.

Salary

The median pay for a biochemist is $80,370 per year ($38.64/hour). The highest 10% earned $107,450. The lowest 10% earned less than $52,750.

The highest paying industry: medical and diagnostic laboratories ($87,210)

Genetic Counselors are expected to see an average growth of 27% in employment from 2018-2028.

Health Communications Specialist

This career path is a good fit for the biology student who excels at communication. In this role you will educate the public. Topics may include health issues, healthy lifestyle, communicable diseases, managing health, and more.

To best communicate, it is vital to have strong writing and presentation skills. Health communication specialists will often present topics to a large group. This may be part of a marketing campaign, public relations campaign, or ongoing community partnerships. It is important that you can explain complex health topics in simple language.

This is a great career for the biology student who wants to get started on a career immediately out of college. You may have an advantage over other candidates with your background in the sciences.

Salary

As reported by Payscale in March 2020, the median pay is $63,335. The highest 10% earned $84,000. The lowest 10% earned less than $50,00.

Health Educator

Health educators also teach the public about health and wellness. Health educators collect data and interpret research. This is used to develop programs and strategies to improve wellness. You may create, put in place, and analyze programs that educate the public on a variety of health issues.

The understanding of biology is helpful for a health educator. Some topics include safe sex, substance abuse, handling stress, cancer, and general wellness.

Strong communication skills are important as a health educator. It is important to have strong writing and presentation abilities.

Salary

The median pay for a biochemist is $46,080 per year ($22.15/hour). You may need a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. The highest 10% earned $98,530. The lowest 10% earned less than $32,030.

The highest paying industry: hospitals ($45,840)

Health educators are expected to see an average growth of 11% in employment from 2018-2028.

Pharmaceutical / Medical Product Sales Representative

Biology students with an understanding of human biology, chemistry, and anatomy may want to be a sales representative. In this role you will sell supplies and medical goods. This may be to businesses, hospitals, clinics, or other organizations.

A strong communication skill set is important as a sales representative. You must have an understanding of the technical aspects of the products you are selling. This will allow you to communicate the features and benefits. You will also need the scientific background to teach doctors how to explain the product to patients.

This is also a good career path for a biology student looking to get started working right after completing a degree. Strong customer service, sales, and interpersonal skills will help in this career.

Salary

The median pay for a pharmaceutical / medical product sales representative is $61,660 per year ($29.64/hour The highest 10% earned $156,630. The lowest 10% earned less than $39,960.

The highest paying industry: wholesale electronic markets ($66,580)

Health educators are expected to see an average growth of 2% in employment from 2018-2028.

Physician Assistant / Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a physician assistant or nurse practitioner is a good option for biology students. You must have the ability to remember a wide variety of scientific and medical terminology. You will partner with physicians, surgeons, and other health care workers.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are often the first professional patients see. They must be able to listen to patients to examine, diagnose, and give treatment. To do this, you must have a strong medical background. This includes human biology, anatomy, and physiology.

This is a good career path for biology students looking to gain experience in the medical field. A master’s degree is required.

Salary

The median pay for a physician assistant is $108,610 per year ($52.22/hour). The median pay for a nurse practitioner is $107,030 per year ($51.46/hour).  The highest 10% earned $151,850. The lowest 10% earned less than $69,120.

The highest paying industry: outpatient care centers ($115,560)

Physician assistants are expected to see an average growth of 31% and nurse practitioners a growth of 26% in employment from 2018-2028.

Medical and Health Services Manager

In this role, you will communicate with healthcare workers while managing a facility.  You will discuss scientific policies and procedures in a medical and health setting.

There are many skills learned in your biology degree that will translate to this career. This includes interpreting scientific studies and understanding changes in healthcare. Managers hire, supervise, and oversee medical and health professionals. All this is done while running a healthcare facility. It is important to be able to represent the facility in a professional manner. A clear understanding of healthcare professionals’ credentials and skills is important.

Salary

The median pay for a medical and health services manager is $99,730 per year ($47.95/hour).  The highest 10% earned $182,600. The lowest 10% earned less than $58,680.

The highest paying industry: government ($110,460)

Medical and health services managers are expected to see an average growth of 18% in employment from 2018-2028.

Attorney

For students with strong scientific knowledge and excellent reasoning skills, a career as an attorney may be a great choice.

There are many options as an attorney for a biology major.

A patent or intellectual property attorney must understand the science behind the product. This may include patented drugs, medical instruments, or other products. You will need to understand the process for applications and how to ensure the product has not been infringed upon.

Environmental attorneys represent environmental policies and their impact on the ecosystem. This can include sustainability, clean energy, green policies and more.

Medical malpractice attorneys evaluate healthcare professionals or medical interventions. They help clients in the case of medical negligence or misdiagnosis.

Biology students have a scientific background that lends itself well to evaluating data which is then used to build a case.

Salary

The median pay for an attorney is $120,910 per year ($58.13/hour). The highest 10% earned $208,000. The lowest 10% earned less than $58,220.

The highest paying industry: federal government ($145,160)

Attorneys are expected to see an average growth of 6% in employment from 2018-2028.

Financial Analyst

Biology students who excel in mathematics may want to choose a career as a financial analyst. In this role you will help businesses or individuals make investment decisions. This may include evaluating stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other financial services. You will need to study and understand trends to make recommendations.

Strong computer and writing skills are important as a financial analyst. You will need to present recommendations to clients after reviewing reports.

There are many financial analyst positions available in medical and health fields. This is often a good fit for biology students.

Salary

The median pay for a financial analyst is $85,660 per year ($41.18/hour). The highest 10% earned $167,420. The lowest 10% earned less than $52,540.

The highest paying industry: financial investments and related activities ($101,410).

Financial analysts are expected to see an average growth of 6% in employment from 2018-2028.

All data reported is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2018 unless noted otherwise.

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