Careers for Integrative Biology Majors: Options and Requirements
Integrative biology majors have wider, more general knowledge than most of the specialized biology majors currently offered at universities. This general knowledge base translates to a wide variety of career options. Even in specialized careers, integrative biology majors are wanted for their ability to use a broader approach to bring unique solutions to specialized problems.
Integrative biology (IB) includes both whole-organism biology and ecology. Many different careers are open to IB majors because of their well-rounded knowledge in their field. These students have the potential to follow almost any career path involving biology, provided that they get the proper degrees or certifications required for the field in which they are interested. IB majors can find employment in government, education, industry, conservation and non-profit organizations in many different jobs. Here are a few of the many occupations potentially available to IB majors:
- Science educator (primary, secondary and postsecondary)
- Science textbook artist
- Museum curator
- Wildlife scientist
- Biology researcher (field or laboratory)
Some of these careers require education beyond the bachelor's degree, and some of them have their own subspecialties. An IB major prepares students for many possibilities, rather than confining them to one narrow field.
Medicine and Biological Research
Education requirements vary widely by career path. Practicing medicine requires four years of medical school after receiving a bachelor's degree. After graduation from medical school, medical students must pass a licensing exam in the state in which they wish to practice medicine. They can acquire a specialization by completing a residency program in that specialty and passing the certification exam. Biology research generally requires a Ph.D., although research assistants sometimes need only a bachelor's degree.
Education and Illustration
Primary and secondary educators need a bachelor's degree and state certification to teach in public schools; private schools may not require licensure. Teaching at a college or university requires at least a master's degree, and usually a Ph.D., but no state certification is required. Textbook illustration requires some classes and experience in art, usually shown in a portfolio. For medical illustration, further qualification can be obtained through master's degree programs offered in that area.
Curators, Field Researchers and Conservationists
Employment as a museum or zoo curator generally requires a master's degree. Those who only have a bachelor's degree can sometimes find employment as museum or zoo technicians. Wildlife and field researchers and conservationists generally have the same education requirements as their laboratory counterparts, but also need the ability to spend many hours outside in potentially uncomfortable or hostile environments.
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