What Job Can You Get With a Major in Biology?
Employment opportunities for biology majors depend upon a number of factors, including area of specialization and degree level. Graduates holding a bachelor's degree tend to find work in quality control and environmental consulting, while those with a graduate-level degree tend to work in advanced research positions or in academia.
Career Options for Biology Majors
Biology can be divided into two major areas, botany and zoology. Within these branches are several sub-disciplines, including cellular and molecular, organismal and field biology. Because biology is composed of many branches and sub-disciplines, career options for biology majors can vary greatly. Biologists specializing in molecular biology may work in biomedical research, medicine, public health or a number of other areas. Biologists specializing in zoology work in areas such as animal behavior, botany, biotechnology, marine biology, forestry and microbiology.
Career options for biology majors also vary according to degree level. Graduates holding a bachelor's degree often work as laboratory and environmental technicians, food and dairy quality control specialists, environmental consultants, greenhouse curators, microbiologists and biology teachers. A degree in biology can also serve as good preparation for careers in healthcare, including positions as a veterinary technologist, dentist, podiatrist or pharmacist. Some of these positions require substantial additional schooling beyond the bachelor's degree.
A major in biology can also lead to further education at the graduate level. Those holding a master's degree in biology can work as research associates, product developers and inspectors, molecular biologists, assistant professors and environmental project managers. Those with a Ph.D. tend to work in independent research or academia. Job options include biotechnology research scientist, postsecondary professor, assistant professor and scientific researcher.
Salaries of Biology Degree-Holders
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), veterinary technologists and technicians made a median salary of $30,500 as of May 2013. Microbiologists earned a median income of $67,840 annually at that same time. The BLS also reported that postsecondary biology teachers earned a median salary of $75,740, while environmental scientists made a median wage of $65,090 per year (www.bls.gov).
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