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What Can You Do With a Biology Degree?

A biology degree provides the foundation for many careers in healthcare, research, education, environmental science, and more. The study of living organisms equips students with lab techniques, research methods, critical thinking, and knowledge of biological systems that are valuable across industries.

Here are some top jobs and specializations to pursue with a bachelor’s or advanced degree in biology:

Healthcare Careers

Biology majors develop the scientific expertise needed for medical and clinical roles:

  • Physician: Diagnose and treat illness and injury. Requires completing medical school after a bachelor’s degree and passing licensing exams.
  • Pharmacist: Fill prescriptions and advise patients on proper medication usage. A Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) is mandatory with undergraduate pre-pharmacy studies.
  • Physician assistant: Provide medical services like examining patients, ordering tests, and performing procedures under a physician’s supervision. A master’s degree is required along with licensing.
  • Clinical laboratory technologist: Analyze blood samples and bodily fluid specimens to detect diseases and guide treatments. Typically need a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science.
  • Genetic counselor: Advise patients on inherited conditions, screening, and DNA testing. Must complete a master’s degree program accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

Scientific Research

A biology degree develops the lab techniques and research methodology needed for scientific study and discovery across these settings:

  • Universities: Conduct academic research as professors or lab technicians. Teaching roles require a PhD while techs need a bachelor’s degree.
  • Government: Perform research for agencies like the EPA, USDA, CDC, or NIH. Advanced degrees boost prospects for research scientists.
  • Biotechnology: Develop products and services such as genetic testing or biofuels for healthcare, agriculture, and more. Research roles require a PhD.
  • Pharmaceutical companies: Test and modify drug compounds and run clinical trials for new medications. Research scientist positions typically call for a doctorate.

Natural Sciences

Biology majors can apply their expertise to protect the environment, study ecosystems, and manage natural resources:

  • Wildlife biologist: Monitor animal populations and behaviors, track migration patterns and habitats. Entry-level jobs are accessible with a bachelor’s while senior roles require a master’s degree or higher.
  • Forester: Oversee forest management and timber harvesting plans, restore forests after fires, measure tree growth. A bachelor’s degree is standard but a master’s provides further advancement.
  • Environmental consultant: Advise companies and government agencies on meeting environmental regulations, minimizing pollution, and finding green solutions. Most positions require a bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental science or a related field.

Education

Those passionate about teaching have options in both schools and universities:

  • High school teacher: Educate students in biology and other sciences. Must have a bachelor’s degree in biology plus complete a teacher preparation program and state certification.
  • College professor: Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in biology or a specialty like microbiology or ecology. Requires a PhD in the discipline you want to teach.

Specialized Fields

With further training and graduate degrees, biologists can also work in areas like:

  • Bioinformatics: Use software tools and computer modeling to analyze complex biological data on a large scale. A master’s degree minimum is preferred.
  • Forensic science: Perform lab tests on crime scene evidence and analyze biological clues. An advanced forensic science degree or biology master’s is recommended.
  • Science writing: Write articles, blog posts, and marketing materials explaining complex scientific topics to lay audiences. Usually need a bachelor’s in biology plus a background in communications or journalism.

The possibilities are vast for putting a biology degree to use. Whether your passion is microscopes or ecosystems, there are many ways to leverage your specialized scientific training and make an impact.

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