5 Popular Career Paths for Biology Grads - Geneva College
Geneva College
Geneva College Blog
RSS Subscribe Print   

Image of 5 Popular Career Paths for Biology Grads  Program Spotlight
January 24, 2022

5 Popular Career Paths for Biology Grads

A biological science degree will take you on a journey to study the living world that’s all around and within us. Biology is one of the broadest majors you can choose because it encompasses many scientific disciplines, from the study of the very smallest molecules that make up life to the study of plants and animals.

Although the pursuit of a biology degree can be hard at times, it can pay off in the long run, allowing you to pursue a career path that leads to a bright future with a wide range of high-paying jobs.

5 Career Paths You Can Choose to Pursue with a Degree in Biology

According to an online dictionary, biology is defined as “the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin and distribution.” That’s an extensive amount of information for one degree to cover. It’s easy to see, therefore, that careers for biology grads would be wide-ranging in nature, as well.

Some biology careers allow you to study living organisms to further develop biological knowledge and increase understanding of living processes, including sustaining the natural environment and the treatment of disease.

Although further study isn’t always necessary for career progression, many biology grads choose to go on to postgraduate level studies to further their expertise within a specialization or to learn more about a related field of study.

Let’s take a closer look at five popular career paths available to biology grads.

  1. Research Biologist

As a research biologist, you’ll use the latest technology and scientific tools to conduct research and then discover solutions to current biological problems based on the results of your research. As such, scientific research can be a highly stimulating career, especially since research can be conducted across lots of different specializations.

Since biological science is a wide-ranging discipline, a researcher’s duties revolve around their specialization. Examples of research specializations include medical research, animal research, plant research, the research of microorganisms, or environmental systems research.

Research biologists generally work in a laboratory. Their primary duties often include:

  • Collection of biological data
  • Review of literature
  • Design and implementation of experimental studies
  • Analyze results of studies
  • Presentation of research findings
  • Secure funding for studies
  • Write and publish research papers

Some research biologists also choose to become college and university professors.

Most research takes place within the area of medical and life sciences, covering such areas as health and disease, microbiology, neurology, pharmacology, and genomics.

With the right additional qualifications, research biologists pursue careers within research institutions, colleges and universities, medical facilities, and hospitals, as well as within the business and industrial sectors.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a research biologist (medical scientist) conducts research aimed at improving human health. They typically have a Ph.D. and make a median salary of $91,510 per year. Over the next decade, jobs in this field are expected to increase by 17%, a much faster rate than in most job markets. In fact, it’s double that of most jobs.

  1. Environmental Biologist

An environmental biologist works to preserve, protect, and restore the environment (both naturally occurring ecosystems and human-managed environments), by identifying problems related to habitat destruction, pollution, and other environmental problems, and then works to find a solution. Environmental biology studies focus primarily on lab coursework and fieldwork experiences which prepare students for research, technical, or consultative positions. Most environmental biologists work in laboratories and offices. Some even have the opportunity to spend time in the field gathering data firsthand.

Careers an environmental biologist may pursue include:

  • Environmental biologist or scientist with government or planning and engineering firms
  • Ecologist with regional conservation authorities
  • Climate change risk assessor working in the private sector
  • Environmental planner in the forestry, fishery, or mining sectors
  • Conservation biologist in government agencies or national and international conservation organizations
  • Education coordinator for environmental non-government organizations
  • Environmental impact assessor working for environmental consulting firms

According to the BLS, an environmental biologist earns a median salary of $73, 230 per year. Over the next decade, jobs for environmental biologists are expected to increase at normal rates.

  1. Teacher

Biology teachers instruct students in the biological sciences. Teachers may be primarily engaged in teaching but may also do a combination of teaching and research. Teachers also evaluate and grade students' assignments, papers, classwork, and laboratory work.

Other tasks for those working in a college or university include:

  • Initiation, facilitation, and moderation of classroom discussions
  • Planning, evaluation, and revision of course curricula, content, and materials, as well as evaluation of instruction methods
  • Preparation and delivery of lectures
  • Preparation of materials for and supervision of students’ laboratory work
  • Remaining abreast of developments in the field

According to the BLS, the average salary for a college or university professor is $100,700 per year. High School teachers, on the other hand, earn an average salary of $62,870 per year, while middle school teachers earn $60,810 per year. Biology teaching jobs are expected to increase at normal rates over the next decade.

Aspiring educators are responsible for obtaining the appropriate teaching credentials for certain positions they intend to pursue as a biology teacher.

  1. Forensics Scientist

Forensic scientists apply scientific knowledge and methods to help police investigate and solve crimes. After medical teams and law enforcement have secured a crime scene, forensic scientists document, collect, and analyze various types of physical evidence both in and around the crime scene.

As a forensics scientist, you would be responsible for:

  • Sketching crime scenes
  • Photographing crime scenes
  • Analyzing evidence
  • Consulting and collaborating with other professionals who are also working to solve crimes

Forensic scientists should be inquisitive and willing to work long hours in jobs that lack the excitement and drama often portrayed in TV shows such as “CSI.” Strong verbal and written communication skills are vital because they help forensic scientists clearly share complex scientific data with individuals who are nonscientific such as police investigators, jurors, and attorneys.

According to the BLS, forensics scientists earn an average of $60,590 per year. The job outlook over the next decade projects a 16% increase in jobs, double the average of most jobs.

  1. BiologyEconomist

A biology economist researches the economics of environmental issues which may include pollution control measures, renewable energy usage, construction of transnational pipelines, and construction of new hydroelectric power plants.

As a biology economist, you may be required to:

  • Run environmental modeling programs
  • Conduct cost-benefit analyses of proposed regulations that involve natural resources or industrial activities
  • Develop sustainable and cost-effective policy recommendations
  • Maintain communications with policymakers using presentations and reports

Biology economists are often employed in state or federal government jobs, by environmental consulting firms or in technical, scientific, and professional services. They may be employed to work as project managers for development initiatives that are backed by large institutions such as U.S. Aid and the World Bank.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide data on environmental economists; however, they do provide the salary for economists as a whole — $108,350 per year.

Making it Happen: Earning Your Biology Degree at Geneva

Bachelor of Science in Biology from Geneva College will educate you to become a professional who understands the physical world as God’s miraculous handiwork. If you have a deep desire to cherish, nurture, and protect God’s handiwork, a biology degree can make it happen. For more information, contact us at 855-979-5563 or web@geneva.edu.