The science field is a great field to enter right now, and biology is a great place to start. A biology degree is a pathway into healthcare, environmental management and sustainability, genetic engineering, and more.
That seems pretty broad so what CAN you actually do with a biology degree?
Skills in the Biology Careers
The skills that are needed for an entry-level biology career are taught in a classroom, along with hands-on learning through labs. A bachelor’s degree in biology will teach you how to do problem-based learning. Courses that are offered at this level are ecology, physics, chemistry, and microbiology. But, some programs will allow their students to do a specialization in a specific area with a capstone project.
Skills that you will gain for post-graduation entry-level roles are data analysis, communication skills, laboratory work, research, and scientific literacy.
How to Gain Experience for a Stellar Biology Resume
While you are getting a biology undergraduate degree, think about your future career opportunities and gain experience that will look great on a resume.
The biggest thing an employer will want to see is research projects, specifically work experience in laboratories. This is what most entry-level jobs are in biology, so it is great to begin those skills while still in your undergrad.
In order to get research roles, it is great to stay connected with professors and TA’s. They will often have research positions open and refer students to them.
Also, join organizations and clubs! Those will help you build connections within the STEM field, and specifically with other biology students. Some biology-based clubs are Alpha Chi Sigma, American Chemical Society, American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE), Beta Beta Beta, and Future Health Professionals (formerly HOSA, and this club you can join in high school).
Career Options for a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for a biological scientist is $80,200. Overall, employment for biological scientists is on the rise.
Human biologists work with humans and their physiology and genetics. It typically involves working on medical research such as research on diseases. But, they can also work as geneticists, nutritionists, and dieticians. If you choose to go onto graduate school for a master’s degree, human biologists can become genetic counselors.
Marine biologists explore the living organisms and ecosystems within saltwater. They look at marine life and plant life.
Microbiologists handle the smallest organisms (microorganisms) in the world. They focus on parasites, bacteria, and viruses by looking at how they change, grow, and interact. While students with a bachelor of science degree in biology can do some work in microbiology, there are roles that require an advanced degree.
Molecular biologists work in research positions in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and universities. They study the chemical structures of molecules. Typically, they are studying nucleic acids, such as DNA and RNA, and proteins.
Environmental Scientists – Conservation and Ecology
Environmental scientists deal with work on clean-up efforts and how to protect the natural world. Therefore, they assess soil, water, air, hazardous materials, and any biological threats to the environment.
Computational biology, also known as bioinformatics, works on using data to create an algorithm or model to further understand biological relationships. They use problem-solving by answering many questions by looking at those patterns.
While these are more specific roles for biology majors, there are also many general roles in the biological science field for biology graduates. Many are general biology laboratory technicians, assisting the head research scientists.
Other smaller roles that biology majors do are biology teacher, zoologist, science writers, and more.
Further Education Beyond the Bachelor’s of Science Biology Degree
But, if those career paths do not interest you, look into furthering your biology education with an advanced degree. While many think that the only option to go on is to medical school, there are several other options!
First, there are biology master’s degree programs that take 2 years. Then, each student has the option to get a Masters of Science (MS) and focus on working in a laboratory with research. Or, to get a Masters of Art (MA) and be mostly doing coursework on investigation and scientific literature.