3 answers

What career opportunities come from a biology degree?

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I am entering my first year of university in the fall, and have applied to several programs at different schools. I am curious if there are many career opportunities that stem from a biology degree, or if it should be used as a stepping stone into further education #biology #science #stem

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Anne’s Answer

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Biology is a very big field. There are so many different specialties that's it 's hard to answer this question in a few words. What's important is what area of biology YOU find most interesting. Are you interested in the health field (doctor, nurse, physician assistant, lab technician, etc)? Ecology (conservation biologist, botanist, wetlands specialist, etc.)? Marine science (fisheries, aquatic biologist, etc? I work for a big city water utility, and that's a job that many people don't even know much about.

You should think about what areas of the biological sciences are most appealing to you and then simply google jobs in that field. Investigate scientists who are doing research in that area and read about their jobs. There are a lot of opportunities for biology majors, but sometimes the jobs are so obvious. With a little research, you should be able to identify a job that would be a good fit for you. Good luck with school and with your career.


FYI: here are some online job resources that might be helpful...

https://www.conservationjobboard.com/

https://careers.conbio.org/jobs/ecology/

https://www.esa.org/career-development/explore-ecology-as-a-career/

http://www.ecojobs.com/statejobs.htm

https://www.biospace.com/jobs/cell-biology/california/

https://www.researchgate.net/jobs/Biology-jobs?page=1&regions=

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Ron’s Answer

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Great advice from Anne! Yes, exploring the range of specialties in the broad life sciences field is important. What is it that makes you excited about biology (e.g., the process of discovery, protecting the environment, keeping people healthy)? Much of my work has been with life science companies, not with government agencies (like Anne's) or non-profits. Life science companies work to develop new medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests, biofuels, biomaterials, medical devices (e.g., drug infusion pumps, pace makers, stents, artificial limbs, etc.), bioinformatics, and genomics, research reagents, genetically engineered foods, pest resistant crops ... That alone is a huge range!

It also is really important to understand what makes Hannah tick! What do you most enjoy doing? Do you enjoy working in an office environment? Do you enjoy working with people? Are you an exceptional communicator? Are you great at data analysis? Programming?

An education in biology can be a fantastic foundation even if you work in a job that doesn't require you to "do science" yourself. There are lots of non-scientific jobs companies, government agencies and non-profits that require an understanding of biology. For example, my background in science helps me today as a business consultant who advises companies developing new medicines. I have colleagues with backgrounds in science who now work in patent law, finance, quality, regulatory affairs, project management, education, public policy/advocacy, communications and HR for life science focused organizations. Their backgrounds in biology make it possible for them to collaborate with scientists as part of a team.

Ron recommends the following next steps:

  • Talk with your school counselor about the questions I posed regarding "what makes Hannah tick". They might have a career aptitude survey or other resources (e.g., "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles; Meyers Briggs test, StrengthsFinder test) to help you think about the kind of activities you might most enjoy in a career. This could help you narrow your choice of biology disciplines.
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James’s Answer

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Anne did an absolutely excellant job with her answer. Not much to elaborate on that one.
Ome area that I believe may open up in the near future will be space studies of biologic nature. Once we find a form of life outside out planet the opportunities should amass. It may just take a sharp thinking biologist to actually recognize and identify that life form.
Good luck
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