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Biology Jobs in the Military

Contrary to what some may believe, the military offers a variety of biology careers. Learn about some of the available jobs in the field, as well as their education requirements.

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Biology Career Options in the Military

There are several different biology career options in the military, especially in the Army and Navy. These jobs often conduct research that is used to develop weapons or technology and could ultimately save lives. Below is a table of a handful of the biology careers available in the military.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Physicians and Surgeons $208,000 or more 14%
Medical Scientists $80,530 8%
Microbiologists $66,850 4%
Biological Technicians $42,520 5%
Biochemists and Biophysicists $82,180 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Biology Jobs in the Military

Physicians and Surgeons

Although they do not directly work in the field of biology, physicians and surgeons must apply their extensive knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics to their medical training in order to properly diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries. All branches of the military are in need of physicians and surgeons to treat a variety of conditions through medication, surgery or other treatments. Physicians and surgeons answer any questions their patients may have and update medical histories. These professionals must complete 4 years of medical school after graduating with a bachelor's degree, as well as a 3-7 year long residency.

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists can also be found in all branches of the military, especially toxicologists, as they work to improve human health. Toxicologists in particular are used in the military to study poisonous substances and how they affect people, which can help lead to the development of proper safety procedures and protocols and possibly save lives affected by these substances. Other medical scientists conduct studies to improve or develop drugs and medical devices. These scientists usually need a Ph.D. in biology or a medical degree.

Microbiologists

Microbiologists specialize in studying microorganisms and how they interact with their environment. Microbiologists' research may be used to understand how bacteria, fungi, algae, viruses or parasites may affect members of the military if they were to come into contact with these microorganisms. These scientists conduct research projects, identify microorganisms, preserve cultures of microorganisms to observe and present their findings in complex reports. In general, entry-level jobs are available for those with a bachelor's degree, but the military only considers those with at least a master's degree in the field.

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians are used in the military to respond to and handle dangerous conditions that may arise due to biological, chemical and radiological factors. They use special safety equipment and follow strict procedures to handle these emergencies. Some biological technicians may also work with medical scientists to maintain lab equipment, conduct biological tests and analyze data. Biological technicians need a bachelor's degree in biology and lab experience.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

The work of biochemists and biophysicists in the military can be applied to biological warfare, as these scientists study the chemical and physical properties of living things. Similar to the other scientists mentioned above, biochemists and biophysicists plan complex research projects examining biological processes, DNA, disease and more. They also work in the lab to study how different substances, such as those used in warfare, affect muscles and organs or biological processes. These professionals need a Ph.D. for research, but could hold a master's or bachelor's degree for lower level positions. However, the military specifies that candidates should hold a master's degree in the field.

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