Career Options for Biology and Life Science
There are numerous career opportunities in the field of biology and life science for people interested in studying, protecting and preserving various kinds of wildlife and natural resources. These careers vary in education requirements and job duties. Below are some of the options available to those interested in pursuing biology and life science careers.
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists||$60,520||4%|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$82,180||8%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$68,910||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Careers Involving Biology and Life Science
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
Zoologists and wildlife biologists usually specialize in studying a particular animal and its ecosystem. They may research an animal's physical characteristics, behavior or even the effect humans may have on the animal's habitat. They present their findings to the scientific community and public through reports and presentations. Zoologists and wildlife biologists typically will need a master's or Ph.D., but at least a bachelor's degree is required. People in this career have an extensive knowledge of biology, and then specialize their education and research on a certain animal of interest.
Microbiologists study various forms of life on the microscopic scale, including bacteria, viruses, algae, parasites and more. They gather information about these organisms' life cycles and interactions with their environments through experiments and observations. Their findings may be used to develop new vaccines or other products that solve a particular problem. Microbiologists must have a bachelor's degree, but a Ph.D. is usually required to conduct independent research.
Conservation scientists utilize their background in life science and biology to help manage and conserve natural resources. This may involve managing conservation and/or forestry activities in forests, rangelands, parks and more. These professionals must ensure that all activities comply with government regulations and work toward the sustainability of a certain resource. This career closely combines skills in life science and management. Conservation scientists must hold a bachelor's degree.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists generally work in a lab to study biological processes and different properties of living things, like heredity and cell division. For example, they may specialize in a particular disease or a certain part of cell development. Their work involves complex experiments and research. Biochemists and biophysicists report their findings in technical reports, presentations and research papers. Most of these professionals hold a Ph.D., but some entry-level jobs are available to those with a bachelor's or master's degree.
Biological technicians apply their knowledge of biology to assist biologists or medical scientists with different kinds of lab experiments and tests. They may be responsible for maintaining and setting up lab equipment and preparing various biological samples for testing. They must take detailed and accurate notes of their procedures and findings, which are then analyzed and presented in reports. Biological technicians need a bachelor's degree and usually some level of experience working in a laboratory setting.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists and specialists apply their background in the life and natural sciences to analyze environmental data that can be used to inform policymakers or reduce pollution. They may collect air, water, soil and other samples while working toward the dual goals of protecting the environment and maintaining human health. They must often problem-solve to fix environmental issues. Their technical reports and presentations are often given to the public and government officials. Environmental scientists and specialists must hold at least a bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences.