Highest Paying Biology Jobs

There are many job opportunities for individuals who have a background in biology, from the study of animal evolution to human diseases. Many of these career paths also lead to financial success, as they offer competitive salaries.

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Career Options for High Paying Biology Jobs

For individuals interested in a career involving biology, there are a number of options available that offer salaries much higher than the median salary across all occupations. Whether an individual is interested in finding a career that involves medicine, research, or wildlife, they should be able to find a job in their field of interest that pays them well. Below, we will look at five different career possibilities in the biology field with competitive salaries.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Wildlife Biologist $60,520 4%
Microbiologist $66,850 4%
Epidemiologist $70,820 6%
Medical Scientist $80,530 8%
Biochemist/Biophysicist $82,180 8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for High Paying Jobs in Biology

Wildlife Biologist

As a wildlife biologist, you will be responsible for conducting research on various natural settings and the animals that live within those settings. You may focus on a particular aspect of wildlife, like botany or ecology, so your specific job duties would likely vary depending on your chosen area of study. As a researcher you may spend much of your time in the field. Some wildlife biologists may present their research at academic meetings or publish it in academic journals. In 2016, the median wage for wildlife biologists was $60,520 annually, which is roughly $23,000 more than the median wage for all jobs. To become a wildlife biologist, you will usually need at least a bachelor's degree, though some more advanced research-oriented positions will require a master's or Ph.D.

Microbiologist

Microbiologists are experts in studying microorganisms. These may include bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. The majority of microbiologists work in research and development, though a large number of them also work in the pharmaceutical industry. More often than not, they work in laboratories where they conduct their experiments and analyze the results. These professionals need to be able to operate sophisticated lab equipment, like microscopes and advanced computer software, in order to effectively do their job. While the median wage for microbiologists in 2016 was $66,850, those who worked in the federal government earned a median salary of $101,320. To become a microbiologist, you will need at least a bachelor's degree in the field for entry-level work.

Epidemiologist

As a type of public health professional, epidemiologists are experts in studying diseases that affect humans. There are various specialties in epidemiology, from maternal and child health to environmental health and many more in between. Epidemiologists who focus on infections disease will likely need a solid background in biology, as they may be involved in collected biologic samples and bodily fluids and analyzing them using microbiologic methods. Depending on your employer and the field you work in, you have the opportunity to make a range of salaries as an epidemiologist. Those who worked in research and development made a median salary of $99,560 in 2016, while the median wage for all epidemiologists was $70,820. To become an epidemiologist, you will need at least a master's degree in the field, though some professionals also pursue a doctoral level degree in medicine or epidemiology.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists are involved in a wide variety of projects and tasks, depending on the specific field they work in. For example, cancer researchers focus on better understanding the causes of cancer and possible ways to cure it. Serologists are experts in analyzing bodily fluids, like blood and saliva. As a toxicologist, you would work to understand how various chemicals and drugs affect the human body. Regardless of the specific type of medical scientist you are interested in becoming, your job will likely involve biology in some way, as all medical scientists are involved in some aspect of human health. Medical scientists in 2016 made a median salary of $80,530, though those who worked in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing made $113,800. To become a medical scientist, you will need either a Ph.D. in biology or a related science field, or a medical degree.

Biochemist/Biophysicist

As a biochemist or biophysicist, you will combine the study of biology and either chemistry or physics to better understand various biological processes. For example, a biochemist may be involved in research to understand how different plants and animals have evolved over time, or how we pass along genes from generation to generation. As a biophysicist, you may focus on figuring out better ways to engineer crops to produce more at harvest. The median wage for these professionals in 2016 was $82,180, though there is the possibility for higher wages depending on the specific industry. To become a biochemist or biophysicist, you will need a Ph.D. if you want a career in research. Individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree may qualify for entry-level work.

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