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What can you do with a Biology Degree?

Best Jobs For Biology Major

The time after graduating from college can be a stressful time as you try to find your first job. As a way to help you out, we have found that there are actually a lot of job opportunities for graduates with a biology degree. By scouring millions of job listings and scanning through 92,272 biology major resumes we were able to find the most preferred jobs by biology majors.

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Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
65,809
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  New York, NY;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$40,000
Job openings
55,689
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Baltimore, MD;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$30,000
Job openings
25,293
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
A Research Assistant helps carry out a particular research agenda. They are generally found in the social science or laboratory setting.
Starting Salary
$38,000
Job openings
39,557
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Washington, DC;  San Diego, CA;  
Job Description:
A Research Associate plans, organizes, and conducts research in scientific, cultural, historical, or artistic. They conduct literature, collect and analyze data, and recruit and/or interview new people.
Starting Salary
$69,000
Job openings
31,059
Top Locations:
San Diego, CA;  Cambridge, MA;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
58,041
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  San Diego, CA;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$28,000
Job openings
61,639
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Orlando, FL;  
Job Description:
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals.
Starting Salary
$25,000
Job openings
93,141
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  San Antonio, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Starting Salary
$51,000
Job openings
29,996
Top Locations:
Cambridge, MA;  Rockville, MD;  Richmond, VA;  
Job Description:
Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.
Starting Salary
$49,000
Job openings
73,696
Top Locations:
Los Angeles, CA;  San Diego, CA;  Baltimore, MD;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$12,000
Job openings
43,441
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Washington, DC;  Boston, MA;  
Job Description:
Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.
Starting Salary
$55,000
Job openings
47,944
Top Locations:
Seattle, WA;  New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.
Starting Salary
$43,000
Job openings
51,123
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Durham, NC;  San Diego, CA;  
Job Description:
Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production.
Starting Salary
$43,000
Job openings
23,936
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Sacramento, CA;  Austin, TX;  
Job Description:
Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.
Starting Salary
$45,000
Job openings
13,346
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Indianapolis, IN;  Lancaster, PA;  
Job Description:
Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods.
Starting Salary
$33,000
Job openings
59,142
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  San Antonio, TX;  Birmingham, AL;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$22,000
Job openings
97,324
Top Locations:
Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  Saint Louis, MO;  
Job Description:
Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.
Starting Salary
$90,000
Job openings
20,151
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.
Starting Salary
$45,000
Job openings
1,472
Top Locations:
Indianapolis, IN;  Las Vegas, NV;  Point, PA;  
Starting Salary
$43,000
Job openings
10,965
Top Locations:
Atlanta, GA;  Crete, IL;  Crown Point, IN;  
Job Description:
Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments.
Starting Salary
$80,000
Job openings
16,621
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Job Description:
Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients.
Starting Salary
$32,000
Job openings
35,140
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  Austin, TX;  
Job Description:
Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.
Starting Salary
$67,000
Job openings
78,684
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boca Raton, FL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
70,775
Top Locations:
San Antonio, TX;  New York, NY;  Fort Worth, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.
Starting Salary
$24,000
Job openings
56,754
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Los Angeles, CA;  Washington, DC;  
Job Description:
Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
19,422
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Dallas, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.
Starting Salary
$42,000
Job openings
59,230
Top Locations:
Dallas, TX;  Houston, TX;  Austin, TX;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$54,000
Job openings
96,357
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  
Job Description:
Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
Starting Salary
$25,000
Job openings
27,758
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  San Diego, CA;  
Job Description:
Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
53,774
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Indianapolis, IN;  San Diego, CA;  
Job Description:
Industrial engineering technicians help industrial engineers implement designs to use personnel, materials, and machines effectively in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.
Starting Salary
$19,000
Job openings
82,623
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Philadelphia, PA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Home health aides help people with disabilities, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment with activities of daily living. They often help older adults who need assistance. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.
Starting Salary
$39,000
Job openings
92,340
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Seattle, WA;  Rochester, MN;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
38,892
Top Locations:
Grand Rapids, MI;  Chicago, IL;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Job Description:
Market research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price.
Starting Salary
$36,000
Job openings
46,058
Top Locations:
Boston, MA;  New York, NY;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Job Description:
Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. They direct activities related to research and development, and coordinate activities such as testing, quality control, and production.
Starting Salary
$23,000
Job openings
47,471
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Portland, OR;  Memphis, TN;  
Job Description:
Industrial engineering technicians help industrial engineers implement designs to use personnel, materials, and machines effectively in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.
Starting Salary
$94,000
Job openings
17,453
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Job Description:
Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.
Starting Salary
$46,000
Job openings
45,786
Top Locations:
Houston, TX;  Phoenix, AZ;  Dallas, TX;  
Starting Salary
$55,000
Job openings
43,310
Top Locations:
Overland Park, KS;  Florence, SC;  Indianapolis, IN;  
Starting Salary
$26,000
Job openings
35,886
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Boston, MA;  Houston, TX;  
Starting Salary
$32,000
Job openings
159,288
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.
Starting Salary
$39,000
Job openings
1,182
Top Locations:
Marietta, GA;  Jackson, WY;  Phoenix, AZ;  
Job Description:
Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats.
Starting Salary
$59,000
Job openings
59,374
Top Locations:
San Antonio, TX;  San Juan, PR;  Birmingham, AL;  
Job Description:
Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.
Starting Salary
$38,000
Job openings
72,696
Top Locations:
Chicago, IL;  Houston, TX;  Atlanta, GA;  
Job Description:
Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.
Starting Salary
$51,000
Job openings
63,495
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve the efficiency of an organization. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.
Starting Salary
$38,000
Job openings
19,553
Top Locations:
Gainesville, FL;  Tallahassee, FL;  Irvine, CA;  
Starting Salary
$106,000
Job openings
46,277
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer expertise in the safe use of prescriptions. They also may conduct health and wellness screenings, provide immunizations, oversee the medications given to patients, and provide advice on healthy lifestyles.
Starting Salary
$71,000
Job openings
37,753
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  San Francisco, CA;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computing technology and find innovative uses for existing technology. They study and solve complex problems in computing for business, medicine, science, and other fields.
Starting Salary
$29,000
Job openings
13,445
Top Locations:
Crete, IL;  Grand Prairie, TX;  Columbus, OH;  
Job Description:
Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.
Starting Salary
$33,000
Job openings
23,704
Top Locations:
Boston, MA;  New York, NY;  Philadelphia, PA;  
Starting Salary
$47,000
Job openings
70,267
Top Locations:
New York, NY;  Houston, TX;  Chicago, IL;  
Job Description:
Financial analysts provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. They assess the performance of stocks, bonds, and other types of investments.

Biology Major Jobs

Average Salary For a Biology Major

As with other factors, choosing the right industry can change the salary for biology majors drastically. If you are in it for the money, you will earn the highest average salary working for a company in the pharmaceutical industry where the average salary is $54,248. But, you might only make an average salary of $31,201 working in the government industry.

1. Pharmaceutical
$54,248
Avg. Salary
$27k
$65k
2. Technology
$45,251
Avg. Salary
$27k
$65k
3. Manufacturing
$41,909
Avg. Salary
$27k
$65k
4. Education
$39,861
Avg. Salary
$27k
$65k
5. Finance
$37,149
Avg. Salary
$27k
$65k

Entry Level Jobs For Biology Majors

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Biology Internships

How To Get A Job With A Biology Degree

So you've graduated from college with your degree in Biology, the study of life.

After all of the hours you've sacrificed finishing lab reports, pouring over tedious texts, knocking out undergraduate research and generally hating your life you emerge from that academic daze.

You're left with one big question: now that you've studied life in general, what do you do with your life?

Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a map, just for Biology Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.

Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:

  • What skills you'll need
  • How to begin
  • What jobs you can expect to find
  • Some quick tips for the job search
  • Options for furthering your education
  • External resources

First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.

1. Skills for Biology Majors

While the education gained in the classroom is without a doubt beneficial, you've learned more from your biology degree than solving Punnett Squares.

A biology degree is well-rounded and cultivates a number of different skills and traits that can be applied to environments outside the laboratory and classroom -- beyond personal development and simply learning how to learn, employers will want to see how you can reflect, realize, and grow.

Applying these skills to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career. Here are some of the common skills that you should talk up when trying to get a job with your Biology degree.

Effective communication. Written communication skills is increasingly essential to functioning effectively as biologists. Whether you want to make a go of it in a lab or elsewhere, you'll need to be able to present proposals and findings to colleagues -- and potential funding sources.

Observational skills and attention to detail. Your research experience taught you to keep a complete, accurate record of your work, including the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures you followed, and the results you obtained.

Critical thinking and analysis. You've learned to draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

You've had to test research findings and theories even though they were trusted, looking for consistencies and inconsistencies in logic. You scoured data for alternative interpretations and subtle biases that may have led to erroneous conclusions.

2. Where to Begin Your Career After Getting a Biology Degree

Biology is a broad subject with equally diverse specifications-- botanists, microbiologists, physiologists, biophysicists, zoologists, geneticists, biochemists, ecologists are all biological scientists.

And what's more, you can choose to carry out research at universities, private laboratories, or for the government.

That's a lot to figure out, but we've got some ideas for narrowing it all down.

Land yourself a Biology internship

An internship will provide you with an understanding of the skills that a career in biology requires -- and with all of the options you have available, the opportunity to learn what it is that you don't want to do in your career is invaluable.

Here are some common types of internships for Biology Majors to help you make an informed decision about your career path:

  • Laboratory assistant internships
  • Research intern for a Contracted Research Organization (CRO)
  • Summer internships with a sales focus

Skillfully completing an internship with a governmental agency, research company, or university is a strong pathway to securing employment with them upon graduation -- but also, you'll be able to discern the areas where you need to build your skillset.

And wouldn't it be simply magical to land an internship with Disney?

Use an internship as an opportunity to take the lead on your competition

Your professors mean well, but academia is drastically different from real world applications.

For example, with the rise of genomics and proteomics, biology is evolving from a mainly experimental science performed at the bench to one in which large databases of information and computer models play a significant role.

Before you settle on an internship, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you as far as your career trajectory. But also, ask yourself these practical questions:

  • Will this internship grow me as a person or is it just checking off a box?
  • Where (in the state/the country/the world) do you want to work?
  • What type of organization do you want to work for -- government, university, private?
  • Would you take an unpaid internship in exchange for experience, references, networking, and further education?
  • Is relocation an option?

An easy place to start is within your university -- just reach out to your department head or search the website. Another option is through the government's STEM internship program.

3. Available Jobs

And now, the step you've probably been waiting for: getting a job.

The first step is deciding whether or not you want to stick to biology at all -- it's a tough job market out there, as biology is considered a knowledge-based degree and not skill-based.

The next step is deciding whether you're interested in a research setting or not. You've got options.

Biology is applicable to careers in healthcare, environmental management and conservation, or education. These types of professions include veterinarians, doctors, teachers, or even park rangers.

With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent biology major grads.

Just like you.

Here are some common entry-level jobs for recent grads like you:

Why are there so many Laboratory Technicians?

A lot of biology students choose the major because it coincides with healthcare professional school requirements -- as a matter of fact, 51 percent of med school students are Biology Majors.

And since it typically takes more than one round of applications to get accepted, this is a popular job for building up their applications. As a medical lab tech, you'll collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists -- which require more education -- perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do.

For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.

4. Some Quick Job Search Tips for Biology Majors

Get some serious lab experience. The most important thing a biology major can do is gain exposure in the lab. Showing a potential employer that you've worked in, and are familiar with lab equipment -- which will be your chief tool -- can greatly increase your chances of landing a job.

An internship will help you here, but any type of experience you can get with lab procedures, LIMS, and report writing is critical.

Check out the NSF REU Sites search tool for research experience opportunities.

Familiarize yourself with computers... beyond Office

We're moving beyond the bench in biology, and having some familiarity with UNIX, SQL, and enough programming to understand your standard LIMS is going to be essential.

Bioinformatics and other data-based fields are booming with career opportunities. People working in these field must have a solid background in biology, math and computer science with an emphasis on quantitative reasoning -- so go get some.

Get someone with experience to read Your Resume

Even if you don't have any direct work experience, you need to be able to communicate your capabilities and general knowledge of biological principles.

Because many entry level job applicants only have internships, retail jobs, or summer gigs, they haven't had any "big achievements" to mention.

You will stand out tremendously if you take initiative at these jobs in small ways and add it to your resume.

Did you lead any other student researchers? Did you publish any of your research? Make your work work for you.

Someone with experience will help think of ways to make it look like you got a lot out of the experiences. At the very least, they can make sure you format your resume appropriately.

5. Continuing Education and Certifications

You'll want to ensure that you stand out, particularly if you're just entering the job market. Some letters after your name go a long way.

And they're practically mandatory if you want to do research.

Pursuing an advanced degree

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you need a Ph.D. to participate in those ultra competitive independent research projects.

A master's degree is usually enough for some jobs in applied research and product development. In their words, a bachelor's degree is "adequate for some non-research jobs."

Medical Technologist certification

If lab jobs aren't falling into your lap and you're interested in healthcare -- as many of you bio majors are would-be doctors -- consider becoming a medical technologist.

The certification can take another year if you don't have the prerequisites -- which are similar to pre-med's -- but it places you in a medical lab setting, typically in a hospital. The BLS predicts double-digit job growth for technologists, so this is a safe bet for your career.

6. External Resources

If you're still not sure what to do with your degree or could use some help making yourself even more competitive, here are some external sites to help you with your decision:

NSF REU Sites

If your school wasn't helpful in placing you with some research opportunities, try the government's site.

USAJobs

Enter "biology" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to biology majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.

Bureau Of Labor Statistics

The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.

In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.

And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.

Updated July 15, 2020