What Can You Do With a Biology Degree? 10 Careers & Salaries Revealed

Biology Degree Careers & Salaries Revealed
Biology Degree

Graduates with a biology degree have multiple career options beyond med school. They can apply their specialized knowledge to help society in various ways- from tackling diseases to safeguarding the environment.

Biology encompasses the study of living organisms and is a popular field for science enthusiasts. Its coursework covers a broad range of disciplines- from molecular biology to the interactions within communities of life forms. Required classes include biology, anatomy, genetics, microbiology, and pharmacology, which lays the foundation for career paths that require only a biology degree. While higher degrees provide more specialization, plenty of opportunities exist for graduates with only an undergraduate biology degree.

An education in biology equips students with transferable skills and expertise that make them eligible to work in multiple professions, including healthcare practitioners, research scientists, technicians, educators, and even medical sales. Biology students learn essential skills in experimental design, result interpretation, and report writing that encourage logical thinking skills and clear communication. What’s more, students’ hands-on learning experiences gained through laboratory classes and research programs further improve their abilities.

As per the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biology degree field employed almost 3 million professionals in 2020. Its rapid growth owes to recent technological advancements and a renewed focus on environmental conservation.

Holding a biology degree can earn graduates a median salary of $65,000 per year. Here are ten compelling and lucrative career paths available to biology graduates, with their corresponding salaries listed. Discover What You Can Do with a Biology Degree: Career Opportunities & Pay Insights

Biology Degree: Careers & Salaries Revealed

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Pharmaceutical sales representatives facilitate the sale of medicines to hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. They must possess a thorough and comprehensive scientific understanding of the potential impacts of new drugs on patients. Mastery of essential technical subjects such as chemistry, anatomy, and physiology is required to be able to effectively communicate with doctors and patients alike. By acting as a liaison between healthcare professionals and emerging treatments, pharmaceutical sales reps help medical providers get vital, life-saving medications to the people who need them.

In addition to becoming intimately familiar with the medications sold by their company, pharmaceutical reps must also study competing drugs and differentiate their function and benefits. These professionals acquire new clients through individual meetings, conferences, and other events. With the pharmaceutical industry experiencing unprecedented growth, there is a constant stream of new treatments to research and promote.

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Most pharmaceutical sales reps study life sciences – including biology or chemistry – to gain an understanding of how specific medicines work. They must also possess exceptional communication skills in order to convey critical information about their products’ benefits. As a result of the high base salary and additional commissions, pharmaceutical sales representatives have average total compensation of $150,000.

Science Writer

Science writers use their technical understanding of scientific disciplines to compose engaging, accurate, and informative pieces of writing. These professionals may write for journals, magazines, or other publications, covering topics from physical, chemical, or biological sciences. Science writers must analyze data and summarize findings with precision. In addition, they are in charge of simplifying complex technical concepts so that the average reader can understand.

Science writers can work as a freelancer or for a specific publication. They must possess outstanding writing abilities, as well as the ability to communicate with a variety of sources. This includes conducting interviews with scientists and other community members to gain a thorough understanding of scientific methodologies.

A degree in biology provides essential knowledge and technical skills that make writing about topics in this field easier and more accessible. Employers generally prefer writers with a strong background in the scientific field. Clear communication is crucial for conveying accurate and stimulating information. In 2019, technical writers across all fields earned an average salary of $77,000.

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists utilize their biology background to safeguard the environment and enhance public health. They focus on eliminating pollution, minimizing waste, and identifying potential threats to the planet. Environmental scientists collect environmental samples in the field or analyze information and compile data in the laboratory.

In addition to advising government agencies on policies and ensuring compliance, environmental scientists prepare technical reports and presentations to explain their solutions to the public. Consulting firms that assist companies in meeting sustainable guidelines also employ these professionals. While advanced degrees may be necessary for teaching and top-tier research positions, many available roles in environmental science only require a more specialized degree, such as biology. Biology graduates possess the knowledge of how ecosystems function, as well as the factors that impact the environment and human health. The average salary for an environmental scientist in the United States is $71,400.

Agriculture and Food Scientist

Agriculture and food scientists contribute to the world’s food supply through researching and developing new technologies. They ensure that current agricultural products and establishments are sustainable and safe. Agricultural experts study soil composition and its relation to plant growth while food scientists discover novel food sources, packaging methods, and preservation techniques.

Most of the time is spent by these professionals studying data or conducting experiments within an office or laboratory setting. They occasionally perform fieldwork on farms, processing plants, or production facilities to guarantee that sanitary and efficient procedures are being followed.

Biology students have a solid foundation that makes them ideal candidates to become agricultural and food scientists due to their knowledge in biology, plant physiology, and biochemistry. This is necessary to understand the biological processes through which livestock and crops grow. In 2019, the median salary for this position was $65,200.

Wildlife Biologist

The job of a wildlife biologist involves studying animals and their interactions with the environment, and working to limit human impact on natural habitats. They may work directly with animals to assess health and track them for future monitoring. Additionally, wildlife biologists engage in conservation and management efforts to maintain healthy animal populations. Many wildlife biologists partner with public officials to develop plans for protecting species, and communicate their research findings to others in the field and to the general public. To pursue this career, an undergraduate degree in biology with focused courses in wildlife biology or ecology is recommended. Strong communication and problem-solving skills, as well as outdoor skills, are also beneficial. The median pay for wildlife biologists is $63,300 as of 2019.


Biochemists, on the other hand, focus on biotechnology and medical research. They explore the chemical principles underpinning biological processes such as cell development and heredity, as well as diseases. Through designing and conducting experiments, biochemists further knowledge in the field and solve specific problems. They also prepare technical reports, attend conferences, and present findings to team members and potential funding sources. A thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology is essential in biochemistry, and obtaining a higher-level degree is typical. However, bachelor’s and master’s degree holders can also acquire entry-level positions. The median salary for biochemists is $94,500.


Microbiologists are professionals who explore the tiny world of organisms such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites, investigating how they interact with their surroundings. From vaccine creation to biofuel innovation, microbiology is an important field with impactful implications. A typical day for microbiologists requires the planning and execution of complex experiments aimed at isolating and culturing microorganisms, studying how these cultures impact their environment, and vice versa.

In addition to laboratory work, microbiologists conduct literature reviews, attend conferences and publish technical papers to share their discoveries with the scientific community. Microbiology is interdisciplinary, and research in this field is often done alongside medical professionals with the goal of preventing and treating diseases. A biology degree, especially one that focuses on microbes, biochemistry, and cell biology, can provide a solid foundation for a career in microbiology. Most microbiologists earn a median salary of $75,700 per year.

Biological Technician

Biological technicians, on the other hand, conduct scientific experiments primarily in laboratory settings to obtain precise results. These professionals work in several industries such as hospitals, biotechnology companies, government agencies, and medical schools, among others. Biological technicians document their findings and analyze data, and the employment rate of research technicians is expected to grow 7% faster than the national average for all occupations.

Apart from conducting experiments, biological technicians maintain laboratory equipment, prepare samples for analysis, and write technical reports summarizing their findings. They use a variety of laboratory instruments and even advanced robotics and automated devices. For a career as a biological technician, a comprehensive understanding of biological concepts and laboratory experience is essential. A biology degree program, which includes laboratory courses, can provide the necessary education and skills. Biological technicians earn a median salary of $45,900 annually.


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