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The Ultimate Biology Career Guide
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The Ultimate Biology Career Guide

by EduRefJune 11, 2013

Biological research and development is booming, and as a result, biologists are finding a better job market than most other occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, biology jobs are growing at a faster speed than the average employment rate.

This resource will help you decide if biology is the right career for you. We’ve compiled links to the best resources on the web for pursuing a biology education and for pursuing the various career paths available to biology majors. All of the links are from universities, government agencies, and respectable independent organizations.

Biology EducationBiotechnologistsBotanistsEcologistsMarine BiologistsMicrobiologistsMolecular BiologistsNeurobiologists/NeuroscientistsPhysiologistsZoologistsOther

Biology Education

Biology, in its simplest terms, is the study of life. It is an extremely rich discipline with many fields and new disciplines popping up as new discoveries are made. Biologists study things like cell structure, animals, plants, the brain, the human body, genetics, and the environment.

Almost every college offers a degree in biology with different tracks for different interests. A degree in biology can lead to a variety of exciting career opportunities. You can work in labs, universities, the government, private companies, and more. You can be a researcher, a zoologist, an environmental lawyer, a geneticist, a food and drug inspector, and more. Some career paths are open to all biology majors and some require a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. Check out the links below to learn more.

  • Choosing a College & Program: This American Institute of Biological Sciences resource covers what to look for in a college and biology program. It covers things like faculty diversity, a commitment to undergraduate education, and research opportunities.
  • Education & Training: This resource is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It covers what kind of education, training, and qualifications you will need for a career in biology.
  • Why Study Biology: This article is all about why you should study biology and where this degree can take you. It is presented by Saint Louis University.
  • Career Overview: This is another American Institute of Biological Sciences resource and this one covers everything about a biology career. It goes through a list of frequently asked questions like “What do biologists do” and “What is the job outlook for the future?”

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Biotechnologists

Biotechnology is the use of living organisms and their products in medicine, engineering, technology, and other areas. It is often referred to as genetic engineering. It encompasses everything from domesticating animals and agriculture to the more modern applications of gene therapy and cloning.

  • What is Biotechnology?: This article goes over the basics of biotechnology and all of the various different applications. For example, Green Biotechnology refers to agricultural applications and Red Biotechnology refers to medical applications.
  • Career Information: This resource provides 14 descriptions of different careers you can pursue with a biotechnology degree. Each description includes the specific type of degree you would need, required skills, and salary ranges.
  • Career Opportunities: This is a list of links to employment opportunities for biotechnologists brought to you by the Biotechnology Institute.

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Botanists

Botany, or plant biology, is the study of plant life, including plants, algae, and fungi. Botanists will study things like plant reproduction, metabolism, diseases, and evolution. This is one of the oldest sciences and today there are over 550,000 species of living organisms for botanists to study.

  • What is Botany?: The Botanical Society of America goes over what botany is, what kind of opportunities are available to botany majors, and the far-reaching effects of botanical research.
  • Career Information: Also from the Botanical Society of America, this resource covers the basics of botany and why you should choose a career in the field. It also has links to specializations, current issues, and career opportunities.
  • Career Opportunities: The University of Oklahoma offers this resource, which not only covers the basics of botany, but also offers a list of popular employers, a list of botany career websites, and a list of botany internships.

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Ecologists

Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environments. Specialties include areas like population, community, ecosystem, behavioral, and geographical ecology. It is a very interdisciplinary subject combining aspects of sociology, geography, anthropology, various sciences, and other studies.

  • What is Ecology?: This Stanford University resource is very comprehensive and explains the subject as a whole from how the term “ecology” was coined to where the field is going today.
  • Career Information: This UC Davis page goes over education requirements, job security, internships, and more.
  • Career Opportunities: Boston University presents a comprehensive list of links to ecology and conservation biology jobs, divided into 11 sections.

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Marine Biologists

Marine Biologists study organisms found in the ocean and other bodies of water, from microscopic life like phytoplankton to the blue whale, the largest animal ever known in existence. Marine Biology courses include Environmental Microbiology, Marine Habitats, and Experimental Marine Biology.

  • What is Marine Biology?: This resource is brought to you by the Marine Science Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. It covers what marine biology is, why it’s important, and why you should study it.
  • Career Information: This is a great Q&A with marine biologist and Professor Jeffrey Levinton. Levinton answers over 40 questions about being a marine biologist, like job prospects, related careers, daily life, and more.
  • Career Opportunities: This is a fantastic resource for those interested in a career in marine biology. Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station provides a list of links for advice and information on a career in marine biology, followed by a list of sites that have postings for jobs, traineeships, internships, and other employment opportunities.

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Microbiologists

Microbiologists study microorganisms, which are organisms that you can only see using a microscope. These include viruses, parasites, bacteria, and other unicellular or cell-cluster organisms. Since most researchers and academics estimate that only about one percent of microorganisms have been studied, this discipline is advancing constantly and has a lot of potential for growth.

  • What is Microbiology?: Playfully titled “What the Heck is Microbiology?”, this University of Kansas article answers just that and more.
  • Career Information: This resource is a primer and checklist for careers in microbiology. It breaks down potential career paths to help you decide which one is right for you.
  • Career Opportunities: This is Georgetown’s list of microbiology job and internship resources. It includes both general sites for micobiology and immunology jobs, as well as specific student jobs and internship opportunities.

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Molecular Biologists

Molecular Biologists take things down to the cellular level, ultimately trying to understand life at its most fundamental level. They study cell systems and their varying interactions. This field has a lot of overlap with genetics and biochemistry.

  • What is Molecular Biology?: This is Stanford University’s comprehensive article covering molecular biology, from the basics to its origins to its current applications.
  • Career Information: This resource goes into detail about the career opportunities in molecular and cellular biology, like medicine, dentistry, physiology, immunology, and more.
  • Career Opportunities: Harvard’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Department presents this list of links to biology jobs for their students.

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Neurobiologists/Neuroscientists

Nuerobiology or neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, retina, sensory neurons, ganglia, and nerves. Neuroscientists make an average annual salary of $60-$90,000, depending on where in the country they practice.

  • What is Neurobiology/Neuroscience?: This article provides all the basic facts about neuroscience and its multidiciplinary nature.
  • Career Information: This Johns Hopkins University resource sets out to answer the question “What can I do with a major in neuroscience?” It has an overview, career options, career preparation, and more.
  • Career Opportunities: This is NueroJobs, an online neuroscience career center brought to you by the Society for Neuroscience (SFN). You can view jobs, post resumes, and more. SFN is also a great resource for information about neuroscience and what’s going on in the industry.

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Physiologists

Phsyiology is the study of the functioning of living organisism, in other words, how organisms work. It is a very holistic discipline—physiologists often study individual organisms or elements, but they always strive to fit the pieces into the big picture.

  • What is Physiology?: Learn what physiology is, what you’ll learn in pursuing a physiology degree, and what kind of research opportunities you’ll have from the Dartmouth Medical School’s Department of Physiology.
  • Career Information: This article gives a general description of physiology, then goes into career options, typical employers, and salary and employment outlook.
  • Career Opportunities: This site offers a list of health-, wellness-, and fitness-related organizations offering jobs for physiology majors and professionals. It also has a list of general employment and jobhunting sites at both a national and local level.

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Zoologists

Zoology is all about animals—studying their structure, function, behavior, evolution, and interaction with their environments. Zoologists can take a basic or an applied science approach, either simply studying animals for its own sake or studying them in order to find information to directly benefits human, like medicines or animal therapy.

  • What is Zoology?: This North Dakota State University article is a great, simple introduction to zoology. It covers the basics of the discipline and the different approaches you can take with it.
  • Career Information: This is a great and comprehensive PDF from Oklahoma State University. It’s called “What can I do with a degree in Zoology” and answers just that in detail. It talks about the skills you will develop, potential career paths, types of employers, related careers, and more. It also provides a list of job and internship websites.
  • Career Opportunities: This Michigan State University resource is all about finding a job in zoology. It lists tools for identifying employers of interest, websites that regularly post zoology jobs, and more.

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Other Biologists

There are a lot of biology fields out there, so make sure you do your homework and find the one that’s right for you. These links provide a list of biology specializations, general career information for biologists, and a link to a biology job board to help you on your career path.

  • List of Biology Fields: This is a list of 50 sample biology careers with links to more information.
  • Career Information: This is a University of Texas resource that covers career options for biology majors. It goes over skills, career paths, types of employers, career-related websites, and more.
  • Career Opportunities: This is BiologyJobs.com, a comprehensive job database for biology majors and professionals.

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