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Why Earn a Biology Degree?
Biology degrees help to prepare college students with the skills and knowledge necessary to operate as a scientist, particularly in the study of life. Biology is known as one of the basic sciences. It emphasizes the scientific study of life from the smallest living organisms to the largest.
Through an intensive cross-discipline studies, biology majors will learn about how living organisms operate. Biology majors will enroll in academics in life science tracks to learn to analyze organisms through the lens of various organs and chemical reactions responsible for giving and maintaining life forms.
Degrees in biology begin as 2-year programs at the associate degree level and continue all the way up through the doctoral level. Independent research positions typically require an individual to have an advanced degree such as a PhD. A curriculum in biology may include academic courses such as:
- Calculus & Statistics
- Molecular Biology
- Human Anatomy & Physiology
- Cell Biology
- Organic Chemistry
Find the Best Biology Degrees
To successfully prepare for a fruitful career in biology, you will need to start pursuing a career in earnest while you are in high school by taking all the required math, science, chemistry, and general biology degree courses.
Future biology students seeking specialized or general biology degrees will need to follow a series of best practices to logically progress from student to gainfully employed in a desired capacity after college. The steps outlining the path to finding the best biology degrees include:
Step 1 – Research Colleges
The first step in your journey to earning your biology degree is to research top ranked colleges and universities that fit your professional goals and objectives.
To prudently research the best online biology degrees and top ranked colleges by state, you can leverage the information found on this resource page and our proprietary matching portal. Our affordable online biology degree search tools allow a student to quickly gather school-specific admissions information from an accredited university office along with important financial aid eligibility and net price calculations.
Following which, we recommend prospective general biology majors read The Complete Guide to the College Admissions Process and How to Reduce the Cost of College.
After spending the time to create your personal priority list and digesting our valuable college resources, simply request information from schools offering the best biology degree program for you. By learning more about colleges of interest, you can winnow your list down to a short list of top college programs that offer top degrees in biology.
Step 2 – Apply to College
The next step in the process is to invest the time to apply to colleges offering an affordable online biology degree program. Take the time to understand each school’s curricular approach, expectations, biology department, net price, curriculum requirements, financial aid packages, and the best online college options for you.
Distance learning offered by online colleges have quickly become the fastest growing segment within higher education for many reasons. The best online colleges offer substantive benefits for earning a biology degree online may include the inherent: flexibility, cost savings, access, financial aid, accreditation, pace, degree options, and quality programming.
Step 3 – Attend School
Once you have gained admissions to the college or university of your choice, you will need to complete orientation and register for classes in biology. A bachelor of science degree in biology will typically take a student four years of full time work to complete while part time students can expect a longer time to completion.
Alternatively, the best online colleges offering master’s degrees take an additional 2-3 years beyond a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, a PhD biology degree will take an additional five to six years of school which includes a dissertation project.
During your undergraduate work towards a biology degree, you will need to focus on building relevant, transferable skills while in school. Additionally, experts recommend you invest substantive time involved in valuable, relevant research projects to help provide exposure to current industry trends.
Step 4 – Graduation, Work, Grow
After you graduate from an accredited college or university with your degree in biology, you will be eligible apply for jobs in a variety of related fields. Whether biology students elect to choose to enter the field as a microbiologist, biological scientist, or molecular biologist we highly recommend you focus on being a lifelong learner to grow in your field in perpetuity. Experts suggest a biology major attend workshops, conventions, taking college courses, and continuing education courses to help grow and advance in your desired field.
Employment & Popular Biology Jobs
A typical career in biology will require at least a bachelor's degree. Entry level positions will find biologists working in laboratory settings as assistants. Similarly, higher level positions require higher level degrees. The areas of study covered by a biology program are numerous and the more education often translates to a higher degrees of specialization.
Many will enter microbiology, biochemistry, or biophysics related fields through study. Research positions will typically involve pursuing applicable technologies or medicines through biological science and research to assist in the curing of disease or produce medications. Environmental biologists will study the effects of encroachment or other factors on the environment, and how to reduce or reverse such effects.
The need for qualified biological scientists is expected to increase of the next decade as the demand for technological and medical breakthroughs rise due to the aging population and the interest in wildlife and environmental preservation increases. Career opportunities will be competitive as the most talented and accomplished graduates will fill positions as they open.
The average salary for a biologist is $74,960 per year, with researchers earning much higher salaries. Combining a specialized trade with a growing sector and above average pay appears to be a winning recipe for future success after successfully navigating qualifying higher education.
Of surveyed biologists, 32% currently hold a bachelor's degree in biology while 57% have a master's degree. The remaining biologists surveyed have a post-baccalaureate certificate in addition to a bachelor's degree in a related biology field.
Top Careers in Biology
There are a wide range of career paths biology students can follow after earning a degree from an accredited college or university. We have listed out a few common examples below to help you visualize the variations that exist in the field of biology. Career paths in biology can include tracks in:
Environmental Conservation & Management: Biologists passionate about the environment can pursue with a variety of organizations in a number of capacities. In fact, it is not uncommon for a biologist to become a marine biologist, park ranger, zoologist, or wildlife biologist.
Health Care: Biologists can work in the health care industry may be placed in charge of increasing public awareness of a contagion or researching how to eradicate a specific disease. Positions such as these will often require a graduate degree where additional research, knowledge, and skills will come to fruition within the nexus of health care.
Education: Biologists working in the education field may work for a college, high school, museum, conservatory, aquariums, park, nature center, or in the field collecting data.
Research Biology: Research biologists utilize the latest research methods and cutting-edge tools and techniques to gather relevant data about an area of research. Empirical data can be gathering in a lab or in the natural environment, albeit domestic or international locations.
Forensics: A biology major interested in human forensics could launch a career as a forensic biotechnician, medical examiner, forensic pathologist, crime scene investigator, forensic anthropologist, criminalist, crime lab analyst, forensic toxicologist, forensic scientist, forensic psychologist, forensic document examiner, forensic psychiatrist, or forensic computer examiner.
Journalism & Graphic Design: Jobs are required to correctly illustrate biology textbooks, websites, journals, and magazines. As a result, publishers and media outlets seek out biology majors to add credibility and depth to projects or departments within their organization.
Biotechnology: As a subset of biological science, biotechnologists extend learning in a field of work to improve existing products on the market within specialties such as agriculture, medicine, genetics, nanoparticles, cell biology, molecular biology, pharmacy, and food science.
Politics: Political biologists are called upon to consult with legislators and private industry for topics such as environmental protection, environmental law, and various related biology issues.
Math: Mathematical biology is a relatively new field of study built upon deep analytics and advanced computer models for use in complex research projects in field such as biotechnology, genetics, and cell biology.
Business & Economics: Biologists with a business concentration may pursue employment opportunities with small and large multinational corporations. As an example, employment with a pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide deep scientific insights to aid research initiatives and lend credibility to management, marketing, and public relations teams.
How Much Do Biologists Make?
The median annual income for a biologist will vary depending on your area of specialty, geographic location, job duties, hours worked, organization type, and work experience. Below we have gathered averages of associated careers in biology to help you understand the income ranges by occupation type.
Biochemist: The annual median income for a biochemist is $82,180 with an 8% growth rate expected over the coming decade with some 11,900 job openings projected.
College Biology Teacher: Median income for a post-secondary biology teacher is $76,650 with a 14% growth rate projection equating to 21,800 new job openings over the coming decade.
Biological Scientist: Median income for a biological scientist is $74,790 a year with an expected steady employment projection over the coming decade.
Biological Technician: The annual median income as a biological technician is currently $42,520 with an expected growth rate of 8% which translates to some 26,000 new job openings over the coming decade.
Biomedical Engineering: Annual median income for a biomedical engineer is $85,620 based on the latest data available. Jobs in biomedical engineering are expected to grow at a 14% clip over the coming decade resulting in 10,900 new job openings during that time.
Molecular & Cellular Biologist: Median annual income for a cellular and molecular biologist is $74,790 with a steady job growth projected over the coming ten year period.
Additional Resources for Biologists
Students intrigued by the best online biology degrees offered may also consider online degrees in tracks such as:
- Criminal Justice
- Physical Therapy
- Public Health
- Liberal Arts
- Nursing Education
- Computer Science
- Political Science
- Environmental Science
Top Resources for Biology Majors
Additional resources for a biology major can be obtained from third-parties such as a regional and national trade group, institute, or associations. The top ranked national organizations offering insights and support for biology professionals include the following associations: