Biology is much more than lab coats and lecture halls. A degree in the study of living organisms can send you and your career to any number of exciting places, from the deepest depths of the ocean to the vast limits of outer space. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a meaningful area of life and society that biology doesn’t have a hand in. Maybe you want to help preserve the planet or develop healthier food goods. Alternatively, perhaps you’re more interested in catching criminals or safeguarding our national parks. Biology can open up all of these professional paths and many more.
To start, let’s go over exactly what “biology” constitutes in the first place. While many may associate the word solely with cells and nuclei, the subject entails far more than the microscopic. Defined as the study of all living organisms, biology is all about understanding the processes driving and sustaining all forms of life, from the tiniest bacteria and viruses to entire planets and ecosystems. So, as one can imagine, with a field of study so broad also comes an absolute smorgasbord of potential careers to choose from.
Now, as is the case with most jobs, earning a master’s degree (or doctorate) in Biology will invariably open up even more potential roles in the life sciences, such as biomedical engineering or genetic counseling. For the purposes of this article, however, we’re going to focus on jobs generally open to those with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Here are just a handful of the many fascinating and difference-making careers waiting for biology majors.
Hit the high seas with a career as a marine biologist. It may not exactly be a pirate’s life, but marine biology is a great way to combine a passion for all things aquatic with scientific acumen. Professionals working in these roles dedicate their lives to studying our planet’s oceans and the vibrant, complex ecosystems that exist (and persist) under the sea. Marine biologists work to understand, predict, and protect the marine world. A career as a marine biologist can mean deep sea diving in remote locations, consulting for environmental organizations, or working at a local museum.
Imagine spending all day every day surrounded by beautiful scenery and awe-inspiring nature and getting paid for it. It may sound like fiction, but a life that lovely is entirely possible if you choose to pursue a career as a park ranger. Responsible for protecting and preserving our country’s majestic natural resources and local, state, and national parks, the day-to-day functions of a park ranger will vary considerably depending on where they are stationed (a national park in Alaska versus one in California, for example).
A bachelor’s degree in biology can help you succeed as a park ranger. After all, who better to protect nature than someone who has spent countless hours studying its intricate processes?
Believe it or not, biology can even help you enter into the world of law enforcement via forensic science. Forensic scientists assist with police investigations by carrying out DNA testing and analyses on articles of biological evidence such as blood or hair. Other typical duties and forensic specialities include toxicology reports, fingerprinting, and ballistics. While you typically won’t be called out into the field to crime scenes, it’s not uncommon for forensic scientists to testify in court regarding their work.
While a professional path like this certainly won’t be for everyone, the very fact that it’s available to biology graduates is a perfect example of just how many different places the biological sciences can take your career.
How have human activities impacted the physical landscape and processes of our planet? Conversely, how does the terrain and climate of a given area impact the people living there? Geographers, in a nutshell, work to answer these lofty questions by assessing the Earth’s distribution of land, life, and features. If hot-button modern issues like urbanization, sustainable development, and climate change interest you, a career as a geographer may be a great fit.
Not all scientists have a way with words, but if you’ve always seen yourself as something of a writer, a degree in biology can also open the door for a career as a scientific content writer. Whether it’s for a website, magazine, or publishing house, your expertise in biology will make you an ideal choice to detail and explain complex scientific material in a simpler, easier-to-read-and-understand format.