Biology is a broad field of study that encompasses a vast array of potential careers. Even so, it can be challenging to find jobs in biology that require only a bachelor's degree. Many biology majors go on to graduate school to become research scientists or healthcare providers before joining the labor pool. However, there are some cool biology careers you can pursue with an undergraduate degree. Explore a selection of interesting biology jobs, and you just might find the perfect way to put your bachelor's degree to work!
Bachelor's Level Biology Careers at a Glance
To get a good idea of the types of jobs you can be eligible for with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in biology and what they pay, review the chart below. The jobs are listed in alphabetical order. Information about what each job entails is provided after the table.
|Biology Career Field||Estimated Annual Pay|
|Food Science Technician||$41,000|
|Pharmaceutical Sales Representative||$88,000|
|Science Textbook Sales||$49,000|
|Water Quality Specialist||$60,000|
|Wildlife Refuge Specialist||$43,000|
Biological technicians provide research assistance and support to scientific researchers in laboratory settings. Some also work in field settings, providing on-ground support to scientists who are conducting field-based studies. They often collect samples or data and also set up, break down, and maintain laboratory or field research equipment. They may also be responsible for maintaining an inventory of lab or field research supplies and placing orders. Some biological technicians work for private companies or nonprofit organizations, while others work for government agencies or in college or university settings. The median pay for biological technicians is just over $46,000 per year.
Working as an extension agent is a good career option for biology degree holders who are interested in and knowledgeable about agriculture. They work for land-grant universities, but most don't actually work on the campus of the university with which their position is associated. Instead, they are assigned to the extension office in a specific county within the state where the university is based. They function as local experts on agriculture topics, including things like native plants, flower or vegetable gardening, agribusiness, livestock, and more. They teach workshops, plan community events, and work individually with people who have agriculture-related questions. The average pay for extension agents is around $50,000 per year.
Food Science Technician
Food science technicians work in food-related research, development, and/or production. In laboratory settings, they help food scientists with experiments and laboratory tests. In manufacturing, they play a role in developing and testing new food products, production processes, or food packaging. They also provide quality assurance to ensure that food items meet standards before being shipped to customers or distribution centers. The duties of food science technicians include setting up, breaking down, cleaning, and properly storing laboratory and production equipment. The median compensation for food science technicians is around $41,000 per year.
If you are fascinated by the woods, you may enjoy pursuing a career as a forester once you complete your biology degree. This is a great job for people who enjoy planting, growing, and managing trees on a large scale. Working as a forester involves all aspects of managing forests or timberland. Some foresters work for the National Forest Service or state agencies that oversee protected woodlands on state property. Others work for logging companies, where they are responsible for managing, harvesting, and replanting timber resources. Whether foresters work for private businesses or government agencies, conservation and restoration are integral to their work. The median pay for foresters is around $64,000 per year.
A horticulturist works with the processes of plant life that include plant growth and production. Most horticulture jobs that are available to people with a B.S. degree involve various aspects of working with plants, such as landscaping or nursery plant production or sales. Many horticulturists operate their own nurseries, greenhouses, or landscaping businesses. Some operate market gardens or flower farms or provide education or coaching services to consumers who want to learn more about growing plants. There are opportunities for horticulturists to work in research, but those types of jobs generally require a graduate degree. The average pay for horticulturists is around $40,000 per year.
A marine biologist studies and researches the ecosystems, biology, and interaction of animals and plants in aquatic environments, such as oceans, coastal lands, wetlands, and marshes. Marine biologists with bachelor's degrees typically conduct field research and do lab work. Duties often involve observing marine life, tagging and releasing marine animals, collecting samples of water or aquatic plants, analyzing data, and contributing to lab reports. They may be employed by a wide variety of organizations, such as universities, governments agencies, nonprofit organizations, or private corporations. The average pay for marine biologists is around $40,000 per year.
If you're a biology major who also has photography skills, you may enjoy working as a medical photographer. This is one of the few science-related jobs in the medical field that doesn't require an advanced degree or a specialized license. Medical photographers are responsible for using a camera to record medical procedures or to capture images of human anatomy for the purpose of visually recording various stages of injuries or illnesses. Their work may be used for research, diagnostic, or legal purposes, and may also be used in scientific publications and educational videos. The average pay for medical photographers is around $45,000 per year.
If you like the idea of showcasing public lands to visitors, you'll love putting your biology degree to work as a park ranger. Some park rangers spend most of their time developing and/or conducting educational programs designed to inform and entertain park visitors. They may lead hikes or tours of park facilities or teach people about the park's history or terrain. Some focus more on greeting and directing visitors while others spend their time managing park resources and/or helping to ensure that guests are able to have a safe and enjoyable time while they are visiting the park. The average pay for park rangers is around $40,000 per year. Federal park ranger jobs tend to pay more than state positions.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
For biology majors who are more interested in working with people than doing lab work or getting their hands dirty in the great outdoors, pharmaceutical sales is a great career option to consider. People who do this kind of work are employed by pharmaceutical companies. Their primary job function is to generate sales of the medications they represent, which requires encouraging physicians to prescribe them to patients who can benefit from them. They spend a lot of time visiting medical practices and providing presentations to medical providers and clinical support staff members. The average compensation for a pharmaceutical sales representative is around $88,000 per year.
Science Textbook Sales
If you like the idea of working in sales but are more interested in the education sector than pharma, consider going to work as a sales representative for the science division of a publishing company. Your knowledge of biology will help you understand the needs of and effectively communicate with K-12 and/or higher education faculty members who are in charge of selecting the textbooks that their students will use in class. Textbook sales representatives are usually assigned a geographic territory within which they call on teachers and professors to encourage them to adopt their company's books and educational technology products. The average pay for publishing sales representatives is around $49,000 per year.
With a bachelor's degree in biology, you may enjoy going to work as a science tutor. Biology is a tough subject, so high school and college students often seek someone to help them learn what they need to know to pass or do well in their biology classes. Many tutoring jobs are primarily gig work, allowing people to choose when and how many hours to work each day or week. There are quite a few online tutoring companies that hire or contract biology graduates. If you're entrepreneurial, you can probably find clients in your local area on your own. The average annual pay for science tutors is around $37,000 per year. Keep in mind that many tutors work part-time. Hourly pay varies from $10 - $40.
Water Quality Specialist
If you put your bachelor's degree in biology to work as a water quality specialist, you will be able to play an important role in ensuring that people in the community where you work have access to safe drinking water. Water quality specialists typically work for city or county water utilities or private businesses that perform this function for municipalities. Their work focuses on quality assurance specific to water and sewer systems. They inspect and test these systems and their component parts, such as pipes and pumps. They also help with the installation and maintenance of water system equipment. The average compensation for water quality specialists is around $60,000 per year.
Wildlife biologists typically work for state or federal government agencies in roles that involve studying and protecting wildlife in their natural habitats. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, hires people with a B.S. in biology to work as wildlife biologists. These jobs are primarily fieldwork and involve things like measuring and identifying changes in the population of animals and monitoring their movements. They also maintain, restore, and improve wildlife habitats. The median annual pay for wildlife biologists is just over $66,000 per year.
Wildlife Refuge Specialist
Wildlife refuge specialists are employed by government agencies and other organizations that own and/or manage areas that are specifically designated as wildlife refuges. Wildlife refuge specialists have to be very knowledgeable about wildlife and environmental protection laws. Their work primarily focuses on the conservation, restoration, and protection of the various species whose habitats lie within the bounds of the refuge for which they work. They spend a lot of time outdoors, though their jobs do require some in-office work and interaction with government and law enforcement officials as well as members of the public. The average salary for wildlife refuge specialists is around $43,000 per year.
Zookeepers are responsible for monitoring and caring for animals in zoos and other similar settings, such as wildlife sanctuaries or aquariums. This includes not only caring for the animals themselves, but also making sure that their habitats are safe and in good condition. Zookeepers do not provide healthcare to the animals in their charge, but they do monitor how the animals are doing and notify the veterinary and behavioral staff if there are signs of potential problems. They also make sure that the animals are being properly fed and that they are receiving all prescribed medications. The average pay for zookeepers is just under $38,000 per year.
Interesting Careers in Biology
An undergraduate degree in biology offers you many career options to consider. Whether you want to work in a lab or industrial setting, explore the outdoors, or enter the corporate world, there are quite a few options to consider. These can be great early-career jobs or long-term career opportunities. If you decide to go to graduate school or seek a professional license in a biology-related field, you'll be able to leverage your experience in jobs like these to help you build an even more advanced career.