What Can You Do With a Biology Degree?

What can you do with a biology degree?

Are you interested in how life works at its core, from the tiniest cells to complex ecosystems? Do you find the diversity of life forms and how they interact with their environments fascinating? Or are you looking for opportunities to make a positive impact on society, whether it’s through health care, conservation or research?

Prospective college students who desire to make a difference with their curiosity and problem-solving skills will find multiple paths and opportunities with a biology degree. If you have questions about what you can do with a biology degree and if this field aligns with your interests, goals and aspirations for the future, we have you covered.

What Is a Biology Degree?

A biology degree is an academic qualification where you study life in its many forms. You learn how living things function, grow and reproduce, as well as how they change to and fit within their particular environment.

Students have a few biology degree options to pursue:

  • Associate degree: An Associate of Science Degree in Biology consists of two years of coursework that includes the fundamentals of biology along with courses in chemistry, mathematics and English communication and writing. This degree prepares students for entry-level positions in different industries or transfer into a four-year bachelor’s degree.
  • Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree in biology is attainable as a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS). A BS program emphasizes research, laboratory work and mathematics, while a BA course includes more liberal arts subjects. Students start with biology fundamentals and eventually branch within specialized areas of the field.
  • Master’s degree: With a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degree in biology, students build upon existing knowledge. By combining lectures, laboratory work and seminars, students aim to complete a research project or thesis on a specialized topic.
  • Doctoral degree: Depending on the focus area, a doctorate in biology includes many years of research projects and dissertations. Students who complete their doctorate degree in biology can work as college instructors or head laboratories in government or industrial settings.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Biology Degree?

Biology consists of many divisions, some of which are further divided into sub-branches due to their massive scope. The major biology fields include:

  1. Zoology: Those in the field of zoology specialize in the science of animals. Careers include wildlife biologists, veterinarians and park rangers.
  2. Botany: If you like working with plants, you’ll enjoy a career as an arborist, florist and even a farm manager.
  3. Microbiology: Many fields and careers incorporate microbiology, including those in immunology, virology and food science.
  4. Ecology: Those with an interest in nature and sustainability have many career choices, for example, environmental scientist, agricultural technician, conservation officer, forester and landscape architect.
  5. Genetics: The study of DNA in plants, animals and people is a great field for those interested in multidisciplinary and innovative research projects.
  6. Medical science: Biology often acts as a pre-professional program for students aspiring to become physicians, dentists, pharmacists or psychologists.
  7. Biochemistry: With biochemistry research capabilities, you can enter the workforce as a forensic biologist, endocrinologist, life science consultant or research scientist.
  8. Marine biology: Marine biologists, fish culturists and marine archeologists are becoming increasingly relevant due to the effects of climate change and the development of sustainable products and practices.
  9. Anatomy: Anatomy students learn about the internal structures that encompass people, animals and other organisms. This could lead to careers in nursing, pharmacology, occupational therapy and health education.
  10. Biotechnology: This field combines scientific principles with technology. Some biotechnologists may help produce antibiotics, while others analyze and experiment with research processes.

Average Pay for Biology Jobs in Massachusetts

Your average salary with a biology degree in Massachusetts will depend on the type of degree, field of expertise and city in which you work. The average pay for people working in jobs requiring a biology degree is around $174,00 annually but can range between $90,500 and $242,000. Earning more or qualifying for some positions may require you to pursue an education beyond an associate or bachelor’s degree. For example, biology professors are one of the best-paid positions in the biology field.

Other high-paying jobs that a biology major can be the first step to include:

  • Oncologist
  • Neurologist
  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Podiatrist
  • Pharmacist
  • Optometrist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Biochemist
  • Biophysicist
  • Veterinarian

Is a Biology Degree Worth It?

Biology is a good degree to get as the opportunities are varied and endless. Also, biology falls under the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) umbrella, meaning those with a biology degree have skills that are in high demand in the job market.

Those with a biology degree have skills that are in high demand in the job market.

Some subjects in the field of biology can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Employers often seek applicants with a biology degree for their specialized knowledge, research skills, adaptability and attention to detail. Biology remains a popular choice to study as graduates contribute to innovation in different fields with their interdisciplinary skills.

Biology Major FAQs

We’ve answered some commonly asked questions for students interested in studying biology.

Is Biology a Good Major?

If you’re curious about animals, plants, people, microorganisms or ecosystems and how everything is integrated, you’re well suited for a biology major. You should be analytical and adaptable, with a strong interest in science, research and investigation. Additionally, you’ll learn effective communication skills to present your findings and collaborate with others from different disciplines.

What Can You Specialize in With a Biology Degree?

Since biology stretches across many areas, it’s a good idea to research different disciplines within the biology field to find your specialization of interest. A biology degree will equip you with many interdisciplinary skills you can take throughout your studies and career, whether you decide to study zoology, botany, microbiology or biochemistry.

What Is the Best Job With a Biology Degree?

From conducting environmental impact assessments to treating body ailments, people holding a biology degree play an important part in ensuring living things thrive. Many suitable high-paying jobs that require a biology major exist. However, specializing in a particular field should be beneficial from a monetary and personal perspective. When you choose to study biology, you make the choice to understand the world so you can make it a better place.

Start Your Path in Biology at The Mount

Start your path in biology at MWCC

Starting with an associate degree in biology will give you the first two years of a typical biology program and a good foundation for its different paths. Mount Wachusett Community College provides quality education at an affordable price. We also have transfer agreements with other colleges, so you can easily transfer your earned credits toward a bachelor’s degree and beyond.

Request for more information on how to get started at The Mount or start your application process online.