If you ask the Assumption Career Development and Internship Center or check out a list of alumni who were biology majors, you might be surprised at the diversity of industries, careers and locations where biology students land. With a bachelor’s degree in biology, one might guess a graduate would end up in positions in the medical, research or education field. But successful science careers can also be found in business, government, agriculture, communications and more. Here are five exciting careers in which a biology bachelor’s degree can be an excellent asset.
Science Journalist or Science Writer
The science world is always in need of scientific thinkers who possess the ability to explain complex, jargon-filled science language in a manner that makes it understandable to a non-scientific audience. The Science Literacy Project says, “Today’s scientific developments affect all of us… the general public needs to grasp not only the science itself, but also its interaction with economics, politics and public policy.” Science journalism needs strong communicators with equally strong understanding of science, research methods and the funding behind research. Some great examples of award-winning science journalism include Science Friday, Smithsonian Magazine, or the PBS science series NOVA.
Conservation or Environmental Scientist
Conservation is a growing field focused on solving current environmental problems and conserving the natural world. Conservation Scientists and Environmental Scientists often work for government agencies, privately owned lands or in social advocacy organizations. There are many kinds of opportunities to get involved in conservation – land, lake, stream or sea – with responsibilities that may include: monitoring forestry, water quality, animal populations; assuring compliance with government regulations and habitat protections; establishing plans for managing resources; advising farmers, farm managers, and ranchers on how they can improve their land for agricultural purposes and to control erosion; and more.
Lab Skills Required! Biological technicians use their lab skills to apply methodology in carrying out studies and tests. Lab technician positions are needed in a number of areas – hospitals, non-profit research centers, government agencies – even in places you might not have considered, like testing pharmaceuticals or a restaurant’s newest recipe. If you’re interested in getting these lab skills, start becoming involved in research now.
Science Policy Analyst or Researcher
If you’re interested in impacting government-science relations, a policy analyst – an active observer of the political world – is a place to start. Science Policy expert Heather Reiff writes that her main responsibilities as a science policy analyst include “communicating science to policy makers, drafting policies that impact research, monitoring legislation and informing scientists about the implications of legislation for their research.” Policy Analysts can be found in government offices, lobbying groups, and nonprofit organizations. Other areas of government or policy for biologists could include an administrative role or researcher for a nonprofit public interest group, waste management technician, water quality control specialist, lobbyist, regulator and more.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) defines that biotechnology “harnesses cellular and bio-molecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.” Biotech has been used for more than 6,000 years, but today, it is being used in a number of industries, such as medical, agriculture, natural resources, etc. If you’re interested in applying your biology degree to developing new products that “heal, fuel and feed the world” biotechnology might be the area to apply the skills you’ve learned. Check out actionbioscience.org for information about various topics in biotechnology.
For more ideas and possible careers of interest, visit the American Institute of Biological Sciences’ career information or talk to your classmates, professors and advisers.