Image courtesy of Filip Bunkens
Medical school is a popular path for many bio majors (which is great, considering there are still so few female doctors), but becoming an M.D. isn’t your only option, and many bio majors like to keep their options open. The skills you’ve honed for during your years in school will help you succeed in many roles you may not have considered before.
Here are eight jobs for biology majors that might interest you.
1. Financial analyst
Yep, even though this role isn’t directly related to science, you’ll still use your undergraduate training in math to succeed. Financial analysts can work for mutual funds, banks, hedge funds, securities firms, and other financial institutions, or you might work for a business. Analysts with a biology background might be interested in focusing on businesses and clients in the health, medical, and environmental fields. If you're still in school, consider adding a few business or mathematics courses to your schedule to build out your experience. A bachelor’s degree in biology is enough to get you an entry-level job, and most financial analysts make an average of $61,000 per year.
Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing
If you are truly passionate about biology, you should consider becoming a teacher or professor. Whether you want to teach health education to kiddos at a high school or teach a biology 101 course at a university, your expertise in the science will benefit you greatly. Some positions may require further education or certifications—to become a health educator you’ll need Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential, and to become a university professor you’ll need to pursue a Ph.D. in the field. Biology professors make an average salary of $46,000.
3. Genetic counselor
Genetic counselors are healthcare professionals that provide genetic disease risk assessments and help patients understand inherited conditions. You might counsel clients on the risks of inheriting a genetic condition, the chances of showing symptoms of genetic disorders later in life, or even help clients process emotions associated with a diagnosis. You’ll need to pursue a master’s degree in genetic counseling to pursue this career. Genetic counselors make an average of $43,000 per year.
Read more: How to Get a Better Job Sooner Than Later
4. Forensic scientist
Do you constantly have Law & Order: SVU playing in the background like I do? You can use your biology degree to follow in the footsteps of forensic psychiatrist and criminal profiler Dr. Huang. All you need is a bachelor’s degree (and some on-the-job training) to help you analyze evidence in criminal investigations. As a forensic scientist, you can work on site at crime scenes collecting evidence or in the evidence lab analyzing samples. Forensic scientists make roughly $58,000 per year.
5. Dietician nutritionist
If you’re a biology major and have a passion for food and nutrition, becoming a dietician nutritionist could be the perfect career path for you. Dietician nutritionists promote healthy dietary and exercise behaviors by advising individuals and corporations on good health practices and disease prevention. In addition to your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to pass a state exam and obtain the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. Dietician nutritionists make around $51,000 annually.
You could use your biology degree to study animal behavior for a job as a zoologist. With just your undergraduate degree, you can apply to work at state wildlife agencies, zoos, aquariums, museums, and more. Depending on which environment you work in, your responsibilities might include caring for animals, designing animal habitats, conducting experiments, or writing research papers. After testing the waters in an entry-level position, most zoologists go back to school for a master’s in animal science or zoology and go on to make close to $62,000 annually.
7. Patent attorney
If you’re interested in the intersection of science and law, you could become a patent attorney. As a biology major, you’ll be able to draw on your scientific knowledge in cases involving pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, environmental policies, and more. After college, you’ll need to get your juris doctorate (J.D.), then pass the BAR exam, and many patent attorneys go on to pursue higher degrees in science as well. But all that education pays off, as the average salary for a patent attorney is $137,000.
8. Medical sales representative
Medical sales reps combine their love of science and stellar interpersonal skills to sell medical supplies, medical IT products, and drugs to hospitals and medical clinics. With your background in biology, you’ll be able to explain the benefits, side effects, and mechanisms of the products you represent. All you need is a bachelor’s degree and soft skills, like communication and negotiation, to get an entry-level sales rep position. Medical product sales representatives make around $55,000 every year.