Biology could very well be the most life-fulfilling career path there is since it involves studying life itself. So if you’re seeking a promising lucrative career in this field, here are some of the highest-paying jobs with a biology degree that you may want to consider:
- Highest Paying Jobs With A Biology Degree
- The Importance Of A Biology Degree
- The Highest Paying Jobs With A Biology Degree
- Physical Therapist Assistant
- Forensic Scientist
- Environmental Scientist
- Agricultural & Food Scientist
- Molecular Biologist
- Genetic Counselor
- Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
- Registered Nurse
- Physician Assistant
- Jobs In Related Industries
Highest Paying Jobs With A Biology Degree
There are many different careers that a person with a degree in biology can pursue, and the specific job opportunities and salaries available can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the person’s area of specialization within biology, their level of education and experience, and the specific industry or job market they are working in.
We’ve listed the jobs below. Note, some may require additional credentials.
The Importance Of A Biology Degree
Biology, simply put, is a natural science discipline that involves the study of all living things. It is a very large and broad field due to the variety of life forms on Earth, so specific fields are categorized by the life scale or the types of organisms studied.
The scope of biology covers a vast variety of sub-disciplines like anatomy, physiology, and other fields that focus on whole organisms and even different topics like animal behavior, population biology, ecology, and systematics, which study groups of organisms. Fields like genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology all study the molecules of life inside the cells and how they help the body function, while cell biology, on the other hand, is an important field that focuses on the basic unit of life.
Other fields within biology tackle particular types of organisms, such as plants (botany), bacteria and other microbes (microbiology), viruses (virology), animals (zoology), wildlife biology, and marine biology. Some biologists also delve into a particular scale and organism, such as plant cell biology.
In recent years, cross-disciplinary research and the unification of scientific knowledge and investigation from different fields have significantly overlapped biology with other scientific disciplines. For example, chemistry, medicine, and physics, when integrated with biology, become biochemistry, biomedicine, and biophysics.
With its connection to the tenets of life, biology could very well be considered the mother of professions such as medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and pharmacology, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
Other sub-disciplines of biology include:
- Cell Biology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Developmental Biology
- Environmental Biology
- Evolutionary Biology
- Systematics / Taxonomy
The Highest Paying Jobs With A Biology Degree
Here are some of the best high-paying jobs you can get with a biology degree. Their average annual salaries are based on the latest USA national standards and data found on popular online job sites.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Glassdoor Average: $66,885
Indeed Average: $67,159
Comparably Average: $61,180
ZipRecruiter Average: $59,901
Overall Average: $63,781
A physical therapist assistant’s job is to help physical therapists care for patients. They do administrative tasks and help patients do exercises and treatments as prescribed.
To qualify as a PT assistant, a high school diploma (or equivalent) can suffice to enter a post-secondary education program for physical therapist assistants. Other programs require a bachelor’s degree, with units in chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, and algebra courses. Those who want to become physical therapy educators should get a master’s degree first.
Most states also require physical therapist assistants to be licensed by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
Glassdoor Average: $61,312
Indeed Average: $68,760
Comparably Average: $65,227
ZipRecruiter Average: $65,187
Overall Average: $65,122
Forensic scientists collect evidence at the scene of a crime and perform scientific and technical analysis in laboratories or offices to establish objective findings that can help investigate and prosecute perpetrators or absolve an innocent person from suspicion.
Given the nature of this profession, this field of study leaves no room for laziness. Students earning a degree in forensic science must be willing to devote time to study subjects such as biology, chemistry, human anatomy, pathophysiology, and toxicology, which often involve detailed class lectures, labs, and comprehensive exams.
Glassdoor Average: $70,439
Indeed Average: $62,095
Comparably Average: $70,735
ZipRecruiter Average: $66,500
Overall Average: $67,442
Environmental scientists study how molecules interact with one another in living organisms to perform the functions of life. They collect and compile environmental data from samples of air, soil, water, food, and other materials for scientific analysis. They’re also responsible analyze samples, surveys, and other information to identify and assess environmental threats and develop plans to prevent, control, or fix environmental problems like land or water pollution.
Aspiring environmental scientists need extensive knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental regulations, have excellent written and verbal communication skills, and effective analytical and problem-solving skills. Other companies also require applicants to have a wide knowledge of computer modeling, digital mapping, and global positioning systems (GPS) equipment.
Agricultural & Food Scientist
Glassdoor Average: $56,794
Comparably Average: $80,369
ZipRecruiter Average: $69,851
Overall Average: $68,044
Agricultural and food scientists help solve food, nutrition, and agricultural production problems, where they evaluate the nutritional quality of foods, develop new foods and food processing methods, test new ways to grow crops, control pests, and improve livestock production.
These scientists also conduct research and experiments to improve the productivity and sustainability of field crops and farm animals, create new food products, and develop better ways to process, package, and deliver them.
To qualify as an agricultural & food scientist, one must have a bachelor’s degree in food science or a related field. You can find them working at food manufacturers, government agencies, the military, and more.
Glassdoor Average: $73,062
Indeed Average: $76,254
Comparably Average: $67,334
ZipRecruiter Average: $77,973
Overall Average: $73,656
Molecular biologists examine plant, animal, or human genetics and their variations and relationships. Molecular biologists can work with DNA and RNA from humans, plants, animals, and other organisms while using their chemistry, physiology, genetics, physics, and biology knowledge.
Aside from having extensive knowledge of biology, environmental scientists need to be thorough and pay attention to detail, have mathematic skills, excellent written communication skills, analytical thinking skills, excellent verbal communication skills, and great initiative.
Glassdoor Average: $70,240
Indeed Average: $78,573
Comparably Average: $68,799
ZipRecruiter Average: $78,385
Overall Average: $73,999
Genetic counselors are specially-trained health professionals specializing in genetics, counseling, and medical ethics. They provide a critical service to people considering genetic testing by helping them identify their risk for certain disorders and assess individual or family risk for various inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and congenital disabilities.
These may be involved in cancer genetics, prenatal diagnosis, and carrier testing for genetic disorders. They also participate in diagnostic testing for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Genetic counselors must have effective communication skills to gather sensitive information from patients, interpersonal skills to counsel, empathize with patients and communicate sensitive information, and analytical skills and the ability to use their judgment to interpret a person’s hereditary risk of diseases and possible contributing factors.
Glassdoor Average: $71,292
Indeed Average: $86,068
Comparably Average: $90,179
ZipRecruiter Average: $58,102
Overall Average: $76,410
Biochemists work on the chemical makeup of living organisms and their processes, including DNA and proteins. They analyze blood and urine samples to determine them for certain diseases and plan and conduct complex projects in basic and applied research.
Additionally, they manage laboratory teams, monitor their work’s quality, and isolate, analyze, and synthesize proteins, fats, DNA, and other molecules.
Applicants usually need a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry or another related field to get an entry-level job in this field. However, if you want to work independently or on research projects, you’ll need a Ph.D.
Biochemists may be employed by government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other possible employers include pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, and research laboratories.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Glassdoor Average: $81,430
Indeed Average: $89,779
Comparably Average: $75,888
ZipRecruiter Average: $79,433
Overall Average: $81,633
Pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) are people tasked with informing clinicians, pharmacies, and other healthcare professionals about the potential medical benefits of their company’s product line. They frequently meet with healthcare professionals to describe the drug’s chemistry, uses, possible side effects, and potential interactions.
A good pharmaceutical sales rep should have excellent people skills as they will often interact with potential customers. They should have strong product knowledge, prospecting, and closing skills, have the determination for sales and be able to travel at a moment’s notice.
Higher education levels are often recommended for this post. Pharmaceutical companies generally only hire sales representatives with a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college. While a specific major isn’t required, aspirants who are pharmacology, pharmacy, chemistry, or biology graduates can offer a better advantage.
Glassdoor Average: $91,912
Indeed Average: $90,750
Comparably Average: $78,775
ZipRecruiter Average: $77,012
Overall Average: $84,612
A registered nurse, or RN, typically monitors patients, administers medications, keeps records, consults with healthcare providers, and works to promote health, prevent illness and help patients cope with illnesses according to the policies and standards of their employer. Nurses also educate patients and the public about various medical conditions.
While it’s common for nurses to work primarily in hospitals, physician’s offices, and surgical clinics, they can also work in assisted living facilities, patient homes, large corporations, schools, and even military and government institutions.
As an RN, you can work with various patient populations and within many specializations. You can work in pediatrics, oncology, senior care, ambulatory care, rehabilitation, radiology, operations, family medicine, and more.
A registered nurse typically needs an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and must be licensed by the state where they plan to practice.
Glassdoor Average: $146,720
Indeed Average: $114,442
Comparably Average: $85,000
ZipRecruiter Average: $107,697
Overall Average: $113,465
Veterinarians are responsible for providing animals with medical and dietary care when needed most. They uphold a high standard of excellence in their professional skills and personal conduct to deliver treatment recommendations tailored specifically to a pet’s needs.
The work of the veterinarian isn’t just limited to treating animals hands-on. It’s also their responsibility to educate owners about their pet’s basic needs and treatments. If the animal in question is suffering from a certain condition, they prescribe animal medication and offer advice on how best to take care of them throughout every phase.
Veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM or VMD) degree at an accredited college of veterinary medicine. The program includes classroom, laboratory, and clinical components and generally takes 4 years to finish.
Glassdoor Average: $123,522
Indeed Average: $116,792
Comparably Average: $118,280
ZipRecruiter Average: $115,762
Overall Average: $118,589
Pharmacists are medication experts and help people with their medications. They prepare and dispense prescriptions, ensure medicines and doses are correct, prevent harmful drug interactions, and remind patients of their medications’ proper and recommended use.
Pharmacists perform routine quality control testing procedures on their company’s product line. They also need to prepare and maintain all necessary records required by federal, state, and local regulations.
Pharmacists are required to complete a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree, usually in a four-year pharmacy school program. Most PharmD programs require students to complete extensive prerequisite coursework before applying for admission. These courses include biology, microbiology, physics, math, statistics, and chemistry. Pharmacy schools also require prospective students to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and submit their test scores.
Glassdoor Average: $148,952
Indeed Average: $108,031
Comparably Average: $107,150
ZipRecruiter Average: $110,839
Overall Average: $118,743
Physician assistants (PAs) help provide medical treatment and services under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. They examine, diagnose and treat patients, provide health education, assist in surgery, and order medical tests.
The educational requirement is a master’s degree from an accredited physician assistant training program that meets the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) standards. Most biology jobs for physician assistants require at least 2 years of clinical experience working as a medical assistant or paramedic to qualify for formal training programs.
Glassdoor Average: $191,639
Indeed Average: $137,486
Comparably Average: $116,475
ZipRecruiter Average: $127,539
Overall Average: $143,285
Podiatrists are medical doctors specializing in diagnosing and treating foot, ankle, and related leg disorders. They diagnose and treat injuries, diseases, and other foot, ankle, and lower leg-related conditions. In some cases, prescribe medications and even perform surgery.
Podiatrists must have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from an accredited college of podiatric medicine. (A DPM program takes 4 years to finish) and hospital residency training in podiatric medicine and surgery. Aspirants must also pass state licensing examinations to practice.
Glassdoor Average: $187,315
Indeed Average: $185,879
Comparably Average: $150,838
ZipRecruiter Average: $173,516
Overall Average: $174,387
Dentists are important professionals in the medical and science industry. They perform routine dental checkups, procedures, and help patients maintain healthy teeth, gums, and oral health. In some cases, such as if a patient needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, a dentist can perform surgery on the jaw or mouth.
To become a dentist, students must attend dental school after receiving their undergraduate degree. Once they have completed dental school, students must get their Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree from a dental program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Finally, they must secure a state license to practice.
Glassdoor Average: $213,982
Indeed Average: $287,337
Comparably Average: $189,597
ZipRecruiter Average: $323,766
Overall Average: $253,671
Oncologists treat cancer and provide medical care for people diagnosed with cancer. An oncologist may also be called a cancer specialist. An oncologist will manage a patient’s care throughout the disease, from diagnosis to recovery or death.
The field of oncology has 3 major areas based on treatments: medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology. There, oncologists will then coordinate treatment plans and prescribe various types of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy, which may be conducive to the patient’s condition.
Doctors must comply with specific education and experience requirements to become licensed oncologists, which include a 4-year bachelor’s degree and 4 years of training at an accredited medical school. After they finish medical school, students will then begin training in oncology.
Once they graduate from medical school, aspiring oncologists must complete a residency program, followed by a fellowship in their chosen oncology subfield.
Biology is an important field of science that helps us understand how living things function, evolve, and interact. That way, advances in medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, and many other areas are made to improve the quality of living.
Being a comprehensive field, biology-related professions can be taxing and complicated, but generally pay well. If you’re considering treading this career path, it’s important that you equip yourself with the necessary degrees and skills to increase your chances of qualifying for a position.