If you are interested in the study of different life forms, their functions, composition and connection to the environment, an online degree program in biology may be an interesting option for you. In a world constantly changing under the impacts of pollution, disease, medical breakthroughs, and climate change, the need for biologists is projected to be on the increase.
A study of biology, often called the science of life, can open up career possibilities across multiple sectors such as healthcare, research, and teaching, to name a few.
If you’d like to earn a degree in biology but aren’t sure how you can fit it into your schedule — because you’re busy earning a living or have family responsibilities — an online degree program in biology might give you the flexibility you’re looking for.
Career Paths for Biology Majors
Career options for students of biology are dependent upon the level of qualification, choice of specialization, and experience. Take a look at the different degree levels and the possible career paths they could lead to:
- Associate degree in biology:Students with this level of degree can apply for entry-level positions, such as laboratory technician, agricultural or food science technician, a veterinary technician, and similar support roles.
- Bachelor’s degree in biology:Students with a bachelor’s degree can apply for entry-level positions as zoologists, marine biologists, wildlife biologists, and microbiologists, among others.
- Master’s degree in biology:Students who choose to complete a master’s program may qualify for more advanced positions in fields that require a significant knowledge of biology. Earning this graduate degree can also prepare you to study at the doctoral level.
- Doctoral degree in biology:Some doctoral degree programs may require students to have a few years of related work experience beforehand. This degree level can prepare you for roles in academia or research.
Occupations for Biology Majors
Common occupations for biology majors are listed below, along with their projected job growth rate and average annual wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2017):
With new research emerging on bacteria and their role in the environment and in human health, microbiologists who actually conduct this research may find that their skills are in demand. Microbiologists can find employment options across sectors like scientific research and development services, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing services, and agriculture and environmental services, among others.
- Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 8 percent
- Mean annual wage: $78,400
To improve the quality of human life, advancements in scientific and medical research are continually being made. Biological technicians who support these efforts can find employment opportunities across sectors like medicine manufacturing, hospitals, clinics, research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences, among others.
- Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 10 percent
- Mean annual wage: $47,410
Environmental Scientists and Specialists:
Caring for and preserving the limited and threatened environmental resources has become a more urgent concern and priority across the globe. The work of environmental scientists and specialists can help to minimize environmental hazards, reduce the impact of human activities on fragile ecosystems, and protect natural resources.
- Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 11 percent
- Mean annual wage: $76,220
Increasing advancements in animal veterinary sciences and rising pet-related expenditures are likely to be driving the growth in employment prospects for veterinarians. To become a veterinarian, students must complete a doctor of veterinary medicine degree program, but a bachelor’s degree in biology can familiarize students with core concepts and place them in good stead to gain admission into veterinary schools.
- Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 19 percent
- Mean annual wage: $101,530
Benefits of an Online Degree Program in Biology
Online biology degree programs can offer a rigorous education that is on par with their on-campus equivalents, along with flexible time options. Students who want to complete their degree online have a range of options to choose from.
- Online programs in biology may include a hybrid component which requires students to be on campus only for a limited amount of time, to complete coursework (such as laboratory work) that cannot be done online.
- Students with busy schedules can take advantage of asynchronous classes that let them access learning resources at their convenience and allow for self-paced learning.
- Some online degree programs may also provide the option of taking synchronous classes through which students can take attend lectures together, via the internet and have interactive sessions.
- Students should try to learn all details about the online degree program of their choice and the resources it can provide, before seeking admission.
- Agriculture and Food Science Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/agricultural-and-food-science-technicians.htm, accessed October 2018
- Biological Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biological-technicians.htm#tab-6, accessed October 2018
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm – tab-1, accessed October 2018
- Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm, accessed October 2018
- Microbiologists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/microbiologists.htm – tab-1, accessed October 2018
- Veterinarians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm – tab-6, accessed October 2018