What can I do with this degree?
AREAS EMPLOYERS STRATEGIES
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Basic Industry and laboratories: Learn to set up, operate, maintain laboratory
Applied Pharmaceutical instruments and equipment, and monitor
Quality Control Healthcare experiments.
Administration Agriculture production Select courses with laboratory components.
Grant Writing Food processing and safety Seek research experience with professors.
Environmental Gain related experience through part-time jobs,
Private research institutions internships, or volunteering.
Public health departments Complete a certificate training program, usually one
State and federal government: year, to learn specialized laboratory techniques.
National Science Foundation Take a course in grant writing.
National Institutes of Health A Bachelor's degree in biology qualifies one for
Food and Drug Administration laboratory technician or research assistant
Environmental Protection Agency positions.
Department of Agriculture Earn master's degree for better positions,
Armed Services advancement opportunities, more responsibility and
Department of Homeland Security higher pay.
State and local government laboratories/agencies Obtain Ph.D. to direct research projects and lead
Colleges and universities research teams.
Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong
faculty recommendations to gain admittance into
Some Areas of Specialization Colleges and universities, especially colleges of Seek related experience through coursework, part-time
Botany and Plant sciences agriculture and veterinary medicine jobs, internships or volunteering.
Ecology and Wildlife Veterinary hospitals Conduct research or assist in research including the
Marine and Aquatic State and federal government: collection of information and samples of water, soil,
Systematic (Taxonomy) Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Health plants, animals, etc.
Zoology Independent laboratories: Join student chapters of professional organizations
Entomology Food production related to your area of interest.
Genetics Textiles Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced research
Microbiology Chemical and management positions.
Bacteria, algae, fungi, molds, yeasts, viruses, Pharmaceutical
protozoa Forestry products
(Biological Sciences, Page 2)
AREAS EMPLOYERS STRATEGIES
ORGANISMAL BIOLOGY CONTINUED
Zoos and aquariums
Wildlife preserves and parks
Botanical gardens and arboretums
Agricultural experiment stations
Inspection agencies and control boards
National and international environmental organizations
Private recreation organizations
Some Areas of Specialization: Colleges and universities Gain laboratory experience through coursework and/
Biophysics Professional schools including colleges of pharmacy, or research projects with professors.
Biochemistry dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and Learn to set up, operate, maintain laboratory
Cellular and Molecular Biology agriculture instruments and equipment, and monitor
Cytology Federal laboratories and regulatory agencies: experiments.
Genetics National Institutes of Health Seek internships, part-time employment and volunteer
Immunology Food and Drug Administration opportunities in the biomedical field.
Pathology State and local public health departments Join student chapters of professional organizations
Pharmacology Clinics and hospitals related to your area of interest.
Physiology Private research foundations Take courses in area(s) of specialization and/or
Virology Independent laboratories consider an advanced degree.
Pharmaceutical companies Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced research
and management positions.
Medicine Hospitals Plan on attending medical school or other related
Dentistry Medical centers and clinics graduate program.
Optometry Nursing homes Maintain an outstanding grade point average,
Podiatry Private practice particularly in the sciences.
Pharmacy Armed services Secure strong faculty recommendations.
Veterinary Medicine Government agencies Meet with a pre-health advisor periodically.
Allied Health Join related student organizations, and demonstrate
Occupational Therapy leadership abilities.
Physical Therapy Seek experiences in hospital or healthcare settings
Medical Technology through volunteering, shadowing, part-time
Nuclear Medicine positions, or internships.
(Biological Sciences, Page 3)
AREAS EMPLOYERS STRATEGIES
Develop a back up plan in case medical/graduate
school admission is denied.
Consider alternative but related careers such as
Research all of the various fields within medicine to
determine career goals.
Algorithm and Statistics Development Colleges and universities Develop multiple areas of specialization through
Data Analysis and Interpretation Private research foundations coursework, minors, double-majors in molecular
Information Management Independent laboratories: biology, mathematics, statistics, computer
Organization and Retrieval Organic and agricultural chemicals science, or machine learning.
Drug and pharmaceutical Develop strong programming and database
Medical device and equipment management skills; fluency in several program-
Research, testing, medical ming languages is helpful.
Federal laboratories and regulatory agencies: Learn biological software systems.
National Institutes of Health Complete an internship in area of interest.
Food and Drug Administration Seek master's degree for increased advancement
Environmental Protection Agency opportunities.
Department of Agriculture
National Biological Information Infrastructure
Teaching Universities and colleges Gain experience working with students through
Elementary Medical and other professional schools tutoring, part-time employment, or volunteering.
Secondary Public and private schools, K-12 Learn to work well with all types of people.
Post-Secondary Museums Develop excellent interpersonal and public speaking
Non-classroom Education Zoos skills.
Nature centers and parks Certification is required for K-12 school teachers and
varies by state.
Master's degrees may be sufficient for teaching at
community or two-year institutions.
Ph.D. is needed for teaching opportunities at colleges
(Biological Sciences, Page 4)
AREAS EMPLOYERS STRATEGIES
Technical Writing Publishing companies including scientific magazines, Acquire thorough knowledge of photographic
Editing professional journals, periodicals, textbooks, and procedures and technology.
Illustrating online publishers Take specific courses in biological, medical, and
Photography Newspapers ophthalmic photography; courses in illustration
Educational and scientific software companies and printing are also helpful.
Zoological and environmental societies Develop strong writing skills and command of the
Medical, dental and veterinary colleges English language.
Research centers Take advanced courses in technical writing or
Federal government agencies journalism classes or consider a minor in either.
Related nonprofit organizations Join professional associations like the National
Museums Association of Science Writers.
Seek related volunteer or paid experiences with
student/local publications to increase
Obtain an advanced degree in scientific journalism.
Lobbying Federal and state government Develop excellent communication and interpersonal
Regulatory Affairs Law firms skills.
Science Policy Large corporations Maintain current knowledge of industry-specific laws
Patent Law and policies.
Environmental Law Acquire internships in federal or state government.
Take courses in history, political science and/or legal
Acquire a Ph.D. for advanced positions.
Earn a J.D. degree to practice law.
Technical and Pharmaceutical Sales Manufacturing companies including: Develop excellent communication and interpersonal
Management Pharmaceuticals skills.
Consulting Animal pharmaceuticals Demonstrate a high energy level.
Marketing Laboratory equipment Take courses in anatomy, pharmacology, and
Medical supplies and prostheses chemistry.
Marketing firms Obtain sales experience and/or a business minor.
Consulting firms Join related student associations and hold leadership
Consider an MBA or Professional Science Master's
for advanced management and consulting
(Biological Sciences, Page 5)
• A Bachelor's degree will qualify one for work as a laboratory assistant, technician, technologist, or research assistant in education, industry, government,
museums, parks, and gardens.
• An undergraduate degree can also be used for nontechnical work in writing, illustration, sales, photography, and legislation.
• Master's degrees allow for more opportunities in research and administration. Some community colleges will hire Master's level teachers.
• Doctoral degrees are necessary for advanced research and administrative positions, university teaching, and independent research.
• An advanced degree provides the opportunity to specialize in fields of interest.
• The biological sciences are good preparation for a career in healthcare such as medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science, but professional degrees and licenses
are also necessary to practice in these fields.
• Learn laboratory procedures and become familiar with equipment.
• Obtain summer, part-time, volunteer, co-op, or internship experience to test the fields of interest and gain valuable experience. Take independent research classes
• Participate in summer research institutes. Submit research to local poster competitions or research symposiums.
• Develop strong analytical, computer, mathematics, and communications skills.
• Join professional associations and community organizations to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
• Read scientific journals related to your area of interest.
• Maintain a high grade point average to improve chances of graduate and professional school admission.
• Become familiar with the specific entrance exam for graduate or professional schools in your area of interest.
• Secure strong relationships and personal recommendations from professors and/or employers.
• Consider completing a post doctoral experience after graduate school.
• Learn federal, state, and local government job application process. The federal government is the largest employer of biologists.
• Gain experience with grant writing and fundraising techniques. Often research must be funded in this manner.
Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2007)
UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA /ADEA Employer