What to do with a Bachelor's in Biology

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    Jan 05, 2011 12:34 AM GMT
    I'm finishing up college next semester and I'm getting a bachelor's in biology with a minor in Biochemistry.

    What kind of jobs can I get with a B.S. in biology?
    Anybody have that degree or similar?
    What are you doing with it?
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    Jan 05, 2011 12:37 AM GMT
    Congrats! Now you can work at better-paying fast food joint till you get your Master's. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jan 05, 2011 12:55 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidCongrats! Now you can work at better-paying fast food joint till you get your Master's. icon_biggrin.gif

    Agree. I was a college Academic Advisor and a university Assistant Registrar. A bachelor's in that field is worthless. You can flip burgers, as Paul says, or do post-graduate work. What have your own campus advisors told you? I'll bet no different, so why are you wasting time asking here? Plan for graduate school.
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:09 AM GMT
    Ya want fries with that?

    Seriously, there are all kinds of jobs that used to be fine with that, but now require more specialized degrees, even though the incumbents don't have them E.g. food technology, public health.

    There are always lab tech jobs at Genentech and the like. If you have experience with research lab equipment, there are usually a few service labs hiring. When a big construction boom is on, such as the wind-power rush, there are usually a few jobs doing wildlife and wetlands surveys.
  • calibro

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    Jan 05, 2011 1:24 AM GMT
    you can donate your body to science
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:29 AM GMT
    Should have made that minor your major if you don't want to go to graduate school. Otherwise, you will have a hard time competing for jobs in this market. I just went through it, got a research job by the skin of my teeth, should have gone back to school.
  • BIG_N_TALL

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    Jan 05, 2011 1:31 AM GMT
    Unless you want to be a scientific assistant or low level researcher - if you are fortunate to get such a job in this economy - you'll have to go to grad school to get a Master's at the least, a PhD at the most. In this economy, it is INCREDIBLY difficult for people with just a BA/BS to land a job. I strongly recommend going to grad school ASAP if you know what you want to study.
  • jeepguySD

    Posts: 651

    Jan 05, 2011 1:32 AM GMT
    I suggest staying in school for an MS or Ph.D. for three reasons:
    1. With the economy as it is, jobs are scarce;
    2. It is easier to stay in school than it is to go back to school later;
    3. Your starting salary will be much higher with an advanced degree than with a baccalaureate degree.
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:34 AM GMT
    Switch to physics ;). Old joke amongst academicians.

    I'd go for a PhD in genetics. If there is one thing more fascinating than the Universe, it's the fact we are encoded carbon with adaptive learning circuitry ;).
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:36 AM GMT
    if you know programming, go to wall street... they only need basic smarts
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:37 AM GMT
    I'm a biochem major, bio minor...med school reject

    it's no prettier the other way round
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:42 AM GMT
    Youngin06 saidI'm finishing up college next semester and I'm getting a bachelor's in biology with a minor in Biochemistry.

    What kind of jobs can I get with a B.S. in biology?
    Anybody have that degree or similar?
    What are you doing with it?


    PhD or prepare to apply to a professional school that utilizes your biology knowledge as a prerequisite (Med/Pharm/Optometry/Podiatry/Vet/Nursing/etc). Hope you didn't mess around and just get by with C's though..

    School teacher would work too if you enjoy that route.
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:54 AM GMT
    I used to tell my academic advisees they needed to do "backward planning" as we called it in the Army. When they asked me what courses to take, I asked them what they wanted their career to be.

    If you know your goal, plan backwards from that. Don't take courses for the sake of the courses, take them for the sake of your future career. Sounds terribly obvious, but you'd be surprised how many college students take courses because they look attractive to them, lacking any coherent plan.

    So OK, our OP will have a Bachelor's in Biology, with a minor in Biochemistry. Had I advised him earlier in his schooling, I would have told him this was just an intermediate step to a career in those fields. If he wanted a career right after college graduation I would have asked him what other fields interest him, because those 2 ain't gonna happen with a Bachelor's.

    But I'm assuming these disciplines interest the OP, that he chose them. They aren't some Liberal Arts fluff, but rather difficult scientific fields (at least they would be for me, nothing I could ever do).

    OK, so keep after them, if the OP did well in his undergraduate studies, going right into graduate school. If not so well, cut his loses, and try something else. But I doubt he has any future without a postgraduate degree, as several of us have said.
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:54 AM GMT
    I majored in Animal Biology. Have you considered post-grad studies? Something in health care perhaps?
  • jeg75sea

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    Jan 05, 2011 1:56 AM GMT
    the same thing you do with a BA in English?
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    In tex as long as you graduated from any science you can become a science teacher of course after passing the tests for it.
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    Jan 05, 2011 1:58 AM GMT
    You might get lab work but you need to
    Go on to get your masters and doctorate
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    Jan 05, 2011 2:00 AM GMT
    I've had friends get genetics research and pharmaceutical research jobs at the industry level, eventually reaching salaries of around 70-80k. Their degrees were from top notch schools and the ceiling was around 80k, after which they ended up going for masters / PhD to continue movin on up. Others I know have gotten Lab Tech jobs, not sure what that pays.
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    Jan 05, 2011 2:00 AM GMT
    jeg75nh saidthe same thing you do with a BA in English?


    What about a BA in Political Science??? It's truly a useless degree...
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    Jan 05, 2011 2:01 AM GMT
    Also, you can probably do a lots of entry-level jobs not in biology.
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    Jan 05, 2011 2:02 AM GMT
    You can be a teacher! or I have no idea. Maybe something in the medical field.
  • barriehomeboy

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    Jan 05, 2011 2:07 AM GMT
    Don't let them discourage you. You now have an entry level degree to several medical careers. Pvt me.
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    Jan 05, 2011 2:09 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy saidDon't let them discourage you. You now have an entry level degree to several medical careers. Pvt me.


    All of which require more training, most will require a lot of hours of training.
    That you wont get paid for or in some case will have to pay for the classes/training..
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    Jan 05, 2011 2:25 AM GMT
    Really, there are possibilities without grad school, but as everyone notes, getting any job right now is not easy.

    When I had my B.S., I was doing all of the QA testing for a major food processing plant and operating its waste-water facility. It wasn't a bad job, but not one you'd ever get rich at either.

    Other people were managing wineries or set up plant tissue-culture operations.

    There are also possibilities for those with an entrepreneurial bent. These days, anybody with couple of thousand bucks can set up (for example) a PCR lab in a rented room and buy some google ads. To get anywhere without experience would take an awful lot of focus and energy, but people have succeeded at shakier ventures.

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    Jan 05, 2011 2:28 AM GMT
    I would also recommend that if you can get in a PhD program, do that instead of Masters. It will pay you instead of having you pay (at Wash U the bio department pays around 28k+ a year). Even if you don't plan on doing a full PhD, a lot of the PhD only programs, I have found, will award a masters if you quit half way after you reach some criteria. The trouble is that there usually is no official procedure for this and no official criteria so you have to figure out when you can quit and convince the necessary committies, and they may likely give you a masters.