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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dept. of Biological Sciences

Careers in Biological Sciences

 
 

Biology student in a labThe biological sciences encompass immensely rewarding and exciting career paths. Majoring in biology or biotechnology provides the gateway to scientific inquiry, exploring questions, making observations, evaluating data, and problem solving. Scientists learn how living things work, how they interact with one another, and how they evolve. Biological science is the study of life from the molecular to the organismal, from DNA to an ecosystem. Biological scientists have a background in the chemical, mathematical, physical sciences as well as the biological sciences. With this education, they can address issues of a multitude of biological concerns from environmental depletion to threats to human health.

Many believe that careers are limited in the biological sciences and think that a student majoring in biology or biotechnology is seeking a career as a physician or research scientist. However, by looking around us we can see that there are a multitude of biological science careers from traditional to the unusual. The following is just the beginning of the many career paths you can follow: agriculture, agronomy, animal behavior (ethology), animal science, astrobiology, bacteriology/microbiology, biodiversity studies, bioethics, bioinformatics, bioengineering, biometry, biophysics, biotechnology, botany, conservation management, dairy science, developmental biology, ecology and environment, education/teaching, entomology, epidemiology, food sciences, forensic science, forestry, genetics, health care professionals, herpetology, horticulture, ichthyology, immunology, informatics, mammology, medicine, museum curator, mycology, naturalist, nematology, neuroscience, ornithology, parasitology, peace corps, pharmacology, photobiology, physiology, plant pathology, proteonomics, research, scientific writer, soil science, systematics, veterinary medicine, virology, wildlife conservation, zoology (invertebrate and vertebrate), and zoo/animal parks.

Another source providing information is the American Institute of Biological Sciences website with many links to careers at http://www.AIBS.org/careers .

A future career in biological sciences is not only sound, but is also exciting. There will always be a need for bright, energetic, and educated individuals with a strong background in biosciences. Most positions for bioscientists have been found in academics, government and private industry. However, now we are experiencing record jobs in this area over the past many years. For current job outlook information, visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook, at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/home.htm, published every two years by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job growth is expected in biotechnology and cellular and molecular biology as technology is explored. This increases opportunities in for-profit companies; particularly those engaged in pharmaceutical and genetic engineering activities. Biotechnology will continue to grow and the need for genetic screening, immunology, and developmental biology. Agriculture will need graduates that can develop genetically altered plants to increase yield and resist herbivores as well as genetically altered farm animals for greater productivity. Career opportunities will also be available for those trained in bioremediation.

There will be a continued need for increasing numbers in physicians, other healthcare professionals, and pharmacy. As our population ages, we will see more careers in gerontology research. A continued need in research in the areas of infectious diseases and cancer will persist.
There will always be a need for persons working as naturalists, in conservation management, at national and state parks, and zoos. The list of opportunities is long and exciting possibilities exist for all those pursuing careers in the biological sciences.