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What can you do with a biology degree? The LifeScience Industry News reports that demand for life science business space increased 4x as of 2021. The need for scientific talent in the life science department is exponentially rising.
You want to be a part of that growth, but you’re unsure if biology is the right entryway for you.
Is biology a good degree? What jobs will be available to you after graduation? Considering that biology is one of the more expensive courses, you want to make sure you’re making the right decision. Don’t worry; you’ll have the answers you need in this article.
And, if you’re eager to get a headstart on university-level biology, then our biology courses in the summer are made for you.
Starting with the first question.
Is Biology A Good Degree?
Biology is a good degree if you enjoy studying various life forms. Do you know that you’ll read and learn about organisms ranging from bacteria and mushrooms to plants and animals? It’s an excellent path to go into if you want to explore organisms and how they interact with each other.
But money-wise, is it a good degree? If you’re looking to work right after getting your diploma, definitely not as much as chemistry or engineering. You will have to get your master’s to get a stable, high-paying job.
Why? Because biology in itself is such a far-reaching course that you won’t have many chances to get in-depth. At least not enough to build a career immediately after graduation. That’s why most students who get into biology intend to proceed to further study.
If you’re keen to learn more about what it takes to study Biology at university, check out the top a-level requirements for Biology.
Is A Degree In Biology Hard?
Getting a biology degree is hard if you’re not on fire with curiosity about what makes a white blood cell identify an invader. Or why it’s difficult for prey like deer and buffalos to thrive without key predators hunting them down.
If you love understanding life forms, why they have the bodies they do, and how they interact with each other, you’ll be thrilled jumping out of bed in the morning. And you’ll find biology enjoyable enough to ask, “Huh, biology is hard?”
You can also choose to study medicine at university if your passion is to become a doctor.
What Jobs Can You Get With A Degree In Biology?
Average base salary: £37,406 per year
Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are excellent examples of microorganisms. A microbiologist studies microbes to understand how they affect us and how they can improve human lives.
One of the most significant areas of microbiology work involves infection diagnosis, control, and treatment. The Food Industry is another one. Without microbiology, fresh milk won’t last as long as it does! Can you name others?
Average base salary: £35,900 a year
Biotechnology comes from a combination of two words. If you thought “biology and technology,” you’re correct. A biotechnologist uses biological processes to create products.
Enzymes and microorganisms are some of the most common biological ingredients. Beer is one simple example of a biotech product. If you’re interested in biochemistry then you’ll like the biochemistry career prospects guide we have.
3. Soil Scientist
Average base salary: £34,112 a year
The biological and chemical properties of soil in one area differ from another. A soil scientist’s job? To gather and analyse information on specific soil samples. Why is this important? Because without good soil, crop production will decrease.
Soil also affects human health. Pollution and toxic wastes on soil can affect water quality. Do you know that many parasites can grow on soil lacking proper maintenance? These are the reasons why soil scientists are essential to society.
4. Marine Biologist
Average base salary: £32,733 a year
From the word “marine,” can you guess what marine biologists do? Yes, they study organisms and ecosystems in saltwater environments (e.g. ocean.) It’s a career increasing in importance today because of the pollution threat.
You’ll find that one of the hottest research topics of marine biologists today involves coral reefs. How does human activity affect them? We need more marine biologists to protect the seawater and its inhabitants.
5. Molecular Biologist
Average base salary: £28,859 a year
If you think of molecular biology, what comes to your mind? DNA, RNA, protein, and genetics are all relevant keywords. Molecular biologists study and conduct research at the cellular level to enhance human life.
Molecular biology increases the quality output of agricultural products. And do you know that it advances disease prevention and treatment? Plus, research in molecular biology is crucial in helping us understand how to protect the environment better.
6. Academic Researcher
Average base salary: £24,885 a year
What do academic researchers do? They conduct research to deepen knowledge in their field of expertise. Your goal is to publish peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. In doing so, you’re helping solve specific problems in your research area.
Related Read: Are Humans Still Evolving?
Many academic researchers also spend their time speaking at conferences. For what reason? To present their latest findings. Teaching university students on the side is also common.
Average base salary: £22,460
The word “nano-” means a billionth part of something. What then do nanotechnologists do? They study and use particles at the nanoscale (a billionth part of a meter) to create new materials for various industries, from food and clothing to cosmetics and automotive.
You can imagine that a nanotechnologist spends most of their time in the laboratory. What’s more, they also teach in schools to increase awareness and interest in nanotechnology.
What Is The Highest-Paying Job For A Biology degree?
A microbiologist is one of the highest-paid for a biology degree. They earn an average base salary of £37,406 per year. Why? Because their work directly impacts the biggest industries in the UK – health, food, and agriculture.
Who are the usual employers of microbiologists?
- National Health Service (NHS)
- UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
- Pharmaceutical Companies
- Civil Service
- Private companies in the health, food, and agriculture sectors
Where To Get Work Experience
Gaining work experience will showcase your dedication and skill to future employees. Do you know how else it will help you? Given how biology is a vast subject, you’ll need first-hand experience to discover which field you resonate with most.
Suppose you decide to take Biology as your course. In that case, it’s best to choose schools that offer industrial placements as part of their curriculum. What if the school you want to go to doesn’t have industrial placements? Then you can search for summer placements.
Here’s a valuable tip. Do you know which organisation is your best ally in getting summer placements? The Royal Society of Biology. It’s true that they don’t offer Undergraduate Research Bursaries anymore. But many of their Member Organisations support undergraduate studentships.
You simply have to browse through the list of organisations and reach out to them!
Do you want more advice? Don’t be afraid to reach out. Rejections are important to lead you to the right acceptance. What’s more, by reaching out, you establish connections. Networking opens doors you didn’t imagine were there!
Who are the usual employers of biology-related careers?
- National Health Service
- Private Hospitals
- Clinical Research companies
- Pharmaceutical organisations
- Environmental Government Agencies
- Charities related to health and environmental conservation
What Skills Will A Student In Biology Develop?
The skills you will develop in your degree determine your career potential. The more skills you have that match your job applications, the greater your chances of success. So, what skills will you have as a biology graduate?
- Investigative skills: allows you to identify the problem in a situation
- Design workflows: to achieve an expected outcome
- Risk assessment: what are the potential risks, and how can you minimise them?
- Communication and presentation: you’ll know how to present information in bite-sized chunks
- Teamwork and collaboration: work with others to reach a common goal
- Data analysis: process data to get correct conclusions
- It: uses software to analyse and present data
Should You Proceed To Further Study?
For a biology graduate, proceeding to further study is imperative. It’s the best path for you to specialise in your chosen field. Without it, you won’t have as many career prospects as you may want.
Some schools offer a biology course integrated with a Master’s degree. It adds 1 year to the usual course length of 3-4 years.
The key? Maximise your bachelor’s degree as much as you can. Without an excellent primary foundation, you won’t know which biology field you will want to specialise in.