Biologists study the natural world and there are many career opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in the biological sciences. Biologists are often involved in research, whether it is in the lab or in the field, as well as areas such as health care, environmental conservation, teaching, and emerging fields for biologists, such as biotechnology and economics.
Biologists in health care look for ways to prevent, lessen, or ultimately cure diseases. Biologists in this arena might work for public health agencies, either in the lab as researchers looking at cellular traits or in public service seeking to help people lessen the spread of diseases. Other biologists might work with animal populations, examining the spread of diseases that might threaten animal species, perhaps with lab work or in the field working with contaminated specimens. The American Institute of Biological Sciences reports that experienced biologists working in the private sector can expect to earn a salary in $80K range, or higher, with the correct blend of experience and education.
Biologists looking for a career in environmental conversation are usually involved in preventing or solving environmental crises or working to preserve the world for future generations to enjoy. Biologists might work as park rangers in national or state parks, actively working to protect the lands they survey or educating visitors who are attracted to the wild. Zoo biologists preserve species of animals threatened by development or poaching through zoo breeding and protection programs. Biologists may work for environmental agencies as either advocates or as consults who can explain the ramifications of a new development, for example. These biologists may also work with communities or developers to make the best use of green space, and preserve natural spaces such as wetlands or forests. According to the American Institute of Biological Scientists, biologists starting out in these fields can expect to make a modest salary, between $30K and $40K, with the high end in the $50K range.
Many biologists transition to careers as educators, either in higher education as lecturers, researchers or professors, or as instructors in public venues such as museums, science or nature centers, or community parks. The most lucrative of the education careers is the tenured college professor. A tenured professor enjoys many benefits, including an opportunity to conduct research and publish articles or books and a salary, according to the American Institute of Biological Sciences, of up to $60K. Biologists who wish to work for museums, zoos, and nature centers will find themselves working long hours with modest pay, less than $40K in many cases. Yet, the rewards are great as they will have an opportunity to impact many lives, especially young children, as they conduct educational programming on our living world.