Biology careers focus on the study of living things, such as whales, trees, monkeys and microbes. Its professionals form part of life-, physical- and social-science occupations, a category that averaged yearly salaries of $67,470, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lucrative biology careers boasted compensation higher than these averages.
Topping the list of lucrative careers are biochemists and biophysicists, who combine chemistry and physics with biology. They average $87,640 a year, with annual highs beyond $147,300. They study how chemical and physical processes affect living things. Their research can produce new drugs, foods and medical technology. Practitioners typically need a Ph.D. to enter their fields, although holders of bachelor’s degrees may find work as assistants to gain valuable on-the-job experience. The BLS expects jobs for the profession to increase by 31 percent, from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the 14 percent predicted for all occupations. An aging baby-boom population will drive the demand for new life-saving advances.
Animal scientists earn a mean annual $74,170, with the top 10 percent earning more than $127,600 yearly. They focus on domestic animals, such as sheep and cows, and how they grow and reproduce. They research genetics to improve animal strains, nutrition to produce more effective feed and diseases to discover more effective methods of prevention. According to ONET OnLine, over half of animal scientists have a doctoral degree, a quarter have a master’s degree and over 20 percent have a bachelor’s degree. Jobs for the profession are projected to grow by 10 to 19 percent because more animals are needed to feed a growing population.
By looking at the world of the very small, microbiologists average a yearly $71,720, with a high above $115,700 per year, according to the BLS. They peer through microscopes and plan experiments that determine how microorganisms affect human beings, animals and plants. Their research can lead to new pharmaceuticals, methods of fighting infectious diseases, and more advanced medical processes. Many specialize in such fields as bacteriology, immunology and virology. Bachelor’s degrees are sufficient for entry-level work, although a Ph.D. is necessary for independent research or college positions. Jobs are predicted to grow by 16 percent because of demand for new drugs and biotechnology.
College Biology Teachers
College biology teachers average an annual $86,060, with a high of $147,950, by teaching students how to achieve a lucrative career in biology. They plan and teach lessons on different biological fields, assign homework and administer tests, and evaluate student performance by giving grades. A Ph.D. is common among the profession, although a master’s degree may be acceptable for some positions at community colleges. Jobs for all post-secondary teachers are expected to increase by 17 percent because a growing population will produce more college students.