Mrs. Brand Name_____________________
Living Environment Date __________ Period ____
Careers in the Biological Sciences
Instructions: Read the introduction (below) on careers in the biological sciences.
Then, using the internet resources listed on page 4 select three careers in the biological
sciences that seem to be of interest to you. Record the required information for each
career on the chart provided.
Careers in the Biological Sciences
What Jobs Do Biologists Have?
The best research biologists are driven to understand how living systems work. Many practice
basic research — seeking knowledge for its own sake. The results of basic research are often put
to practical use by applied researchers, who try to find solutions to specific problems. For
instance, plant physiologists and microbiologists might measure how much and what kinds of
gases are taken up by plants and bacteria under different environmental conditions in a lab. That
information could then be used by climate modelers who are trying to estimate how quickly our
atmosphere might change. An ecologist might study what makes rodent or insect populations rise
and fall. That information could be passed on to epidemiologists, who often track the spread of
disease from animals to humans. A cell biologist might study how a single cell develops into a
complex organism with numerous tissue types. His or her insights could explain why cancer cells
grow out of control and may lead to future treatments.
Many researchers work at colleges and universities, where they also teach. Industry employs
research biologists in fields such as biotechnology, drug development, and food processing.
Some research biologists work for the government, where they aim to protect and restore the
environment, breed better crops, fight human and animal diseases, evaluate food and drug
safety, or work on space missions.
Researchers attend seminars, read scientific journals, and write articles to tell others about their
results. Some travel to exotic places to do their work. Researchers often need help from skilled
people trained in biology. Laboratory technicians help carry out experiments; they often become
experts at taking field measurements, manipulating cells, handling animals and chemicals, or
using sophisticated instruments.
Health care workers apply biological knowledge to keep people healthy or return sick people to
health. Physicians, dentists, nurses, medical technicians, and physician's assistants all must have
a solid biology background. Some health care professionals work directly with patients; others
may devise public health campaigns to defeat illnesses such as tuberculosis, AIDS, cancer, and
heart disease. Some work to prevent the spread of rare, deadly diseases like that caused by the
now infamous Ebola virus.
The Great Outdoors
Many outdoor jobs await people well trained in the life sciences. Horticulturalists develop new
crop varieties, care for plants in greenhouses and fields, and design landscape plans. Fisheries
biologists might work with an aquaculture company, overseeing the reproduction of farm-raised
trout that eventually end up in your local supermarket. Zookeepers make food, medicate animals,
and may help with captive breeding programs for endangered species.
The "office" for many of these jobs is the outdoors, and the dress is casual. Employers include
private companies and federal and state governments. The not-for-profit conservation sector is
providing an increasing number of jobs.
Life science educators combine their love of biology with a knack for communicating. People
trained in the life sciences are needed as teachers in primary and secondary schools. Teaching
younger students requires a general knowledge of science and skill at working with different kinds
of learners. High school teachers often specialize in biology and teach courses of personal
interest, such as marine biology or physiology.
Museums, zoos, and nature centers also hire educators, exhibition designers, artists, and other
specialists who have good biology backgrounds. At museums, educators interact with others to
plan and carry out exhibitions. They might gather materials from museum collections for teaching
a class. Naturalists lead hikes in wild areas and plan educational programs.
New Directions in Biological Careers
More and more people are combining their biological knowledge with other professional training.
You could consider being a lawyer with an environmental advocacy organization, working to
protect endangered species, or with a biotechnology company evaluating patents. Someone with
an interest in biology and business might consider working as a regulatory affairs manager for
companies that sell seeds, drugs, or other biologically based products. Before such products go
on sale, regulatory affairs people have to put together the scientific information the government
needs to approve these goods for public use.
If you have a flair for words, you could work as a science journalist, writing about advances in
science in a way that non-experts can understand. Or, you might consider being a policy analyst,
helping government officials develop science-based legislation.
What Education And Training Do You Need?
Few people decide their life's work in middle or high school. But if you think a science-related
career might be for you, now is the time to start taking all the science, math, and computer
courses you can.
As you plan a career path, it helps to know your likes and dislikes. Would you rather work with
people or with plants and animals? Do you want to be in the laboratory or outdoors?
Consider how long you want to go to school. For some biology jobs, a two-year college degree is
sufficient. Examples include medical assistant, dental hygienist, or veterinary technician. But most
life sciences careers require at least an undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science, B.S.) and
often an advanced degree, such as a Master of Science (M.S.). Research jobs typically require
the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) which may take five or six years of intense and
demanding training. There are some specialized degrees in the life sciences, the most prominent
being the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) which usually takes four years to earn. Physicians must then
do additional training before they can practice medicine.
Biology teachers and other educators often major in biology or a related science and also earn a
teaching certificate. Science journalists may earn biology and journalism degrees. Science policy
specialists often have an advanced biology degree and other specialized training, such as a law
While obtaining your formal education, try to get some relevant work experience. The only way to
know whether biology is for you is to give it a try.
Life Science Careers for the Future
Why not work as a biologist and make today's science fiction real for tomorrow's students? Even
though no one can predict what discoveries some of today's middle and high school students will
make when they eventually become biologists, it is a safe bet that they will outstrip our present
Ecologists may figure out ways to lessen the impact of the changing global climate and to
manage diminishing forest reserves. Marine biologists may discover ways to get more food from
the ocean and help endangered fish stocks recover at the same time. Plant geneticists could
develop better methods to engineer super nutritious crops. Researchers who study human
biology might slow the aging process, cure genetic diseases and help paralyzed people by
making nerve cells grow again.
These biologists of the future will work in fields and labs just as scientists do today. Some will
venture far into space and deep into the sea. Others may do their work in virtual reality rooms
more sophisticated than any you could find now. All of these scientists are likely to communicate
on something even fancier than the Internet, which was first invented so that scientists could
quickly spread information to each other.
For those who aren't necessarily going to be researchers, there are still important reasons to
study biology. Many non-research careers await those with biological knowledge, in fields ranging
from medicine to education to environmental protection. Even if you don't think you'll use biology
in your profession, you'll learn how living things work, how they interact with one another, and
how they evolved. This knowledge and a scientific way of thinking will serve you well when you
make personal health decisions, when you evaluate the environmental positions of elected
officials and the quality of scientific explanations by the media, and even when you buy goods
and services. Studying biology teaches you to ask questions, judge evidence, and solve
-The American Institute of Biological Sciences
Biology Careers for the Next Century
Biology Careers- General or Mixed Information Sources
Careers in the Biological Sciences (AIBS)
Careers in Biology (SICB)
Biology Career Descriptions
Biology Careers on the Internet
Occupational Outlook for Biological and Medical Scientists
US Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook
Teaching Science (NSTA)
Career Details :: Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
Bioethics for Beginners (Bioethics.net)
Careers in Theoretical Biology
Biological Systems Engineering (BSE)
Careers in Biological Systematics (ASPT)
Molecular, Cellular and Physical Biology and Biotechnology
Experiences in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Careers in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
Careers in the Microbiological Sciences
Careers in Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIM)
Guide to Biotechnology (Biotechnology Industry Organization)
Careers in the Genetics Field (FASEB)
Careers in Human Genetics
Careers in Genetics Counseling (NSGC)
Careers in Forensic Science (AAFS)
Careers in Epidemiology
Careers in Public Health
Career Paths in Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine (IDSA)
Health and Bioscience-Related Fields
Planning a Career in Biomedical Engineering (BMES)
Medical Career Info --- great site for those interested in medical careers!!!!!!!!!!
Becoming a Neuroscientist
Careers in Pathology (ASCP)
Pathology as a Career in Medicine
Careers in Physiology (APS)
Careers in Teratology (TS)
Careers in Dentistry (ADA)
Careers in Dietetics (American Dietetic Association)
Careers in Medical Illustration (AMI)
Careers in Pharmacology (ASPET)
Careers in Nursing
General Physician Career Center
The Process of Becoming a Physician
Chiropractic Education/Careers (ACA)
Radiologic Technologist Career Information
Careers in Marine Biology & Oceanography
Career Information in Marine or Aquatic Sciences
Career Information on Animal Science (American Society of Animal Science)
Careers in Animal Behavior
Careers in Mammalogy
Careers in Marine Mammal Science
Marine Science Careers
Zoo and Aquarium Career Opportunities
Guide to Zoological Park Careers
Career as a Zookeeper (AAZK)
Careers in Entomology (ESA)
Careers in Forensic Entomology (ABFE)
Careers in Ichthyology
Careers in Herpetology (SSAR)
Animal and Poultry Sciences
Careers in Parasitology (ASP)
Careers in Botany
Careers in Plant Pathology
Careers in Arboriculture (TCIA)
Careers in Ecology (ESA)
Career Opportunities in Ecology and Environmental Studies
Environmental Careers Organization
Careers in Environmental Journalism (SEJ)
Careers in Forestry (SAF)
Experiences in Field Biology
Careers in Fish and Wildlife Management
Careers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Working in the Aquatic Sciences (ASLO)