A Ph.D. in biology is the highest level of formal education in the field of natural science. This type of degree might be a good choice for biology students who want to further their education in the field. Knowing some choices you can make regarding your career after a Ph.D. in biology can have a major impact on your career trajectory and can make you an appropriate candidate for a wide variety of roles. In this article, we discuss what a Ph.D. in biology is and list some potential careers you can pursue after earning one.
What is a Ph.D. in biology?
A Ph.D. in biology is a terminal degree for graduate students who want to expand their knowledge with the purpose of pursuing leadership roles in academic, governmental, or industrial fields. Earning a biology Ph.D. typically takes several years and comprises completing graduate-level coursework, participating in teaching roles, and writing a dissertation, which is a long essay on a specific biology-related subject. There are multiple types of biology Ph.D. programs, including:
Biochemistry: This is the study of the chemical and physicochemical processes occurring in living organisms.
Genetics: This is the study of genes and how they influence the way certain traits and conditions pass on from one generation to the next.
Cell and molecular biology: This is the study of biology at a molecular level and shares various aspects of biochemistry and genetics.
Genomics: This is the study of all components of a living organism’s genes.
READ ALSO: BEST ONLINE BIOLOGY DEGREES
9 careers you can pursue after earning a Ph.D. in biology
Here are nine careers that you can pursue after earning a Ph.D. in biology. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:
1. Postsecondary biological sciences teacher
National average salary: $53,434 per year
Primary duties: Postsecondary biological sciences teachers lecture biology students on various related subjects, such as molecular biology, botany, or marine biology. This role usually involves evaluating students’ activity, preparing and delivering lectures on specific topics, and planning the content of their courses and instruction methods. While performing their teaching roles, they also usually conduct research and publish their conclusions in academic journals.
2. Environmental scientist
National average salary: $58,853 per year
Primary duties: Environmental scientists identify potential hazards to the environment and human health and then help create solutions for reducing or eliminating their impact. They generally do so by conducting fieldwork to collect and analyze samples of soil, air, water, and other materials. They then study the extent of the contamination of these materials and determine what the underlying cause is. Environmental scientists usually present their conclusions to state institutions, businesses, and the general public, and give guidance regarding ways to develop more environmentally friendly practices.
3. Wildlife biologist
National average salary: $69,760 per year
Primary duties: Wildlife biologists study ecosystems to analyze the behavior, biology, and natural habitats of various types of animal populations. They use their advanced knowledge of biology to observe and manage animals in their natural habitat and then draw relevant and informed conclusions. Depending on the exact specialization, wildlife biologists have various objectives, such as conserving animal populations, developing water use plans, studying how diseases spread among animals, evaluating how various commercial activities impact local wildlife, and saving endangered species from going extinct.
National average salary: $69,787 per year
Primary duties: Microbiologists study microscopic organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, algae, and fungi. Their main purpose is to prevent these types of microbes from infecting humans and animals, as well as to help diagnose and treat infectious diseases when they do occur. Microbiologists work in a wide range of fields, including pharmaceuticals and agriculture. They usually perform their scientific experiments and analyses in office or laboratory settings.
5. Molecular biologist
National average salary: $74,753 per year
Primary duties: Molecular biologists conduct research and academic activities in which they examine human, animal, and plant genetics with the purpose of analyzing how they relate to each other. They use knowledge from multiple fields, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and genetics, to analyze DNA and RNA from various life forms to conduct various experiments. Some goals of their work are to develop new ways to treat diseases, make crops more resistant to degradation, and look for ways to determine a person’s likeliness to develop a disease based on a sequence of their DNA.
6. Biology research scientist
National average salary: $78,509 per year
Primary duties: Research scientists who hold a Ph.D. in biology typically plan and conduct laboratory experiments in their area of expertise, for purposes such as developing new products or enhancing scientific understanding regarding various biological phenomena. Although they typically perform research and experiments on their own, biology research scientists usually have to share all relevant findings with colleagues and present their conclusions to peers and stakeholders. Some common workplaces for biology research scientists are medical facilities, government laboratories, and higher education institutions.
7. Management consultant
National average salary: $79,941 per year
Primary duties: Management consultants typically work for large companies and help management teams make informed decisions. Organizations that operate in life science domains typically hire biology Ph.D. holders to provide their expertise in analyzing large amounts of information to solve complex challenges. Although they rarely require management experience, biology Ph.D. graduates who pursue management consultancy careers typically require strong interpersonal skills, as the role involves constant collaboration with managers and employees.
8. Medical scientist
National average salary: $87,459 per year
Primary duties: Medical scientists usually work in laboratories or medical facilities, and their main role is to develop and conduct trials and experiments to analyze how various drugs interact with the patients who take them. The overall purpose of the profession is to enhance human health by developing new treatment options and improving existing ones. Medical scientists can also work directly with patients if they become licensed physicians.
9. Bioinformatics scientist
National average salary: $87,459 per year
Primary duties: Bioinformatics scientists use their knowledge of technology and computer science to advance the field of biology. They usually do this by gathering and analyzing large amounts of data on various topics related to biology and using their expertise to draw relevant conclusions. Most bioinformatics scientists work in laboratory, industrial, or academic settings.
I hope you find this article helpful.