Careers in Biology, Biological Science, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biological Research and Development.
Careers in the biological sciences apply knowledge of living organisms and the natural world to various disciplines.
Biological science is a huge umbrella encompassing the life and natural sciences. Its numerous subfields can be combined and applied in many ways, and its principles are relevant to all kinds of workers, from researchers to zookeepers to geneticists. Whether your interest in biology is focused on microscopic activity or based on surveying entire populations, there is almost certainly a place in the field for you to explore to the fullest capacity, be it in the lab, in the field, in the classroom, in the office, or in the water.
Work in the biological sciences may include...
- Observing plant and animal behaviors under different circumstances
- Cloning cells in a laboratory setting
- Analyzing the environmental impact of various actions
- Collecting data on human metrics
- Synthesizing natural materials for the consumer market
- Developing new tactics for extracting data from living organisms
Biologists of all kinds can be found in a variety of work settings, from the libraries of academia to the oceans of marine conservation. They may be employed by government agencies such as the CIA, USDA - even the Army or Peace Corps. Some work in private labs or in medical research settings, while others may work for pharmaceutical companies or universities. All of these specialists, consultants, researchers, educators, engineers, scientists, experts, and officials contribute to the thriving field of biology in their own ways, and often work together to make exciting new discoveries.
Most careers in the biological sciences require a degree. All sorts of jobs need a certain level of knowledge of and experience with the principles of biology as they apply to a particular discipline, and most require a four-year Bachelor's degree. There are exceptions - Lab assistant or technician roles will hire candidates with a two-year Associate's degree - but if you're looking to do hard science, a Bachelor's degree provides the most room to explore the concepts of biology and particular area of interest. It's common for those seeking research or specialty lab roles to pursue graduate studies in the biological sciences at the Masters or Doctoral level. The level of education one seeks has everything to do with the eventual work they are looking to do. An aspiring food science technician need not pursue the same program as a future herpetologist; when considering a career in biological science, be sure to seek out something that holds interest for you.
This is a vast field encompassing all life on earth (and beyond! Check out exobiology or cryptozoology if aliens and monsters interest you) - and new applications of biological knowledge are constantly being revealed. If you want to know more about living things and what makes them work, you might find a fulfilling career in the biological sciences.
Careers in Biomedical Science, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Research
Careers in the biomedical sciences are centered on applying biological knowledge to medicine and healthcare.
There are several main types of jobs in the biomedical field, each with its own corresponding array of research and laboratory based roles. The technicians, scientists, researchers, engineers, and analysts who make up the bulk of the field are often specialists in one area with general knowledge in several related disciplines.
Roles in the biomedical sciences range from technicians responsible for maintaining medical equipment to researchers developing new ways to address medical concerns and engineers tasked with the creation, maintenance, or repair of complex medical devices. There are so many people doing so many things within so many biomedical subdisciplines that it's tough to pin down any particular job as representative of the field as a whole!
Work in the biomedical sciences may include:
- Fine-tuning diagnostic instruments
- Developing new medical technologies
- Researching potential cures for illnesses
- Tracking the spread of a disease through data
- Growing human tissue in a lab for various purposes
- Cultivating microorganisms for experiments
Most jobs in this field require extensive knowledge of biological processes as they relate to human medical concerns. Biomedical researchers may work in academic settings or in hospital, government, or private scientific facilities.
For the most part, it's safe to say that a four-year undergraduate degree is the baseline for a career in biomedicine; Bachelor's degree programs prepare students to conduct thorough research and precise lab work. This is the ideal time to explore the various disciplines that fall under the biomedical sciences, such as biochemistry, virology, genetics, or microbiology. While graduates of Bachelor's programs are able to find employment in labs, many aspiring scientists find that they want to dig deeper into a particular branch of biomedicine and pursue graduate programs. At the Master's level, it becomes possible to specialize further; graduate students also typically have access to more equipment and learn advanced techniques. Those whose work is more research-oriented or who want to become experts in their chosen discipline may want a PhD in biomedicine; PhD programs are open to qualified applicants whose demonstrated work has been exceptional. It's uncommon, though not impossible, to go straight from an undergraduate program to a PhD. The work of a biomedical PhD candidate relies on university funding and can last years - often until a key question is finally answered.
Some students make the transition from biomedicine to medical school, whether this is a beneficial decision depends largely on their discipline. For someone who wants to develop new surgical methods, it may be a good idea to first become a surgeon, but for someone who deals primarily with microorganisms, spending that time in the lab may prove to be a better use of energy.
Biomedicine is an especially appealing field for those who want to see the impact of their work; innovations in the medical field often receive a good deal of press coverage and excitement. Many medical advancements have been made possible by the contributions of biomedical scientists; most of the medical processes we take for granted these days were pioneered by biomedical workers. If you're looking to bring the next big thing to the table, consider pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences!
Detailed Information about Careers and Majors in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences
For more information about careers and majors in Biology, please follow the links below…
- The American Institute of Biological Sciences is an umbrella group connecting more than a hundred professional organizations focused on all kinds of biology.
- The American Society of Plant Biologists is a professional society devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences.
- The Society for Experimental Biology supports new advances in interdisciplinary biological research.
- The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology is the nation’s largest coalition of biomedical researchers.
- The American Society for Cell Biology is a community of biologists whose work focuses on cells.
For more information about Biomedical Science, please follow the links below…
- The Biomedical Engineering Society is a great resource for engineers in the medical field.
- The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation supports professionals who develop, use, and maintain specialized medical equipment.
- The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional, scientific organization with members across academia, industry, government, and other pharmaceutical science related research institutes worldwide.
Careers in Bioethics and Medical Ethics apply to all areas of Biological Science.