What can you do with a BS in Biology?

Brian Kaider bkaider at primenet.com
Fri Feb 13 08:25:00 EST 1998


brians at eramp.net (Brian) postulated:

>What can a person do for a career with a BS in Biology?  My girlfriend
>says she enjoys biology and wants to get her BS.  I asked her what she
>would do for a career later with that degree other than teach.  Even
>finding a job teaching would be difficult with only a BS.  She said
>that she'd worry about that later.  So I ask, what other careers can a
>person with a BS in Biology look?

Wish her luck for me.  As in any science field, while it is relatively
easy to find an entry level job, your career growth is VERY limited.
With only a BS, she can get jobs in a variety of fields depending on
her interests.  She can work in a laboratory.  She could work for an
environmental group.  If she's intererested in the administrative side
of science, there are a variety of jobs she could get in quality
assurance, or regulatory compliance, etc.  The bottom line though, if
she's interested in the actual science, is that she's likely to hit a
ceiling very quickly (within 5 years of graduation) at which point, if
she wants her career to grow, she'll have to go back to school for a
masters, or preferably a PhD.  

It really depends on her goals.  If she would be content in a field
where her potential growth is limited, and where extra effort is
expected but not compensated financially, then by all means go for the
BS.  If she wants to make a lot of money, forget it, it will not
happen.  Most people with a BS cap out around $35-$40000/year.  And it
usually takes them a while to get there.

By the way, I'm speaking from experience here.  I was a Biology major,
and got my BS.  As my graduation approached, I sent out 100 resume's
to biotech companies.  I got 3 interviews, and 1 job offer.  I ended
up making $18,000/ year.  ( I made more than that as a bartender in
college)   What you'll find though is that, early in your career,
these jobs are a dime a dozen.  You stick with one for a year or two,
get some experience, and try to get on some publications if possible,
and then move to a different company for a higher salary.  Usually,
this is the fastest way to increase your income.  However, you have to
be careful not to switch jobs too often, or you look unstable.
Anyway, this is what I did and it worked OK for me.  Luckily I got
hooked up with a specialty lab, which is one of the few in the country
to do a certain type of testing.  After 1 1/2 years of showing them a
lot of hard work and dedication I was able to negotiate for a pretty
good salary, higher than most 27 year olds with a BS.  

Something else to consider.  Even if she does go back and get her PhD,
she's still not going to make good money for a while.  She'll probably
have to take a Post Doc position, which usually pays under $25,000.  

I don't want to sway you or her either way, especially based on money.
The only reason that I bring it up is that as you get older, and your
priorities change (i.e. family, house, etc.) money inevitably becomes
more of an issue.

That's about all I can tell you without knowing her situation more
specifically.  If you want, you, or she, can email me directly and we
can talk about it a little more in depth.  I'd be happy to help if I
can.

Oh, one last thing.  If she has any intention of going to Medical
school, DO NOT go for the BS in biology, unless she is an exceptional
student and expects to get mostly A's.  Bio majors apply to med school
by the thousands every year, and it is very hard to stand out in that
crowd.  She would be better off in a non-science major getting high
marks and just taking the necessary core courses in science to apply
to med school (of course she'd have to do very well in those courses).

Hope this helps, and again, feel free to email me directly.

Brian
bkaider at primenet.com




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