Online Biology Degrees

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For students who are interested in studying the natural world and enjoy the challenges that come with scientific research, a degree in Biology is a good starting point to enter into many prestigious careers.

Online Biology Degrees

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From teaching Biology in the school setting to working as a biology research scientist, there are many career paths available for those interested in earning their Biology degree online!

Careers in Biology

Typically, those who graduate from a Biology degree program pursue careers within the laboratory, healthcare, or educational setting.

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There are also many ways to customize your online Biology degree to specialize within your field of interest. By doing this, students have the potential to learn specialized skills that allow them to seek higher-level employment opportunities.

In the table below, we have put together a short list of biology careers and their average annual salaries to give you an idea of what to expect after graduation:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Biochemists and Biophysicists $102,270
Microbiologists $79,260
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $64,650
Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians $57,800
Biological Technicians $48,140


The biology careers listed above all show median annual salaries that are above the national average across all occupations. As with most careers, higher-level education and experience within the field will help you earn top pay, and you may make more or less than the numbers above depending upon your specific skillset.

Types of Online Biology Degrees

scientist doctor working with microscope

When considering a degree in biology, it is important to take into account the skills that you will need to learn in order to be successful in the workplace. Generally, those studying biology are required to take a number of lab and field-work courses to learn these specialized skills.

With the advancement of technology, some reputable online universities are now offering degrees online in biology that allow you to meet many of these course requirements right from the comfort of your own home.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Biology

two biologists working together in laboratory

This versatile online degree program in biology offers students the opportunity to develop a fundamental knowledge of animals, plants, and microorganisms. Throughout your course of study, you will take several classes that cover the various aspects of biological science as well as critical thinking and research.

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An online bachelor’s degree in biology prepares you for working within a number of professional industries, including:

  • Healthcare and related fields
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Animal care and research
  • Plant and environmental biology
  • Legal and governmental careers
  • Education

As is expected, studying the science of biology requires traditional students to complete several laboratory courses throughout their degree program. In some cases, online students may still be required to do in-person labs, although much of the information can be presented through interactive virtual laboratories, videos, and online lectures.

It is important for you to look into the specific requirements of your prospective school to ensure that you can meet the demands of successfully completing an online degree program in biology.

Online Master’s Degrees in Biology

lab assistant typing test results on laptop

Select universities offer master’s degrees in biology in the online setting. This graduate degree program helps students learn advanced skills that help prepare them for career advancement or higher-level positions in teaching, research, and public service.

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The admission to online master’s degree programs in biology is often as competitive as traditional programs, so it is always a good idea to look ahead to graduate degree requirements at the start of your educational journey. Throughout the course of your master’s degree program, you will delve into advanced-level classes and research on a variety of topics, including:

  • Virology
  • Molecular basis of diseases
  • Ecological methods
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied and environmental microbiology

In order to graduate with your master’s in biology degree, you will typically be required to complete a thesis and sit for comprehensive examinations. Some colleges also require in-person components to your graduate-level classes, such as supervised research projects and laboratory practicums.

Biology Career Outlook and Salary Information

biology intern using laptop and microscope at laboratory

Biology is a very broad field, and an online degree will introduce you to a number of different specialties within the professional scientific world.

When choosing to enroll in a Biology degree program, it is wise to have an idea of the career path that you would like to take after graduation. The career outlook and salary information for several different careers within the field of biology can be found on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website, and it is a great starting point for researching your future career options.

For example, the BLS projects that those who work as biological technicians will experience an estimated occupational growth of 7% over the next 10 years. On the other hand, jobs as a biochemist and biophysicist are projected to grow 5% within that same time frame.

The average annual salary for those working in the field of biology varies widely based upon their specialization and experience level within the industry.

View our list of the top 40 Biology careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Is an Online Degree in Biology Right for me?

lab technician looking at the microscope image

When considering an online degree in biology, there are several factors to look at before deciding that virtual learning is right for you. The courses that you will take throughout your degree program involve in-depth research and study, so those who are motivated, organized learners are best suited for this type of program.

Traditional on-campus students have the opportunity to practice their skills within a laboratory setting, and those who are earning their degree online will need to master these skills in a different way. Some schools require lab hours to be completed in person, while others may utilize technological platforms to help students understand the practical skills necessary to work within this field.

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Although you won’t necessarily have the opportunity to participate in laboratory classes on-campus, there are still several advantages to earning a biology degree online, including:

  • Options to combine a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology
  • Extensive online resources to help you master the necessary skills for professional employment
  • Opportunity to work at a faster pace than traditional, on-campus students
  • Flexible scheduling options that allow you to manage career and family obligations
  • Possibility of lower tuition costs for online biology programs

When making the decision as to whether an online degree in biology is right for you, be sure that you do your research into your school’s requirements for graduation. If you have the drive to take the lead on your educational journey, an online biology degree program could be the perfect starting point for a lucrative professional career.

Comparing Top Biology Degree Programs

In addition to the consideration of whether an online learning platform is right for you, there are many other topics that you should research before choosing a biology degree program.

With the increased popularity of online learning, it is important to check into the following credentials of your prospective schools to ensure that you are enrolling in a program that will be respected once you are ready to enter the workforce.

Accreditation

university campus offering online biology degrees

Accreditation is an essential aspect of a reputable degree program. By going through the accreditation process, universities, and colleges are ensuring that their students are receiving a quality education that will benefit them throughout their future careers.

Additionally, if you plan on furthering your education with a graduate-level biology degree, many schools will only accept credits completed from accredited colleges.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes several accrediting agencies, and it is useful to have a general understanding of which agencies are recognized for your region and degree program. A few of the names that you may see throughout your research include:

For specific information on the accrediting agencies that are recognized in your region, check out the U.S. Department of Education’s website!

Student to Faculty Ratio

Having a low student-to-faculty ratio in your biology courses is important for a number of reasons. The advanced skills that you will need to master throughout this course of study require individualized guidance and support from your instructors, and small class sizes can help them provide this high level of support.

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In addition to low student-to-faculty ratios, you will want to ensure that your biology classes are taught by leading experts within the field. To find out more about the accomplishments and credentials of your future professors, take the time to look through the faculty section of your school’s website.

Academic Advising and Student Services

Two scientists working in laboratory

As you work toward your online biology degree, it can be very helpful to have the support of additional services offered through your college. These student services offer an extra level of support that can help you reach your full educational potential. Examples of these advising and student services may include:

  • Online tutoring and mentorship services for those in advanced biology courses
  • Distance learning support team for any issues that may arise throughout the course of your program
  • Variety of online educational platforms to help you master high-level skills
  • Virtual lectures and opportunities to connect with science experts throughout the country
  • Extensive online research and library resources
  • Flexible scheduling for any in-person course requirements

If you are someone with a passion for the natural world and would like to use your skills to advance the scientific field, an online biology degree offers a flexible way to take the first step toward a professional career. Whether you want to work as a biology teacher, a microbiologist, or a research scientist, there are a number of ways to turn your biology degree into a rewarding career.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.