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. 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. 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:
|Job Title||Job Summary||
Median Annual Salary
|Assistant Professor, Postsecondary||Instructs students in higher education in topics related to their specialized field while working to further the research of their concentration.||
|Associate Research Scientist||Responsible for designing and implementing research projects and analyzing the information.||
|Research Associate, Molecular Biology||Typically works within university and college laboratories by assisting with clinical trial studies and research tasks.||
|Microbiologist||Studies the biology of microorganisms and works in research and development.||
|Biological Science Laboratory Technician||Performs a wide range of tasks in a biological laboratory that involves the proper care of plants that are being studied.||
*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com
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
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 work place. 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
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.
Online Bachelor’s in Biology:
An online bachelor’s degree in Biology will prepare you for working within a number of professional industries, including:
- Healthcare and related fields
- Animal care and research
- Plant and environmental biology
- Legal and governmental careers
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
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. Admission to online master’s degree programs in Biology are 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.
Online Master’s in Biology (and related fields)
Throughout the course of your master’s degree program, you will delve into advanced level classes and research in a variety of topics, including:
- Molecular basis of diseases
- Ecological Methods
- 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 is a very broad field, and an online degree in Biology 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 occupational growth of 5% by the year 2024. On the other hand, jobs as a biochemist and biophysicist are projected to grow 8% within that same time frame. These careers are at or above the growth rate for all occupations throughout the country, while other careers such as zoologists and microbiologists will see a 4% growth by 2024 – slightly slower than the national average.
The average annual salary for those working in the field of biology varies widely based upon their specialization and experience level within the industry. For instance, the BLS shows that biological technicians make an average of $41,650 per year, while biochemists and biophysicists make an annual salary that averages $82,150!
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?
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.
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 in 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 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:
- National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
- Regional accrediting agencies
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation
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 for reasons. The advanced skills that you will need to master throughout this course of study requires individualized guidance and support from your instructors, and small class sizes can help them provide this high level of support.
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
As you work towards 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 towards a professional career. Whether you want to work as a Biology teacher, a microbiologist, or research scientist, there are a number of ways to turn your Biology degree into a rewarding career!