Here are some options for you after you graduate with your life science degree.
While many life science majors enter postgraduate study immediately after receiving their bachelor’s degree, for those who don’t (about 60%), there are jobs. During your four-year bachelor’s degree in one of the natural sciences, you have developed many skills that employers appreciate.
- Collaborate with others on team projects
- Conducting laboratory and field studies
- collect data precisely
- Think analytically and solve complex problems
- analyze data
- Understand scientific methodology
- Presenting oral and written reports
The skills and knowledge acquired in life science degree programs lead to jobs in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government regulators, universities and schools. Positions can be in clinical trials, laboratory research, manufacturing, drug safety, quality assurance, or quality control. There are also careers in sales, marketing, and education. Many positions require postgraduate degrees, but there are positions for undergraduate degrees and even some for those who only have an associate’s degree.
Career prospects for life science graduates
research and product development
Job seekers with a bachelor’s degree in life sciences qualify for many entry-level positions in the research and development departments of pharmaceutical companies. These positions may be in drug manufacturing, analysis or clinical trial operations.
laboratory or biotechnician
For applicants seeking work in a laboratory, an entry-level laboratory technician position involves assisting biologists and medical professionals in the collection and preparation of samples for analysis. Technicians can perform basic experiments themselves under the guidance of senior staff. Qualifications vary, and some companies even hire people with only an associate’s degree in a science field. However, most companies require a bachelor’s degree in a science. The companies train the right candidate for the specific tasks. Employers include government agencies such as USDA, nonprofit research companies, and private research and pharmaceutical companies. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for a biological lab technician in the United States is between $44,443 yearly.
Clinical Research Assistant or Associate
A clinical research assistant or clinical research associate (CRA) job typically only requires a bachelor’s degree in life sciences. The research study or clinical studies could relate to new drugs or medical devices. Responsibilities may include preparing the laboratory, processing study volunteers or participants, collecting biological samples or collecting research information, and organizing the resulting data for a research scientist. According to Salary.com, an assistant could earn between $56,600 and $76,000while an employee is often in a higher position and may earn slightly more.
There are several areas where laboratory, research or even administrative assistants can lead to higher positions through on-the-job learning. Employers look for candidates with scientific knowledge and education.
Specialist for occupational safety and health protection
Occupational safety and health protection specialists ensure that workplaces and work processes are safe and do not endanger the health of employees. While you can enter this field as an administrative assistant or intern, you will learn and grow into a specialist position. Most employers consider a science background acceptable. Specialists can earn about $70,000.
This is another field you can enter with a bachelor’s degree in life sciences. You can start as a laboratory or research assistant, helping to analyze and test food for safety and nutritional value. Food scientists perform different tasks depending on the task at hand. For example, you can look for contaminants in food, design safer food packaging, inspect food preparation areas for safety, or research ways to extend food shelf life. Food scientists can earn about $63,000.
As an environmental scientist, you can use your biology or environmental science degree to educate businesses, government agencies, and the public about environmental hazards. They collect data and analyze it to learn more about the environment. In addition, you will help develop plans to reduce environmental damage and ensure that environmental regulations are correctly followed. According to Salary.com, the average environmental scientist earns around $69,800.
While individuals who earn a forensic science degree will have the specific training needed to work in police departments, a life sciences degree may be sufficient for some employers if the field interests you. Forensic scientists help police solve crimes by collecting and analyzing evidence from crime scenes. Average earnings $60,200.
Marketing and sales jobs
These jobs focus on marketing, promoting, and selling the products that a pharmaceutical company manufactures. The marketing, advertising, and sale of drugs must follow all government rules and regulations for the industry.
pharmaceutical sales representatives
Sales associates visit doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to educate them about new drugs and treatments to increase the company’s sales. Income is often based on a commission or a base salary plus commission. While the average remuneration for a representative is approx $68,000According to Salary.com, many make over $100,000 after a few years.
Pharmaceutical Marketing Assistant
Marketing assistants for pharmaceutical companies or the advertising agencies they represent help marketing coordinators or executives develop marketing materials for products in compliance with government rules and regulations. Writing and graphics skills and a life sciences background may be required. While an assistant’s job is primarily administrative, companies that market medical devices and pharmaceuticals prefer employees with a life sciences degree to advance to a marketing coordinator or marketing manager position. The job includes research, data analysis and brand oversight. An average starting salary across the country is around $45,000. Marketing executives make $70,000+.