Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs for Life Scientists

Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs for Life Scientists
August 20, 2015
By Angela Rose for

At a time when many graduates are finding it difficult to land jobs, it is interesting to note that life science graduates have a few options they can depend on. This is good news, considering that the media outlets are filled with horror stories of graduates languishing at home without jobs, or having to make do with terrible part-time jobs without benefits. Life science encompasses many different jobs, but here is an overview of five that are growing very rapidly (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and promise to be lucrative for job seekers in the next few years.

1. Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical engineers analyze problems in medicine and biology, and come up with the appropriate solutions. Their ultimate goal is to improve the efficiency of patient care. They work in diverse industries such as universities, medical institutions, research centers, manufacturing industries, and many others. The BLS expects demand for biomedical engineers to be approximately 27 percent for the decade ending 2022. This demand is way above the average for all jobs, and it will likely be fueled by the expected increase in public appreciation of biomedical engineering. With an annual median pay of $86,960 (May 2012), aspiring biomedical engineers should not worry about the job market.

2. Medical Science
Medical scientists are primarily concerned with researching different ways of improving human health. They use different investigative methods in their line of work, such as clinical trials. Medical scientists tend to work in teams rather than individually. They work in laboratories as well as in offices. Job openings for medical scientists are expected to increase by 13 percent for the decade ending 2022, an increase that is very much larger than the industry-wide average. Aspiring medical scientists, however, should be prepared to get PhDs in appropriate life sciences because that is what most employers need. It is totally worth it because the annual median salary is $76,980 (May 2012).

3. Biochemistry and Biophysics
Biochemists and biophysicists deal with chemical and physical properties of living things. They also study biological processes, for example, heredity, growth and cell development. The majority of biophysicists and biochemists work full time in laboratories. This field is also growing, with a growth projection of 19 percent for the period from 2012 to 2022 . This high rate of growth will mainly be due to the increased demand for biological products needed to improve life standards for people across the globe. Most employers will require PhDs for advanced positions and graduates with master's or bachelor's degrees may start in entry-level positions. BLS indicates the median annual salary as $81,480 (May 2012).

4. Epidemiology
Epidemiologists study diseases and different public health problems to determine their causes. Their major aim in doing this is to prevent occurrences or recurrences of diseases. Most, but not all, epidemiologists work for the government in different work environments such as laboratories, health centers, and universities, among others. The job outlook for epidemiologists is bright too, given that the industry is expected to grow by 10 percent for the decade ending 2022. A master's degree is needed in this occupation, but some epidemiologists also hold PhDs. According to the BLS, the median salary for epidemiologists in 2012 was $65,270 (May 2012).

5. Microbiology
Microbiologists are concerned with the study of microscopic organisms, such as fungi and algae. They do most of their work in laboratories. Although it is be possible to get an entry level microbiology job with a bachelor's degree, most microbiologists have PhDs. The industry is expected to grow by approximately seven percent for the decade ending 2022, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. Microbiologists command a nice annual average salary of $66,260 (May 2012).

It is clear from the above discussions that careers in life sciences are going to hold some of the best job opportunities in the next decade. Most of the fast growing occupations may be considered non-traditional, but they are fast becoming mainstream occupations. An examination of the Bright Outlook Occupations section of U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Information Network (O*Net) website reveals that most of them are in life science.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - August 20, 2015.
Sign up for the free bi-weekly Career Insider eNewsletter.

Back to news