What You Can do With a Life Science Degree
Whether you've recently graduated or you're looking to make a change in your career, there are ample jobs and opportunities available for those with a degree in the life sciences.
What You Can Do with a Life Science Degree
The skills and knowledge gained in life science degree programs can lead to jobs in pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, government regulatory agencies and universities, just to name a few. While some positions require post-graduate degrees, there are plenty of jobs available for bachelor’s degree holders, and even some for those with associate degrees.
Research and Development
Job seekers with a bachelor’s degree in life science qualify for many entry-level positions in research and development departments. These positions could be in drug manufacturing, analysis or clinical trial operations.
Laboratory or Biological Technician
For applicants looking for work in a laboratory, an entry-level position as a laboratory technician involves assisting biologists and medical scientists with collecting and preparing samples to analyze. Technicians may conduct basic experiments themselves, guided by senior staff. Qualifications vary, and some companies will even hire people with only associate degrees in a science field.
However, most companies require a Bachelor's in science for these positions. Employers include government agencies such as the USDA, nonprofit research companies and private research and pharmaceutical companies. According to BioSpace's 2022 U.S. Life Sciences Salary Report, technicians earn a yearly average of $77,823.
Clinical Research Assistant or Associate
A clinical research assistant or clinical research associate (CRA) job usually only requires a bachelor’s life science degree.
Responsibilities may include preparing the lab, processing study volunteers or participants, taking biological samples or collecting research information and organizing the resulting data for a research scientist. An assistant might earn between $56,600 and $76,000, whereas an associate is often a higher-level position, and they earn an average of $77,536.
There are several fields where laboratory, research, or even administrative assistant can lead to higher-level positions through on-the-job learning. Employers look for candidates with science knowledge and training.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
Occupational health and safety specialists make sure workplaces and work procedures are safe and don’t endanger employee health. While you may enter this field as an administrative assistant or intern, you learn the ropes and can grow into a specialist position. Most employers consider a science background acceptable for the job.
For those looking to use their degree to work in a specific field, there are several different opportunities available. If you have a special skill set related to one field of study, here are a few of the best options.
This is another field you can enter with a bachelor’s life science degree. You may start as a lab or research assistant, helping to analyze and test food for safety and nutritional content.
Food scientists carry out various duties depending on their specific job roles. For example, you may look for contaminants in food, develop safer food packaging, inspect food preparation areas for safety, or research ways to make food stay viable longer.
As an environmental scientist, you could use your biology or environmental science degree to help guide businesses, government agencies and the public on ecological hazards. You'll gather data and analyze it to learn about the environment. In addition, you'll help to develop plans to reduce harm to the environment and ensure that environmental regulations are being followed correctly.
Forensic Science Technician
While people who earn forensic science degrees have the specific training needed to work in police departments, a life science degree may be sufficient for some employers if the field interests you. Forensic science technicians help the police solve crimes by collecting and analyzing evidence from crime scenes.
Marketing and Sales
These jobs focus on marketing, promoting and selling the products a pharmaceutical company produces. Marketing, advertising and selling pharmaceuticals must follow all government rules and regulations for the industry.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives
Sales representatives visit doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to educate them about new drugs and treatments to increase sales for the company. Income is often based on commission or a base salary plus commission. While the average pay for a sales rep is $77,291, they also earn a commission, which comes in at an average of $4I,667 a year.
Pharmaceutical Marketing Assistants
Marketing assistants for pharmaceutical companies or advertising agencies that represent them help marketing coordinators or executives develop marketing materials for products while following government rules and regulations. Writing and graphic design skills, in addition to a life science background, may be required.
While an assistant’s job is mostly administrative, companies marketing medical devices and pharmaceuticals prefer hiring employees with a life science degree to progress into a marketing coordinator or marketing executive position. The job includes research, data analysis and brand oversight.