Types of Degrees General Biology Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many general biology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What General Biology Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to biology and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Biology Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in biology should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Skills for Biology Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to biology:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for Biology Majors
A major in biology will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Can You Do With a General Biology Major?
People with a biology degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Biological Science Professors||15.1%||$82,550|
|Clinical Research Coordinators||9.9%||$123,860|
|Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists||13.4%||$84,810|
|Molecular and Cellular Biologists||8.0%||$79,590|
|Natural Sciences Managers||9.9%||$123,860|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||7.5%||$60,320|
|Water Resource Specialists||9.9%||$123,860|
Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in General Biology?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of biology majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||654|
|Hispanic or Latino||648|
Students from other countries are interested in Biology, too. About 8.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
How Much Do General Biology Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in biology have a median salary of $36,800 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $27,350 (25th percentile) and $45,200 (75th percentile).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to biology.
Salaries According to BLS
Biology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $83,600 to $97,340 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to General Biology
Some degrees associated with biology may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for biology careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||0.5%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||1.1%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.2%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||1.6%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||4.2%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.8%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.0%|
Online General Biology Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,751 schools offered some type of general biology program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||27||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||15||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||1||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||227||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in General Biology Worth It?
The median salary for a biology grad is $89,150 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 123% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $985,000 after 20 years!
Explore Major by State
Majors Related to General Biology
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to biology.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology||3,098|
|Physiology & Pathology Sciences||2,214|
|Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology||2,071|
|Biomathematics & Bioinformatics||1,894|
|Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other)||1,888|
|Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences||1,488|
|Microbiological Sciences & Immunology||1,211|
|Neurobiology & Neurosciences||1,120|
|Pharmacology & Toxicology||931|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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