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
In an O*NET survey, biology majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for Biology Majors
Biology majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- 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
A major in biology prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:
- 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
As a biology major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:
- 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|
Biology appeals to people across the globe. 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
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in general biology made a median starting salary of $36,800 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $27,350 (25th percentile) and $45,200 (75th percentile).
We don’t know for sure if all of these people took jobs related to biology so take that into consideration.
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 you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
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. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to biology have obtained the following education levels.
|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!
Majors Related to General Biology
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to biology.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology||14,004|
|Neurobiology & Neurosciences||9,504|
|Physiology & Pathology Sciences||7,844|
|Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology||6,987|
|Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences||5,671|
|Microbiological Sciences & Immunology||4,469|
|Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other)||3,646|
|Biomathematics & Bioinformatics||2,404|
|Pharmacology & Toxicology||1,148|
- 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.