Career Opportunities

Jobs in Biology

There are many jobs available to individuals with degrees in biology. A Ph.D. is usually required for independent research, but a bachelor's or master's degree is sufficient for many careers in applied research, product development, and health care, as well as many nonresearch jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job competition can be quite high for doctoral degree holders seeking independent research positions, however those with bachelor's or master's degrees generally have ample employment opportunities.

Many jobs for biologists are in fields such as Health Care, Research and Development, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, Education, Public Health, Government Agencies, and Forensic Science.

Where Biologists Work

The U.S. Department of Labor statistics indicate that about 40% of biological scientists work for the government in some capacity, while most of the rest work in pharmaceutical and biotechnology establishments, hospitals, or research and testing laboratories. Many biologists also go on to hold teaching positions in universities, colleges, and secondary schools. Here is a list of some employers of biologists:

  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Biotechnology Firms
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Hospitals
  • Public health facilities
  • Zoos and Aquariums
  • Arboretums
  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Government Laboratories
  • Research Laboratories
  • Environmental Agencies
  • Conservation Agencies
  • Inspection Agencies
  • Control Boards
  • Agricultural Industry
  • Manufactures of lab equipment
  • Manufactures medical supplies
  • Research foundations
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Chemical manufacturers
  • Dental Heath facilities
  • Museums

The Future of Biology

Although no one can predict the future, job growth in biology continues to be higher than the national average. The biological sciences experienced rapid growth in the 80's and 90's, mostly because of the growth of major biotechnology companies. Unfortunately, competition for jobs will almost certainly remain high for those seeking independent research positions. However, the future is brighter for those looking for science-related jobs in sales, marketing, and research management, or as engineering technicians, health technologists and technicians. (U.S. Dept of Labor) Biology Job Links

For more information about Penn State Altoona's Biology Program:

Laura Palmer

Dr. Laura K. Palmer

Associate Professor of Biology
Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Office: 206 Hawthorn Building
Phone: 814-949-5205

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Corien Bakermans

Dr. Corien Bakermans

Associate Professor of Microbiology
Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Office: 204 Hawthorn Building
Phone: 814-940-3313

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