Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment, researching problems dealing with life processes and living organisms. Most specialize in some area of biology, such as zoology or microbiology. Those who conduct research usually work in laboratories and use electron microscopes, thermal cyclers, and a variety of other equipment. Some conduct experiments using laboratory animals or greenhouse plants. Some conduct basic research to advance knowledge of living organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. Biological scientists in research or development experiment with new drugs, treatments, and medical diagnostic tests; increase crop yields; and protect and clean up the environment by with biofuels. Scientists often work in teams, interacting with engineers, scientists of other disciplines, business managers, and technicians.
$50,000 – $75,000
A Ph.D. degree usually is required for independent research, but a master’s degree is sufficient for some jobs in applied research or product development; a bachelor’s degree is adequate for some nonresearch jobs. Doctoral degree holders face competition for basic research positions; holders of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in biological science can expect better opportunities in nonresearch positions.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education, jobs in the biotech field are expected to jump 9-17% with roughly 392,000 positions opening by 2016. This includes jobs within the federal, state and local government levels, which have a projected growth of 4.8% (or 10.8 million to 11.3 million jobs opened by 2016.)