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Careers in Biology

There are many different things that biology majors do after graduation. Understanding your interests and your strengths can help direct your goals. But it is also important to gain experiences. Shadow and interview a variety of professionals, volunteer, participate in internships and research. Only when you learn about the world of work, will you start to see your place in it. Only when you put yourself into various environments will you be able to feel when something is right. Your major is not going to give you a definitive answer, but it will help you to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to design your future.

US Census Bureau data on STEM majors and occupations

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

US Department of Labor O*NET Online

UI Pomerantz Career Center

Careers in the Biological Sciences: American Institute of Biological Sciences

ZipRecruiter Free Career Resources:
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Arts, Media, & Entertainment

Arts, Media, & Entertainment

    Do you consider yourself to be creative, expressive, or imaginative? Do you like to talk about science and help others understand science? Can you see yourself creating a museum exhibit or planning a fundraising event? Are you artistically inclined, have good drawing or graphic design skills?  

    Many scientists rely on public funding, so being able to share information with the larger community is necessary to furthering scientific endeavors. Zoos, museums, organizations and foundations support scientific research and disseminate scientific information. Science is often represented in movies, television and print.

    Jobs in this Community

    Biology Department Greenhouse
    • Biology Illustrator
    • Nature or Science Documentarian
    • Foundation Program Director
    • Medical Illustrator
    • Museum Curator
    • Nature Photographer
    • Science Fiction Writer

    Other Academic Credentials

    UI Museum of Natural History
    • Minors
      • Art
      • Theatre Arts
      • Cinema
      • Communication Studies
      • Rhetoric and Persuasion
    • Certificates
      • Event Planning
      • Fundraising & Philanthropy Communication
      • Media Entrepreneurialism
      • Museum Studies Certificate
      • Writing
    • Other

    Extracurricular Options

    DNA Day in Iowa City
    • DNA interest Group
    • Biology Student Ambassadors
    • Internships with a museum or organization

    Environment, Conservation and Agriculture

    Do you consider yourself problem-focused, thoughtful, or eco-friendly? Are you interested in learning about human/environment interactions or conservation efforts that support sustainable living? Does it sound fun to conduct field work outside? Could you see yourself analyzing environmental data through geologic mapping, helping to prevent environmental hazard disasters, or advocating for “going green?”

    Careers in this community focus on studying the physical aspects of the earth and applying knowledge to educate and inform on how to protect the environment and human/animal health

    Jobs in this Community

    Iowa's natural resources
    • Animal Behaviorist
    • Ecologist
    • Laboratory and Field Operations Technician
    • Marine Biologist
    • Marine Ecologist
    • Natural Resources Manager
    • Natural Resources Technician
    • Water Quality Technician  
    • Wildlife Biologist

    Other Academic Credentials


    Extracurricular Options

    Iowa prairie
    • Research
    • Internship or volunteering with nature center, environmental organization or other sustainability program
    Health & Wellness

    Health & Wellness

    Do you consider yourself to be nurturing, curious, or solution-focused? Are you interested in learning about how the body works and how to keep it healthy? Does it sound like fun to work at a hospital, clinic, or laboratory? Could you see yourself working with specific populations, like children, senior citizens, or animals?

    Some careers will involve working closely with people on a daily basis, others may involve more laboratory work or be more technical in nature.

    Jobs in this Community

    UI Medicine
    • Anesthesiologist Assistant
    • Chiropractor
    • Cytotechnologist
    • Dentist
    • Doctor of Medicine
    • Doctor of Optometry
    • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    • Epidemiologist
    • Genetic Counselor
    • Medical Librarian
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Optometrist
    • Orthoptist
    • Orthotist/Prosthetist
    • Pathologist
    • Perfusionist
    • Pharmacist
    • Physical Therapist
    • Physician Assistant

    Other Academic Credentials

    UI Dentistry
    • Minors
      • Aging Studies
      • Communication Sciences and Disorders
      • Gender, Health and Healthcare Equity
      • Global Health Studies
      • Health and Human Condition
      • Human Relations
      • Global Health Studies
    • Certificates
      • Clinical and Translational Science
      • Aging and Longevity Studies
      • Disability Studies
      • Public Health

    Extracurricular Options

    ISU Vet School

    Business & Entrepreneurship

    Do you consider yourself to have strong communication, management, or numerical skills? Are you interested in learning about marketing a product or conducting a financial analysis? Does it sound like fun to try to persuade or influence those around you? Could you see yourself working in a corporate environment collaborating with others to accomplish company goals?

    The number of industry jobs for life science majors continues to expand. The range of biology related industries is quite extensive and includes bioprocessing, biotechnology, renewable energies, agribusiness, medical manufacturing, pharmaceutical and food industries.

    • Graduate Education: There are advancement opportunities in the business industry that may not require additional formal education, but some may gravitate toward an MBA or Master’s degree in Biotechnology.
    • Resources

    Jobs in this Community

    Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing
    • Biological technicians
    • Process Development Associate
    • Project Manager
    • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
    • Quality Assurance
    • Wholesale and Manufacturing

    Other Academic Credentials

    Microfabrication Facility (UIMF)

    Extracurricular Options

    Center for Student Involvement & Leadership
    • Biology Student Ambassadors
    • DNA Interest Group
    • Internship or part-time work in a biotechnology or biological industry company
    • Research or work in a lab
    • University Leadership programs

    Law & Public Service

    Do you consider yourself to be a good writer, resilient, or optimistic? Are you interested in learning about developing public policy or addressing issues through governmental initiatives? Do you like to solve mysteries? Does it sound like fun to argue legal issues or lead a civic improvement project? Could you see yourself working for a city, state, or federal agency or non-profit organization?

    Careers in this community focus on public affairs, politics, the legal system, and serving the community. Avenues in law with a biology background include patent law, evironmental law and healthcare law.

    Jobs in this Community

    Patent Law
    • DNA analyst
    • Forensic Pathologist
    • Forensic Science Technician
    • Forensic Scientist
    • Lawyer
    • Patent Agent
    • Patent Analyst
    • Public Health Administrator
    • Toxicologist

    Other Academic Credentials

    UI Pathology Lab


    Extracurricular Options

    UI Law Library
    • Biology Student Ambassadors
    • DNA Interest Group
    • Internship in law or with a forensic lab
    • Laboratory research
    • University Leadership programs

    Science Research

    Do you consider yourself inquisitive, analytical, or insightful? Are you interested in learning about scientific issues or applying technical concepts to solve problems? Does it sound like fun to perform lab experiments or utilize a microscope to examine cells? Could you see yourself investigating scientific principles by collecting and analyzing data?

    You can work in a laboratory setting with a bachelor's degree. Certification or advanced degrees can lead to additional job opportunities.You will need a PhD to run your own lab.

    Jobs in this Community

    UI Undergraduate Research
    • Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologist
    • Natural Science Manager
    • Research Assistant
    • Research Associate
    • Research Scientist

    Other Academic Credentials

    Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank
    • Minors
      • Geographic Information Science
      • Informatics
      • Statistics
    • Certificates:
      • Clinical & Translational Science Certificate
      • Drug Discovery
      • Drug Delivery
      • Global Health Studies

    Extracurricular Options

    Student poster presentation


    Do you consider yourself to be helpful, patient, or understanding? Are you interested in learning about best methods to reach students or setting curriculum standards? Does is sound like fun to explain ideas and concepts to a classroom of learners? Could you see yourself teaching others to assist with understanding and comprehension?

    There are different levels and forms of science education, depending on what level of science you want to teach and with what age group you want to work. There are Secondary School certification options through UI’s College of Education. The combined B.A./M.A.T. (4+1) Science Education program provides a seamless process for students to earn the Bachelor’s in Biology and Master’s in Education in five years. Education at the collegiate level can be in the form of full-time instructor or combining research and teaching. Some students may be interested in educating the general public about our natural world or human biology. Career paths exist within federal and state agencies, museums, and hospitals.

    Jobs in this Community

    Biology instruction
    • College Instructor
    • Health Educator
    • Conservation Instructor
    • Museum, aquarium, or zoo program coordinator
    • Science Librarian
    • Secondary School Teacher
    • Tenured Faculty

    Other Academic Credentials

    Geoscience Field Course

    Extracurricular Options

    Hawkeyes at the Microscope
    • Intern or volunteer with a zoo, museum, aquarium or natural park
    • Volunteer in the department with Hawkeyes at the Microscope or other outreach programs

    Data & Information Technology

    Do you consider yourself to be a systematic, precise, or efficient person? Are you interested in learning about preparing statistical charts, writing code, or analyzing data? Does it sound like fun to test computer programs and software applications? Could you see yourself working in a constantly changing high-tech environment?

    Careers in this community focus on developing computer systems, managing computer networks, and interpreting and presenting data to address industry problems.

    Examples of Jobs

    Uiowa CCG
    • Bioinformatician
    • Computational Biologist
    • Health Informatics Specialist
    • Public Policy Analyst

    Other Academic Credentials

    UI Dept of Pharmacology
    • Minors
      • Informatics
      • Statistics
      • Computer Science
    • Certificates
      • Big Data Certificate
      • Public Health

    Extracurricular Options

    UI Neuroscience Lab
    • Research
    • Internships
    • Part-time work in computer related field