The 5 Best Entry Level Biology Jobs (& Salaries)
I was looking at a blog post from Indeed when I saw this was the first result for biology degree careers.
A biology degree is a versatile degree. There are a ton of options for further education and careers, so many biology degree graduates can go in a number of directions.
I was actually a pre-med student prior to dropping out and pursuing freelance writing and blogging. I’m still pretty familiar with all of the internship and job opportunities that a biology degree can get you.
I’ve scoured the internet to find the best entry level biology jobs that pay well. Here are some opportunities you can pursue with a biology degree.
Before I get into the actual jobs, let me share something very important with you. You need to start networking right now.
I know many biology grads and students are pretty smart, but no one really tells you how to get a job/internship.
Every single internship and job I got throughout and after college was by networking. Even if you’re a 4.0 student, people are highly unlikely to hire you if they don’t know you.
There are a lot of students you’re way smarter than getting into doors you won’t simply because they know someone. Sending an email, get a lunch, do what you need to do to get your foot in the door.
Alright, let’s get into it.
1. Research tech/assistant (35k-60k)
Depending on where you’re located this role can have several names. A research technician or assistant basically does a lot of work around labs to help with research projects.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the pay is relatively good for a graduate. At $23 per hour, the annual pre-tax income will come at just over $49,000.
It’s important to mention that pay can vary depending on your location, place of employment, etc. With that being said, a research technician is one of the best entry level biology jobs out there.
The only qualifications for this role is to have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology, chemistry or similar science.
In this role, you will be expected to:
- Basic lab procedures, equipment, etc
- Understanding of data analysis
- Have competent writing abilities
A lot of the job requirements you will be trained for, but you will need to be able to adapt quickly.
When I worked in a lab for a summer internship, I was basically thrown into the day to day work. I worked with lab technicians basically every day. You will likely have to work with the scientists in the lab along with any other students (undergrad and graduate).
2. Medical/pharmaceutical sales ($30k-$150k)
Out of all of the career paths in this post, this one is the most financially lucrative. Can you be a millionaire biologist? Yes, but it’s far more likely to be a millionaire medical or pharmaceutical salesperson.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t know anything about medical or pharmaceutical sales when you get out of college.
What does that even mean?
At a basic level, medical and pharmaceutical companies need people with a science background to sell their products. You probably have heard the term “big pharma” or insurance companies in the news, especially around election times.
Well, their reputation is earned because they make big money. Just look at this job post I came across:
$75k-$300k and you only need a high school diploma? Where do I sign up?
As a new biology grad, you should seek an entry level medical/pharma sales representative position. You will not make crazy money with no experience. These roles will teach you how to actually sell products to hospitals, pharmacies, etc.
Once you actually do this and learn how to sell, you can start demanding the big bucks.
Here’s what you need to be able to do as a medical or pharmaceutical sales rep:
- Travel to meet clients, to test products and sell to clients
- Deliver presentations to healthcare staff to sell your company’s products
- Coordinate sales, customer service, etc for completing deals
- Do market research and competitor research.
If you can do this over the span of a few years, you can be earning over six figures annually.
3. Teaching ($25k to $50k)
Teaching is one of the best entry level biology jobs for graduates. This is because it’s a realistic job to get for most graduates.
As an entry level teacher, you won’t have to teach high level biology concepts. The majority of what you will teach is fundamental and basic biology lessons to students.
Teaching often gets a bad rep because of pay, but for a young graduate it can be a good cushion while you look for new opportunities.
The last thing you want is to sit unemployed for a year after you have graduated with a biology degree.
The pay for teaching will often vary greatly based on what grades you teach and the city you are teaching in. Some cities are extremely underserved when it comes to teachers, so you can demand a higher salary.
As a teacher, your roles will include:
- Plan and develop a curriculum for your classes
- Collaborate with other teachers, counselors, etc. to help meet student needs
- Administer standardizes tests and evaluate students
- Build and maintain good relationships with students and parents.
Unless you live in a large city, you will likely have to move to get the teaching job you want. You can also explore alternative teaching careers like tutoring, consultations and more.
Whether you’re looking to enter the workforce or pursue an academic career, teaching is one of the best entry level biology jobs.
4. Biologist/Ecologist/Scientist ($40k-$90k)
I’ve lumped these kinds of jobs together since they vary so much depending on the company hiring. As a scientist, biologist, etc., you will be doing the actual research for projects.
In contrast to a lab technician where you help out with the research projects, these roles require you to understand the science at a fundamental level.
As a new graduate, the chances of you being able to do this are pretty slim. This is why entry level positions for these jobs pay little. Once you do some projects, you can seek other employment or ask for a raise.
Out of all of the career paths on this post, this is the most difficult in my opinion. Instead of being an employee at a lab, you’re a real scientist. The first few years may be difficult, but you can move up once you establish yourself and the career opportunities in academia and industry are endless.
Regarding pay, entry level jobs are around $30-$40k to start. You can keep increasing your salary each year. Established biologists, ecologists and scientists have reported close to $80k-$90k per year.
5. Content writing ($30k-$70k)
I’m not even being biased (I am a little), but this is an actual career path for biology grads. It’s even on Indeed.com.
Writing is one of the best skills you can learn because it’s helpful in basically every career path.
If you know anything about biology, you know there’s a ton of writing required. Those textbooks, magazines, websites, blog posts, etc. didn’t write themselves. Someone is being paid to write it, so why not you?
I dropped out of school to pursue writing and just last month I made over $6,000 writing. Check out my blog post here to see how I did it.
How does content writing work?
To put it simply, content writing is basically just writing whatever a company asks you to. Sounds very generic, but that’s the truth.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to write a poem or anything. The main types of writing you probably will run into include:
- blog posts
- case studies
- ebooks and more
As a content writer with a biology degree, you will probably be writing about science-related subjects. You don’t need to know all of the information from your head, most of content writing is doing research and paraphrasing what you read.
As a content writer, you’ll be assigned a certain number of content pieces each month and you’ll spend most of your time writing them.
There are content jobs where you will have to write basically all day, but most is like 5-6 hours of writing per day.
Personally, I write about 3-4 hours a day between this blog and my writing job. The rate you work at will determine how much content you will have to write.
You will generally get paid for your work at the end of a project or every few weeks if you’re an employee.
The good thing about content writing is you can expand your horizons and write about new topics. Although I was a science major in college, I’ve only wrote about 2-3 science related blogs in 2 years.
The majority of the writing I do is IT/tech related. That’s where my interests lie and that niche pays pretty good.
Should you get a job or do it freelance?
For content writing, I’d recommend keeping a job. Whether that’s your current day job or you get a real job as a content writer, keep a job.
One thing that people who are new to writing need to understand is that your writing ability does not equal your income.
Are there writers who are better than me? Of course, but the writers who make the most money are the ones that can market themselves.
Getting/keeping a job allows you to learn writing and marketing skills without worrying about your rent, food, etc.
I’d say for the vast majority of people, getting a job is probably the best choice. If you are really entrepreneurial, freelancing is the better path. It’s harder than a job, but it’s definitely the more rewarding path.
To succeed at freelance writing, you will need to be able to:
- find clients
- reach out (email/phone)
- close them on a deal for content
- repeat until you have a full-time income
That’s it. There’s no secrets. Is it simple? Yes. Is it easy? Absolutely not.
I started freelance writing just over 2 years ago. There were several months where I was making less than $500 and working 60+ hours/week.
It took me 2 years to figure out what did/didn’t work, so I can make it my full-time job. Along the way I’ve had bad clients, setbacks, etc., but it’s worth it if you want to have your own business.
For a new writer starting out, I’d recommend keeping your day job and start emailing companies looking for writing work. Email 500-1,000 companies in your first few months and that will give you an idea if this is something you can pursue full-time.
I hope you found this list to be helpful. As a former biology student myself, I know the struggle of trying to find a job with a biology degree. I hope this post helped you at least broaden your horizons on what’s possible with a biology degree.
If you are looking to pursue a career in biology, I can’t emphasize the importance of networking. Since you will have to work with people every day, building a network will ensure you can go from job to job seamlessly. Your grades alone won’t cut it.
If you are looking to do content writing, I’d recommend still getting a job. When you have a safety net, you can take risks in the afternoon and the weekends. It took me two years to do writing full-time. I had a night job to pay the bills, so that allowed me to build my business.
If you want to learn more about biology career paths, check out this helpful blog here.