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Pursuing a career in biology can be immensely rewarding and exciting. Studying biology teaches us to ask questions, make observations, evaluate evidence, and solve problems. Biologists learn how living things work, how they interact with one another, and how they evolve. They may study the evolution, natural history, and conservation of plants and animals; investigate the interactions of living organisms with light, the environment, or each other; or have careers in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, or medical research. Their work increases our understanding about the natural world in which we live and helps us address issues of personal well being and worldwide concern, such as environmental degradation, threats to human health, and maintaining viable and abundant food supplies.
Frequently Asked Questions about Careers in Biology
What do biologists do?
In general, there are several career paths you can follow as a biologist, including:
Research: Research biologists study the natural world, using the latest scientific tools and techniques in both laboratory settings and the natural environment, to understand how living systems work. Many work in exotic locations around the world, and what they discover increases our understanding of biology and may be put to practical use to find solutions to specific problems. Learn more about the wide variety of research interests by visiting the websites of AIBS Member Societies and Organizations.
Health care: Biologists may develop public health campaigns to defeat illnesses such as tuberculosis, AIDS, cancer, and heart disease. Others work to prevent the spread of rare, deadly diseases, such as the now infamous Ebola virus. Veterinarians tend to sick and injured animals, and doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health care professionals maintain the general health and well being of their patients. Many of these careers require additional education and training past undergraduate college, but these positions are usually in high demand both in the US and abroad. Additionally, biologists in the health care field can choose to work for organizations like the Peace Corps and Doctors Without Borders, which help bring much-needed health care services to less developed and/or war-impacted regions.
Environmental management and conservation: Biologists in management and conservation careers are interested in solving environmental problems and conserving the natural world for future generations. Park rangers protect state and national parks, help preserve their natural resources, and educate the general public. Zoo and aquarium biologists carry out endangered species recovery programs and serve as a vital education conduit to the general public. In addition, management and conservation biologists often work with members of a community such as landowners and special interest groups to develop and implement management plans. Other potential employment opportunities may exist with state/federal natural resource agencies, not-for-profit conservation organizations, private ecological consulting firms, or wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Education: Life science educators enjoy working with people and encouraging them to learn new things, whether in a classroom, a research lab, the field, or a museum. You can gain insight into what biology education professionals are