5 Biology Careers Outside the Laboratory
- Forensic Analysis
- Politics and Government
- Scientific Illustration
- Wildlife Conservation
- Technical Writing
As the study of plants, animals and all living things, many unique career settings in biological science serve an important role in modern society. While many students spend the bulk of their career on research, testing and other conventional laboratory roles, there are also plenty of opportunities outside this setting. A biology degree can be a flexible asset for those who want to blend their interests with their academic discipline.
1. Forensic Analysis
Forensic science is a unique discipline in its own right, but biology specialists are often valued for their perspective. Biologists may work with law enforcement, federal agencies or independent investigators to apply scientific method to the examination of evidence. While forensic analysis is only part of an investigation, it can be a deciding factor in the identification and trial of suspected criminals.
2. Politics and Government
Biologists who have an interest in advocacy or public policy can also find interesting career opportunities at many levels of government. Possible roles include advocacy for non-profit organizations, political advisors and actual participation in committee groups, according to the American Institute for Biological Sciences. Environmental responsibility, wildlife conservation and scientific education are among the many political issues relevant to biologists.
3. Scientific Illustration
Biology experts who also have an artistic eye can apply their unique combination of skills by producing art or illustration for academic publication. Scientific magazines and papers often rely on professional illustration to depict complex organisms or processes. Science artists can also contribute to the creation of textbooks, learning resources and other academic material.
4. Wildlife Conservation
Active conservation efforts can take many different forms, but there are thousands of them underway across the planet. Biologists who want to spend time trekking through the wilderness or floating alongside submerged coral reefs can make a career out of it. Hands-on careers in the wild are relatively rare compared to other job settings and they can be demanding both mentally and physically, so prospective candidates should take these factors into account when planning their career.
5. Technical Writing
Technical writers bridge the gap between professionals and a less-informed audience. They translate technical terms and complex concepts into words that another audience can appreciate. While all biologists learn some writing skills as a necessity for research papers, technical writing can be a bit more difficult. Biologists who have an interest in writing and communication can often find opportunities to leverage this skill in a professional setting. Scientific journalism, business writing, policy drafting and textbook authorship are just a few ways to combine a love of biology with strong writing ability.
The field of biology is one of the most diverse of all the major sciences. It can serve as a foundation for medical studies, ecological conservation and dozens of research-oriented fields. There are also plenty of unique career settings in biological science that allow students to break the conventional confines of the profession.