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Life Science Jobs and Careers

Updated on November 2, 2014
Biology laboratory
Biology laboratory | Source

What Does The Study Of Life Science Involve?

Life science involves the study of living things including all kingdoms of life:

  • Animalia
  • Plantae
  • Fungi
  • Protista
  • Monera

As such, it includes the study of humans and any related considerations including heath sciences and bioethics.

  • Biology is the major area of study relevant to life sciences but
  • technological advancements have created interdisciplinary opportunites with chemistry, physics and math.
  • Biotechnology is a new avenue of study and biochemistry and biophysics avenues are presently available fields of education.

Biology includes the study of all five kingdoms of organisms investigating their complexity and variety.

  • It includes study in biochemistry,
  • pharmacological studies,
  • molecular genetics and
  • population genetics.

As all organisms rely on chemical processes for survival, an understanding of the chemistry of life is important to the understanding of the complexity ot life.

Biological studies may include

  • health science,
  • general biology,
  • botany and plant sciences, and
  • developmental and cell biology.

In biophysics, the patterns in life are analyzed using math and physical laws. Biophysicists ask and study questions about life such as,

  • "How do protein machines work?",
  • "How do systems of nerve cells communicate?",
  • "How do proteins pack DNA into viruses?",
  • "How do viruses invade cells?",
  • "How do plants harness sunlight to make food?".

Environmental science deals with the relationships of organisms within an ecosystem or biosphere studying their interrelationships with each other and non-living components of their habitats. Environmental science studies may include

  • aquatic ecology,
  • fish and wildlife protection and
  • ecology & evolutionary Biology.

Careers In Life Sciences

Click thumbnail to view full-size
 Working at the ROV control station during a high-tech skiff survey. Alaska, Southeast.Zoo Invertebrate Laboratory.EPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: THE MICRO-BIOLOGY LAB. TAKING A BACTERIA COLONY COUNTEPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: PATHO-BIOLOGY LAB. LINDA SHARP ASSISTANT TO THE PATHOBIOLOGIST, MAKE SLIDES OF HISTOLOGICAL SECTIONS.
 Working at the ROV control station during a high-tech skiff survey. Alaska, Southeast.
Working at the ROV control station during a high-tech skiff survey. Alaska, Southeast. | Source
Zoo Invertebrate Laboratory.
Zoo Invertebrate Laboratory. | Source
EPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: THE MICRO-BIOLOGY LAB. TAKING A BACTERIA COLONY COUNT
EPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: THE MICRO-BIOLOGY LAB. TAKING A BACTERIA COLONY COUNT | Source
EPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: PATHO-BIOLOGY LAB. LINDA SHARP ASSISTANT TO THE PATHOBIOLOGIST, MAKE SLIDES OF HISTOLOGICAL SECTIONS.
EPA GULF BREEZE LABORATORY: PATHO-BIOLOGY LAB. LINDA SHARP ASSISTANT TO THE PATHOBIOLOGIST, MAKE SLIDES OF HISTOLOGICAL SECTIONS. | Source

What level of education is required for a Job in the Life Sciences?

WHAT HIGH SCHOOL PREPARATION DO I NEED?
For entry into first year studies in Life Sciences, students need six Grade 12 U/M courses including:

  • English
  • Advanced Functions in Math
  • Calculus (not always a requirement but definitely recommended)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics would be an asset especially if interested in biophysics.

What Post Secondary Preparation is Required?

The study of science in school appears to be dropping in the U.S.; therefore, there is currently a large demand for those qualified for positions in life science fields ranging from technicians to research scientists. Most jobs in life sciences require the following levels of education:

1.A diploma from college in a program related to the study of biology, biochemistry or ecological sciences or a combination of the former tends to be a minimal requirement. College programs will generally lead to a job as a technician or technologist and require two to three years of study preferably with concurrent work-placement opportunities.

2.A Bachelor or Honors Bachelor of Science in one or more of the life sciences will provide a greater scope of job choice. Work as a science teacher, college professor, bioengineer, and some research lab jobs can be achieved through this level of education.

3.A Master’s Degree or PhD results in the higher paying job opportunities including research biologist or biochemist, physician, epidemiologist and university professor.

What skills are important in Life Science Careers and Jobs?

The skills important in a career in life sciences are similar to those important to a career in the physical sciences. The following link is provided outlining those skills: Physical Science Jobs and Careers.

In addition, those looking for a career in the life sciences should have little to no aversion to blood or bodily fluids, as biology requirements almost exclusively require exposure to dissections and histology work.

Examples of Jobs and Careers in the Life Sciences

With a College Diploma
With a BSc
With Additional Training/Education
Medical Illustrator
Agronomist
Anatomist
Science Writer
Animal Scientist
Biochemist
Biotechnology technologist
Botanist
Biomedical Engineer
Advanced care paramedic
Ecologist
Biophysicist
Dietetic Technician
Food Scientist
Botanist
Occupational Therapist Assistant & Physiotherapist Assistant
Forester
Developmental Biologist
Personal Support Worker
Horticulturalist
Epidemiologist
Respiratory Therapy
Marine Biologist
Geneticist
Biomedical Laboratory Technologist
zoologist
Immunologist
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Technologist
Pathology Assistant
Marine Biologist
Animal Technician
Cytogenetics Techician
Biochemist
Ecological Restoration
Microbiologist
Forensic Anthropologist
Ecosystem Management Technologist
Histologist
Forensic Archaeologist
Ecosystem Management Technician
 
 
Environmental Technician
 
 
Environmental Technologist
 
 
Fish and Wildlife Technician
 
 
Fish and Wildlife Technologist
 
 
Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant
 
 
Pharmacy Technician
 
 
Practical Nursing
 
 
Urban Forestry Technician
 
 

Median Wages Earned In Life Science Careers

Field
Median Salary
Academic
$78,000*
Industry
$116,000*
Animal Scientist
$46,078
Animal Technician
$32,892
Biotech Scientist
$85,789
Biochemist
$46,831
Biomedical Engineer
$50,111
Biophysicist
$59,367
Food Scientist
$64,209
Microbiologist
$41,122
Pathology Assistant
$72,699
Scientific Artist
$41,256
*As of 2006 from http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/. Rest of data as of September 2012 from Salary.com.

Comments

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    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That is true. Sciences, life or physical are not for everyone but there are lots of opportunities for those who have a passion for the subject!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      The uindustry does give a lot more compared to the rest. A job in life science must have deep liking to the topic. Some peole just find science boring or even intimidating.

    • Teresa Coppens profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks so much CrisSp for the endorsement. I hope your daughter finds this hub a useful resource. If she feels that some aspect could be added to make it even more useful I'd like to hear back from her. Thanks

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 

      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Very, very useful hub. My daughter is graduating high school next year and her interest is in life Science- Forensic to be specific. I am definitely sharing this hub with her. Technically, I had my degree in Bachelor of Science & Technology - a total of 5 years in the University, including internship and so, I am not surprise that my daughter is into it too. Very fascinating subject!

      Up and interesting plus sharing.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      6 years ago from Western NC

      Very interesting! I used to want to go into life sciences, but I figured out I'm too much on the creative side. Haha. But, it all still fascinates me. :) Thanks for sharing all this awesome information! Voted/shared/tweeted.

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