Types of Life Science
Life science is a rather broad category, encompassing a variety of sciences that students can choose to focus their studies around. Some examples of life sciences are listed below.
Anthropology – study of the development of human cultures and societies
Ecology – study of the relationships between organisms and their environments
Zoology – study of the classifications, physiology, developments, and behaviors of animals, both domesticated and wildlife
Botany – detailed study of plants
How to Get a Life Science Degree
Many colleges and universities provide programs in which students can earn their degrees in various types of life sciences. You can choose to study a specific life science or choose a school that offers a degree that covers the basics of life science in general. You should begin looking for schools with programs that will best prepare you for your desired career path during your senior year of high school.
Kansas State University has a program in which you can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Life Science or a Bachelor of Science in Life Science as an undergraduate student. Degree requirements include but are not limited to introductory courses in microbiology, biological anthropology, and organic chemistry. Students can also choose a pre-veterinarian option with their life science degree in order to prepare them for veterinary school.
Rutgers University offers students the opportunity to major in a variety of life sciences. Subjects include but are not limited to animal science, biological sciences, genetics, and ecology. Many of these subjects also prepare students for further education at medical schools and other graduate programs, as well. With experienced faculty and highly involved laboratory work, students are sure to get the education they need in order to advance them on the career paths of their choice.
Bloomsburg University provides majors in many different life sciences, including but not limited to anthropology, biology, and environmental science. Undergraduates can earn bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees in these fields, and graduate students can earn a masters degree in biology or similar field. Bloomsburg University is a public school with over 250 clubs and organizations located in Bloomsburg, PA, and was founded in 1839.
Careers in Life Science
While earning your degree in life science, it is important that you research what it takes to land the career of your dreams–do you need a masters degree or doctoral degree, or will a bachelors degree suffice for the job you want? This section is meant to help you get a better idea of what sorts of jobs you can get once you earn a degree in life science.
Entry Level Careers in Life Science
With a bachelors degree in life science and very little experience, you can expect to qualify for all or some of the careers described below.
Animal scientists research information on various domesticated farm animals in order to help farmers provide the best possible care for their animals. These scientists study the genetics and anthropology of animals in order to determine necessary and beneficial nutrients for the animals in order to assist companies in making feed, as well. They also study animal breeding techniques and proper waste disposal methods in order for farmers and livestock managers to maintain safe and healthy environments. Animal scientists possess bachelor degrees in animal science, a specific field of life science; and they may further their education by earning a masters degree or doctoral degree in the same or similar field.
Entry level animal scientists can earn around $32,000 annually with room for improvement as experience and education levels and responsibilities grow.
BotanistBotanists research and study the environments of specific plants as well as experimenting with crossbreeding plant types to produce new foliage and attempt new medical discoveries. Other basic duties include caring for plants and observing the life cycles of specific types of plants. Some botanists specialize in specific areas such as classification of plant species or remedies of diseases affecting plants. Botanists possess bachelor degrees in biology, botany, or life science in general and occasionally go on to earn a masters in order to expand their career options. They are very skilled researchers who pay acute attention to detail and possess good communication skills. They are also familiar with databases and basic word processors in order to record results and create reports on their findings.
Botanists can make from $40,000 to over $70,000 annually, depending on education and experience levels.
In order to become an entry level zoologist, you must have a bachelors degree in zoology or another related type of life science. Zoologists often work with government agencies in order to create environments for wildlife to preserve their existence and prevent human interaction that may negatively impact the lifestyles of these animals. They can work side by side with conservation scientists and biologists, so the ability to work as a team is a must-have as well as excellent written and oral communication skills in order to present reports and proposals of potential projects.
Entry level zoologists can earn around $54,000 annually.
Advanced Careers in Life Science
Once you earn a masters degree or doctoral degree or perhaps just gain a few years of experience after earning your bachelors degree in life science, you may qualify for some of the positions described here.
Agronomists research and study new or improved ways to grow crops and provide farmers with the knowledge they gain from their studies in order to help farmers yield healthier and more plentiful crops. You can become an agronomist with just a bachelors degree in agriculture or a related field, but it is highly recommended that applicants possess a masters degree in agricultural science or agronomy. Qualified applicants possess excellent communication skills as well as highly developed research abilities and critical thinking skills and experience in the field of agriculture studies. The American Association of Agronomy also offers certifications that will enhance your chances of landing a job as an agronomist.
Agronomists can earn anywhere from $30,000 to over 80,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Epidemiologists observe patterns of diseases and work to discover the causes of those diseases. They are typically experienced in human health, and they possess bachelor degrees in life science, health management, or other related fields and a masters degree in public health. Epidemiologists can work together or individually, sometimes both, in order to reach a common goal: reduce the risk and spreading of diseases in humans. They are experts in the field of research and very skilled in communications.
Epidemiologists can earn around $60,000 annually.
Immunologists study the human immune system in order to create more accurate treatments and therapeutic techniques to reduce or cure diseases. Some personally interact with patients on a regular basis while others spend their time developing new products for treating conditions and diseases. They are very personable and great listeners, and they strive to do their best to help rid the world of disease one patient or product at a time. An immunologist possesses a doctoral degree in the medical field, typically with a bachelors degree and sometimes a masters degree in a related field of life science. Special certifications are also typically required for this position.
Immunologists can earn over $200,000 annually, depending on their education, certification, and experience levels.
Companies that Hire People with Life Science Degrees
Once you earn a life science degree, there will be plenty of job opportunities for you to snag. Companies around the world are looking for people just like you who have a degree in life science or a related field (i.e., biology, anthropology). A sample list is provided here to help you get started on your job search.
Pfizer, Inc. – headquarters in New York City, NY; multinational pharmaceutical corporation; hires positions for immunologists, formulation operators, senior scientists, data analysts, etc.
Talecris Plasma ResourceS, LLC – located in Harrisburg, PA; hires positions for donor processors, phlebotomists, neurologists, immunologists, etc.
Rincon Consultants, Inc. – founded in CA, in 1994; environmental consulting firm; hires positions for biologists, botanists, environmental scientists, etc.
King & MacGregor Environmental, Inc. – multiple locations throughout eastern and midwest U.S.; ecological consulting services; hires positions for ecologists, biologists, etc.
A degree in life science can qualify you for many jobs in a wide variety of career fields. Make sure that when you choose a school at which to earn your degree in life science, you consider all your options including research programs and internship opportunities in order to best build your experience and prepare you for the world of life sciences.