We all have to study biology at school and, depending on how it's taught, it can sometimes seem a little irrelevant to your future. In fact, if you take the subject further and study biology to degree level, it can lead to a wide range of career paths. Here are just a few. Academic As with any subject, a degree in biology opens up the possibility of a teaching career in the subject, whether at school, further education or university level. To teach in a school, you'll also need teacher training, which can be taken alongside your undergraduate degree, while it's an advantage to hold a PhD to be a university lecturer.
Teaching isn't the only role, though, for a biology graduate in the academic world. You may also have the opportunity to carry out research in a specialist area of your choice. Besides being a fulfilling role in itself, the papers you publish can be a gateway to higher-paid jobs.
One of the most thriving of all sectors, the pharmaceuticals industry is built entirely on biology. Whether you go into pharmacology, researching and designing new medications, or biotechnology, researching the effects of medications and designing safer and more effective options, a biology degree can be the first step on the ladder to success.
Sustainability and green technology is the fastest-growing sector in the world, and it's crying out for a wide range of biology-based skills. Biotechnology is crucial here, too, whether researching ways to manage pollution or designing biofuels to replace fossil fuels. Research is also vital, providing policy-makers with the scientific data needed to create long-term strategies. These roles will need a biology or biology-related degree.
While training to be a doctor, nurse, dentist or similar role is more specific than a general biology degree, it will certainly require a good deal of biological background knowledge. Whether you're intending to work for the NHS, the voluntary sector or private enterprise, a minimum of A-level in biology would offer a big advantage in accessing the specialist training.
Farmers no longer rely on tradition and superstition to get the best out of their land and livestock. Modern agriculture relies heavily on scientific research. You could, for example, be a soil scientist, studying the best ways of increasing the yield from the soil. Alternatively, you could become an agricultural biotechnologist, developing more effective animal feed or increasing the resistance of crops to pests.
While you may write scientific papers as a researcher, there's always a need for writers who are expert scientists but can communicate both the facts and the excitement of science to the general public. This is especially important at a time when anti-science sentiment is growing. In general, you'd probably move into science writing after spending time in a more practical science career, but outlets may include business, trade and professional publications, as well as the more general media. As well as skill in writing, biology qualifications up to PhD level will add to your authority as an expert. These are just a few of the many careers where a biology degree will be a massive advantage — if not essential. Register with TutorExtra to find a private biology tutor who can help you.