Online Biology Degrees

With a biology degree, you can pursue a variety of careers that involve the study of life, including those focused on animals, plants, bacteria, and humans. The study of biology is always evolving, leading to many scientific breakthroughs in recent years. From cloning animals to mapping the human genome, research possibilities continue to grow, making this an especially exciting time to join the field. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top 10 fastest growing jobs include several that are relevant to a those who’ve earned a biology degree online–especially jobs in healthcare.

Holding a graduate degree in biology opens the door to higher salaries, but plenty of career opportunities are available at every educational level in the field. If you’re interested in online biology programs, chances are you’ll be able to find a job that fits your level of education. Read on to learn more about the job opportunities available in the field, and how online biology degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels can help launch your career.

Online Biology Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $8,689 15.9% 2 years N/A N/A 7.4%
Bachelor's $16,876 8.9% 4 years $32,000 $65,000 4.5%
Master's $18,268 5.3% 2 years $57,000 $104,000 2.3%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

The level of your online biology degree can impact your job opportunities, specialization, and salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biology degrees at the associate level prepare students to work as biological technicians, an entry-level position in the field. Most other jobs require further education for advancement. Many graduates of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate online biology programs pursue more research-intensive, hands-on careers in healthcare, laboratory work, and nature conservancy, among others.

Choosing Your Biology Careers

Average Biology Salaries

$62,470
$67,460
$67,550
$59,680
$41,650

Food Scientist

Salary: $62,470
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 36,100 Bachelor's N/A

This research-based job looks at the health and safety of our food and agricultural processes. A bachelor’s in biology online is required for the vast majority of food science jobs, and many food scientists have a master’s or doctorate in biology degree from online biology programs. Experiments and analytical work are done in laboratories or offices, so having a keen attention to detail and well-developed research skills is valuable in this role.

Environmental Scientist

Salary: $67,460
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
11% 94,600 Bachelor's N/A

Those who work as environmental scientists focus on the health of the environment to support our natural resources and its relation to human health. Environmental scientists work both in the field, restoring forests or cleaning up pollution, and in politics, influencing legislative decisions to protect the environment. This steadily growing profession provides great careers for those who enjoy dynamic and diverse day-to-day work.

Microbiologist

Salary: $67,550
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 22,400 Bachelor's N/A

Microbiologists complete most of their work through a microscope, examining microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. The aim of a microbiologist’s work at large is to gain a deeper understanding of such organisms through observations and lab tests. Due to the detailed nature of this work, patience and analytical skills are important. Students with a bachelor’s in biology online can find work as microbiologists, but those with graduate biology degrees are more likely to qualify for independent research studies.

Wildlife Biologist

Salary: $59,680
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
4% 21,300 Bachelor's N/A

Wildlife biologists study and gather data about plants and/or animals. The majority of this work takes place outside, making this job most appealing to those who enjoy nature and are comfortable working outdoors in varying weather conditions. Online bachelor’s in biology degrees are typically needed for all entry-level positions, and those who want to engage in or lead more specialized scientific studies need a master’s in biology or higher.

Biological Lab Tech

Salary: $41,650
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
5% 79,300 Associates N/A

Biological technicians help scientists conduct experiments in laboratories. Close attention to detail is important in this line of work because biological technicians are often required to measure, count, and record iterations for researchers. Technicians also use laboratory technology to perform tests to look for bacteria or abnormal cells, making technical skills imperative in this role. Associate biology degrees are typically required for most lab tech positions, and recent graduates with an online bachelor’s in biology sometimes work as lab techs to launch their career.

Online Biology Degrees

Associate

An associate degree in biology can lead to work as a technician in fields such as medical, forestry, and ecology. This career route is a cost-effective and time-efficient option for many. Typically, associate-level students can complete their biology degree online in two years at an average cost of $8,689. Biology programs offered through community colleges offer courses applicable to students' future endeavors as technicians or in preparation for further education.

Sample Courses
Human Genetics, Cell Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Ecology
Common Majors
Biology, Environmental Science, Oceanography, and Geology
Potential Jobs
Biological Laboratory Technician, Medical technician, and Forest/Conservation Technician
Average Income
The median annual income for those with associate biology degrees working as a biological technician was $41,650 in 2015.
Employment Prospects
There were 79,300 jobs in this field in 2014, with a projected 5% growth rate over the next 10 years.

Bachelor’s

The variety of options that open up after earning your online bachelor's in biology degree makes it a worthwhile investment for many students. The average online bachelor's in biology degree costs $16,876 and takes four years to complete. Upon graduation, students become eligible for dozens of jobs, from conducting research studies in forests to working in politics and supporting environmental legislative measures. Students looking at jobs in different biology-related fields will find bachelor's in biology online programs the key to their future career success.

Sample Courses
Molecular Cell Biology, Marine Biology, Biomechanics, Mammalogy, and Astrobiology
Common Majors
Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Environmental Science and Resource Management
Potential Jobs
Microbiologist, Wildlife Biologist, and Environmental Scientist
Average Income
The median annual income for those with a bachelor's in biology working a job as a microbiologist was $67,550 in 2015.
Employment Prospects
There were 22,400 jobs in this field in 2014, with a projected 4% growth rate over the next 10 years.

Master’s

Earning your master's in biology degree online is highly strategic if you want to assume more intensive research positions, hold leadership roles in biology-related jobs, or get your PhD. The average master's in biology costs $18,268 and takes two years to complete after finishing a bachelor's in biology. Graduate biology degrees can involve online biology programs that finesse your skills of gathering, analyzing, and reporting data. Many two-year master's degrees require students to choose a specific topic to write their thesis on, which prepares students for research-intensive careers and possible doctorate studies in biology.

Sample Courses
Advanced Evolution, Organismal Biology, Mathematical Biology, and Biology of Drosophila
Common Majors
Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Environmental Studies
Potential Jobs
Food Scientist, Biological Scientist, and Zoologist
Average Income
The median annual income for those with a master's in biology working as a zoologist was $59,680 in 2015.
Employment Prospects
There were 21,300 jobs in this field in 2014, with a projected 4% growth rate over the next 10 years.

Doctorate

A doctorate in biology is required to teach at universities and lead independent research projects. Biology PhD graduates can also pursue careers outside the realm of academia. Medical scientists, for example, conduct research to improve human health. They usually work in healthcare and use clinical trials to advance their research. While earning your doctorate in biology takes a substantial amount of time -- typically around five to six years -- the different funding options at this level of study make it feasible for students who are passionate about biology.

Sample Courses
Microscopy in Cell Biology, Controlling the Cell Cycle, Glycobiology, Genome Instability, and Organogenesis
Common Majors
Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Biology & Bioinformatics, and Ecology
Potential Jobs
Teacher/Professor, Principal Research Investigator, and Medical Scientist
Average Income
The median annual income for those with a doctorate in biology working as a medical scientist was $82,240 in 2015.
Employment Prospects
There were 107,900 jobs in this field in 2014, with a projected 8% growth rate over the 10 years.