If you are in university for biology or you are interested in applying to a biology-based program, you are probably aware of the typical career paths - medical school, dental school, or pharmacy school, among others. You should also know that these educational paths are long and hard ones. No doubt they are rewarding - a career in any professional school can set you up for life, however, they are also highly competitive, expensive, and time-consuming. Here are 5 high-paying careers that you can pursue in Canada with a bachelor’s degree in biology.
Genetic counselors are people who work with families and individuals to evaluate and understand the risks of inherited medical conditions through DNA testing. Families may visit a genetic counselor to take preventative measures for future medical ailments. Genetic Counseling is typically a two-year program after your undergraduate degree. The average salary for a Genetic Counselor is $80,500 CAD per year.
Applied Health Sciences
This is not a specific career but rather, a broader term for many different types of jobs. These are people who work in hospitals and doctor’s offices or perform laboratory tests and diagnostics for patients in the healthcare system. Some examples of these are ultrasound technicians, laboratory technicians or genetic technologists. Careers in this field have a salary range of between $50,000-$85,000 CAD per year, depending on experience.
If you are creative and have a bachelor’s degree in biology, you may be able to work as a scientific illustrator. Illustrators typically work for textbook companies, but their job opportunities are growing. It is becoming more important to demonstrate difficult concepts in simple pictures. Scientific illustrators need to have artistic skills and scientific understanding to properly convey concepts in an aesthetic way. Salaries vary depending on portfolio and company.
Physician assistants take patient histories, conduct physical examinations, order tests, diagnose and treat illnesses - all without going to medical school. They work under the supervision of a physician. Typically a physician assistant program can be pursued after two years of relevant university education, and the program itself runs for 24 months. In Canada, they make on average $75,000-$100,000 CAD per year.
Bioethicists make judgements on practices within the fields of biology and medicine. With rapidly developing technology in medicine, biotechnology and other related fields, bioethicists are responsible for determining if healthcare workers should continue a practice or adjust it based on ethics. Bioethicists typically have a master's degree in bioethics, which takes an additional 2-year after a bachelor’s degree. Bioethicists usually earn around $60,000 CAD per year.
After you complete your bachelor’s degree in biology, you may be eligible for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP). These are an additional 2 years after graduation in which you are eligible to work in one of the careers above. Make sure you speak with your Halp Coach before applying, as universities and colleges must meet specific criteria in order for you to obtain a PGWP. You can always talk to your Halp Coach to see if a biology degree is the right path for you and discuss the options available following graduation!