High Paying Careers in Biology

Written by heather neuharth
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High Paying Careers in Biology
Almost all biologists with a PhD conduct research, including professors at a college or university. (microscope image by guy from Fotolia.com)

Biology, the study of living organisms and their correlation to the environment, is a diverse field that consists of occupations in medicine, specialised biology disciplines, industry and education. It also holds many high-paying positions with the potential to earn more than £65,000 a year. These positions usually require a PhD, but there also are job opportunities for those with less advanced degrees.

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Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists focus their studies on biotechnology and the chemical composition of living things. They conduct research on chemical reactions in the areas of growth, metabolism and reproduction. Biophysicists mainly study the fields of bioinformatics, which uses computers to analysis biological information, or neuroscience. They study the relationship between physics, like mechanical or electrical energy, and living cells or organisms. A bachelor's degree or master's degree in either of these fields is be sufficient for elementary and high school teachers or technicians. However, you need a PhD to conduct independent research. The average annual salaries for such researchers was £53,846 and the highest-paid earned up to £90,636 a year in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Biology Professors

Post-secondary teachers of biology, or biology professors, earned an average of £45,922 a year, and highest paid made about £96,187 annually as of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They teach biology to undergraduate and/or graduate students at colleges and universities. In addition to giving lectures, they participate in conferences, supervise laboratory experiments, serve on committees and often conduct their own research as well as publish their findings. Professors are required to have at least a master's degree to teach in a two-year institution, but a doctoral degree is preferred and required for most four-year colleges and universities.


Microbiologists study the characteristics and growth of microscopic organisms like fungi, bacteria or algae. They may incorporate biotechnology to explore cell reproduction and human disease, and the majority specialise in a particular field such as environmental studies or immunology, which is the study of mechanisms that fight infections. As with biochemists and biophysicists, a bachelor's or master's degree is suitable for technician or lower-level teaching jobs, but independent researchers need a Ph.D. As of May 2008, microbiologists earned an average of £41,827 a year, but the highest paid made an average of £72,345, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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