Is Biology a Useless Major?

Biology is a STEM major and a common first step toward medical school. It closely examines living organisms and their interactions with the environment.  

A career in biology can lead you to research living beings to aid in the development of biological knowledge and understanding of living processes for a variety of reasons, including the treatment of diseases, environmental preservation, etc. 

Many biology degree graduates choose to pursue postgraduate education in a specialized or related topic to expand their knowledge and advance their careers, even though in most cases, it is not essential to do so. 

Is Biology a Useless Major?

Biology is a great major for those individuals who are planning on pursuing further education after graduating. However, biology is a somewhat useless major for those individuals who are relying solely on their biology degree for gaining meaningful employment.

Knowledge can never be useless. It is possible that a degree may not get you a job, but it is never entirely useless. Any sort of knowledge helps train your mind. A degree in biology will help you understand living organisms and their vital processes.

Several degrees overlap with biology since they have a lot of the same subject content. For instance, a major in Clinical Laboratory Science is roughly the same as a double major in biology and chemistry, plus a year of clinical laboratory experience.

A degree in medical laboratory science will allow you to work in a few fields such as a CSI, equipment seller, or lab technician. Moreover, it is even better than biology as a prerequisite for medical school.

With only a BS in Biology, you’ll be up against a lot of people for a limited number of positions. It is not the best situation to be in. You will probably want to earn a more marketable/in-demand qualification, expertise, or graduate degree. It isn’t a useless major, but it does require some further effort.

A biology degree will surely help you get into medical school or graduate school. However, if you’re not sure about graduate or medical school, you can consider biomedical engineering, bioinformatics, or something more specialized.

Aside from biological knowledge, the skills you gain by pursuing a biology major include research and lab skills. Research skills are universally beneficial, but lab skills are truly valuable in medicine or biochemistry. Otherwise, lab and they aren’t particularly applicable

Unless you are certain you want to be a scientist or pursue Medicine, other majors such as English, Business, Physics, and Math are significantly more valuable in the real world.

Is Biology Just Memorization?

Biology is not just memorization. While biology does involve much memorization, understanding concepts, improvising, designing, researching, and analyzing the material are equally important.

Let’s face it. All subjects require memorization of some sort. Even in physics and mathematics, you are expected to memorize certain equations. Learning a language requires the memorization of certain words. Like any other STEM field, Biology requires a lot of problem-solving and analytical skills. However, memorization is simply a prerequisite.  

The way a course is taught has a massive impact on whether the students will have to rote learn the material or not. A teacher can make coursework interesting so you can’t possibly forget about it or unbearable, so you are forced to rote-learn.

Most biology classes focus on understanding and applying concepts. For example, a paleontology class won’t simply involve memorization, but will also teach you how to understand patterns and processes and give you the ability to predict their effects.

A lot of attention is paid to critical thinking, being able to design good experiments, conducting small-scale research projects, critiquing published research, and understanding how the research may be improved, and what future work could stem from its results.

A class on human anatomy or ornithology will involve a lot of memorization, but if you are a true lover of biology, you will learn the facts and figures subconsciously because you are amazed by how things work and not because someone is forcing you to learn them. 

If you look at the big picture, there is a combination of both understanding and memorization.

For example, if you are studying DNA replication, you won’t probably remember that helicase unwinds DNA unless you memorize the term. However, if you can fully comprehend the whole process of unwinding up until a new DNA molecule is formed, then a simple fact like this will be etched into your memory.

Is Majoring in Biology Useless if I Don’t Want to be a Doctor?

Contrary to common belief, a biology degree does not necessarily mean that graduates must also go to a medical school. Hence, majoring in biology is not useless if you do not want to become a doctor since there are so many alternate paths you can pursue with a biology degree.

There are many other alternatives that a graduate in biology can think about. They can pursue careers in the education sector, health/biology content writing, food science, environmental science, or forensic science, or consider the professions of a biological research assistant, biomedical engineer, or pursue biotechnology (including consulting, marketing, research, and development, and bioprocessing).

Even if a biology graduate wants to stick to the medical field, they can opt for nursing, pharmacy, and physical therapy. You can also opt for a 2 year accelerated nursing degree. You could look into working as a laboratory assistant or becoming a food quality inspector.

Furthermore, biology majors can polish their skills by opting for a post-graduate degree, while still not going to medical school. Some of the high-paying careers that biology majors can go for include pharmacy, bio-processing, nursing, research, biotechnology, and microbiology.

You can also look into other professional schools like Dentistry, Occupational Therapy, Radiation Technologist, or Law. Furthermore, you can go for positions in the government that necessitate a degree since you already have strong research and writing skills.

Is it Hard to Get a Job with a Biology Degree?

It is moderately hard to get a job with a biology degree. While a biology degree by itself is not the ideal situation it is enough to find a decent job. For higher-paying jobs, you will need to improve your skillset and/or pursue additional qualifications.

As a biologist, you can expect the starting pay to be $44,000 whereas the mid-career average is around $80,000. You can also pursue other closely related careers.

For instance, bio technicians make $45,000 per year, forensic science technicians make $59,000 per year, and microbiologists make $75,000 per year.

These careers don’t require you to get a graduate-level degree like a master’s degree or a doctorate. You can easily pursue these careers with only a bachelor’s in biology.

You should conduct thorough research about the opportunities available to you. Ensure that you opt for internships and get letters of recommendation from your teachers. Nowadays entry-level jobs necessitate some form of experience and internships can help you with that.

Biological science degrees will help you earn close to the lifetime average of a typical college degree. The average college graduate will earn $2.4 million during their lifetime while a biological science graduate will earn $2.3 million.

Is A Biology Major Worth It?

A biology major is definitely worth it if you are passionate about the subject and want to pursue some form of post-graduate education. Moreover, a biology degree is well respected and will help you get a decent job.

If you are going to medical school, then a biology major is worthwhile. All the memorization and problem-solving techniques you have learned will come in handy. However, a biology major is not a compulsion for med school. You can also major in physics or mathematics.

Even if you aren’t pursuing medicine, a biology degree can help you in various career paths and choose suitable graduate school options. 

It must be taken into consideration, however, that any subject including Biology is only valuable to those who truly comprehend it. Many individuals don’t comprehend the subject material at hand and simply cram it to get good grades. You earn a job based on your comprehension, not your ability to cram.

If you want to do Biology, don’t do it for the money, but for your love of the subject!

That isn’t to suggest you won’t succeed. Biology majors who didn’t go on to become doctors or scientists have gone on to become attorneys, teachers, bankers, and entrepreneurs.

While the degree does not block any doors, it does make it more difficult to seek a job in a field other than biology.