College!! Biology and environmental studies

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by 20123001, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. 20123001

    20123001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2011
    Delavan, Wi
    Hi i was just wondering if there were any biology majors or environmental studies minors out there. I am currently a sophmore in college and im not 100% sure of the jobs that are available in these fields. Any advice or input is greatly appreciated! thank, Bailey
  2. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I was a bio major in college!

    I loved my major and I loved the field, but the problem is there are not really any jobs for bio majors straight out of undergrad. If you have plans to go on to some sort of graduate school, then you will have much better luck. My plan was either vet school, med school, or PhD. I realized I didn't think I would enjoy getting a PhD because research just wasn't my thing. I really didn't want to spend money on a masters if I wasn't going on to get my PhD. I decided to apply for vet school and luckily got in my first try, so that is what I'm doing now.

    Many of my friends who had bio degrees didn't necessarily have trouble finding jobs, but they usually were not in bio fields. Occasionally, they would be stuck doing some sort of job that didn't require a degree and didn't pay much. Out of undergrad, I took a two year "break" to apply to vet school. I took a job as an EMT because I was already certified and it was the job that paid the most money, but did not require any schooling other than high school. That was a frustration for me because I was working with a lot of people who hadn't graduated college and were frustrated with the job because it wasn't quite enough to make ends meet.

    I recommend looking into some internships over summer break. You can probably apply for some now. That helped me make a more informed decision about what I wanted to do after college, and I made some wonderful contacts along the way.

    Feel free to ask more questions!
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  3. akelley

    akelley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 6, 2013
    Conroe, TX
    My DH was a bio major in college, and once he finished undergrad the only jobs in his field payed next to nothing. He worked at an aquarium for peanuts, but quit because they were not following dive safety protocol. Now he works as a practice manager for a vet clinic. We are much more financially secure and he loves his job, but it doesn't have a whole lot to do with biology.

    His advice to bio majors is this: either seek an advanced degree, or get comfortable with just scraping by. The internship suggestion is a good one; anything you can do to make yourself look better to potential employers is worth the effort.

    Good luck! Transitioning from college to the "real world" is tough; thinking ahead is a good idea!
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2011
    Husband was bio and psych, I was bio and anthropology, both from private colleges. Neither of us love money, being consumers, or lavish lifestyles. Keep that in mind when framing the following as talk of money can make those who don't care much for it say, "well, I'll be fine because I don't need a lot". We have both noticed more job positions demanding degrees...when the job really doesn't require it and certainly does not pay enough to warrant it. There are two jobs where I was paid fifty cents more than those without a degree. The income was tough on my friends and coworkers without degrees and student debt, and that little bit more didn't so much as touch my student debt.

    Fresh out of college, we struggled and struggled to find a job. Any job. We finally were able to secure a minimum wage job only because we knew someone working at a company that was hiring. It has been really common for managers to come out of schools rather than work up through the ranks and for HR and keyword finding software to do the hiring, and I feel it has helped lead things in a very negative direction. Also fun is degree-holder purgatory where you are both never qualified enough and overqualified at the same time. We spent some time living out of our car. ;)

    Internships had some benefits, but do not expect them to lead to a job these days, or even to have enough benefits learning wise to justify the small or completely absent income. Each time I was too busy doing unpaid labor to learn about and be involved in the activities that were promised as part of the whole work for peanuts/free deal.

    Both my husband and I have seen our friends struggle. Friends who have PhDs are having a very rough time overall. Probably the friends doing the best with their actual degrees are a couple who are part of the government program where the student debt you accrue pursuing teaching certification is lightened if you teach in an inner-city area. It seems to have been very good for their souls and doable for their pocket books. My husband and I found similar gratification working in a clinical therapy setting for teens (did not require a degree...), and I did toy with the idea of pursuing a PhD in clinical psych for a while. I think I would love the work, but decided that the risk these days with student debt was too high, and also that there are things I want to do for our future now...not ten or more years down the road after another round of schooling and internships. Reading up on transient degree holders and seeing how the odds have worked amongst my friends makes me relieved that my husband also decided against a PhD (in psychology of the completely different sort for him).

    Well, we both ended up going back to school not too long ago. My husband went to community college to get a start in the IT world. He worked while taking classes and had no student debt (he worked while getting his double major too...but still had plenty of student debt). After his first certification, he was able to find a job immediately that has paid substantially more than either of us have ever made before, and he continues to work on certifications with no schooling other than books and free web materials. We were able to move and buy two acres after he did that, and right now, I am working for very little part-time while fixing up this place until it is a homestead that provides most of our food. Once this place is more under wraps, I will be pursuing independent study and certification as well.

    Not trying to scare you or be overly negative. Not all degrees will lead to more debt than they do jobs, and there are still plenty of great job experiences out there. If you know how to network to secure jobs, your chances are better still. Just be mindful of why it is that so many young people are moving back in with their parents, and also that the hiring process has completely changed from what it was with older generations who worked hard to send their kids to school because that meant a secure future.
  5. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    I see you are in WI. Are you going to the UW system or private college?
    There should be career councilors available at the UW schools, at least there were 20+ years ago. Back when I was at UW-Platteville, you could make an appointment and meet with a councilor. They kept telling me at admissions that 80% of grads with my degree got jobs. However, the councilor can tell you what kind of job previous graduates have gotten with the degree. In my case, a couple were ag techs, a couple worked for companies doing what we were trained to do, and a couple worked for ChemLawn spraying chemicals. So out of 10 of the previous years grads, 2 were not employed (I knew they were home having babies after getting married :), 4 actually worked in our field of study and 2 were making do with an average paying job until something better came along in the area were they wanted to live. One was not employed but actively searching for work. That was actually better odds of getting the job I wanted than I had thought so I went for it.

    That said - a biology major is pretty broad and general, as my professor said "A great start toward something better". You will need to get a masters in something more specific to get a decent job. At the very least go for a double major while you are there. If it adds an extra year to you schooling now, that is cheaper than Grad school.
    My sister with no secondary education lost her part-time (6months per year) ranger job at a local park because a "biology major" applied. The new person didn't know diddly about the park, but she had a college degree. My sister worked there for 4 years doing tours and everything, the manager cried when she called and told her that the higher powers decided the degree was more important.
  6. 20123001

    20123001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2011
    Delavan, Wi
    Yes I am currently at UW-La Crosse. They do have counslers here and i have talked to them often but i feel like they never give me a straight answer about jobs in the area where i want to end up. I really like biology but sometimes i question my ability to do the harder classes like biochemistry. The other option that i am currently resarching is Geography with a emphasis in enivronmetal studies, i also have that option with biology with getting an emphasis in it.
  7. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Yeah, I had to ask the hard questions and keep asking until my councilor coughed up the info. I wanted to know what the job placement for grads with my degree was. Luckily, at the time it was a new degree and there were only 12 grads when I asked my questions, stats were easy to come up with - 95% job placement at the time.

    There are a lot of unemployed Biology majors looking for jobs right now. If you decide to go that route, get as much GIS training as you can. GIS is very desirable
  8. babylady4

    babylady4 Mother Goose

    Mar 30, 2009
    Central WI
    Hey there!

    I graduated from UW-GB in 2007 with a Human Biology major (Em. in Health Science) and a minor in Chemistry. Back up your Bio degree with something like chemistry, I have found jobs because of my chemistry background. It really is not much more than what you will have to take for your biology degree anyway (three more classes). Once you are through your basics with the Chem the rest is not so bad! I knew I wanted to do lab work so I have not had too much difficulty in finding jobs (just finding them where I live has been the issue!)

    If you are wondering about job outlook, do some google searches like 'job outlook for Environmental Studies'. You will find out projected growth, education requirements, if you will need to get an advanced degree, and pay scale estimates.

    Check the forecasted job growth in other areas as well, this way you will be able to hone in on what you would like to focus on.

    Hi Wyo! [​IMG]
  9. 20123001

    20123001 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2011
    Delavan, Wi
    Thank you! That helps a lot just looking at job out looks.
  10. I've got a Bachelors and a Master of Science degree in environmental science. Our program focused heavily on outdoor labs/field work. I thoroughly enjoyed the coursework and labs, but found that the real world jobs are nothing like it. Office environment, meetings, computer software, reports... Outside doing field work for maybe a week, inside writing about what I observed for the rest if the year. Those jobs that at largely outside (national parks, government research projects) have TONS of competition and, therefore, high standards for applicants.

    Please research the job you are preparing for! Make sure it is something you will be passionate about so you can be happy in your work- even if the pay is less!

    Before I selected the program, I tried the ASVAB and the university counselors program to select the best job for me...they both didn't seem to have a clue what occupation would fit me best! I seem to remember one telling me I should have been a cosmetologist (By the way, I'm a tomboy with no fashion sense!).

    Good luck! Hope you find your way!

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