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Obtaining an online degree in biology helps increase your knowledge about living organism like plants, animals and your environment in general. it also offers several career opportunities.
Biology is the branch of science that primarily deals with the structure, function, growth, evolution, and distribution of organisms.
A degree in biology can help prepare you for a future that includes research, lab work, and graduate or medical school. it will also give you the crucial skills for a career in a science or health-related field.
Courses for an Online Biology Degree
Students in a biology program take many science classes. Some cover the various branches of science, and others present expert-level information about topics in biology. In addition to all of the science classes, biology students also take a core of general education courses that cover composition, math, humanities and other foundational topics.
Some common classes for this degree include:
Animal Physiology and Behavior: This class introduces the basic anatomy of various types of animals. You will probably discuss classification within the animal kingdom. The course may also cover how environment and genetics influence the things that animals do.
Cellular Biology: In this course, you can get a good understanding of cellular structure and the jobs that cells perform. You may also learn about conducting experiments and performing research on cellular topics.
Chemistry: To be a strong scientist, it’s important that you know about other disciplines than just biology. Chemistry is an example of another branch of science that you’re likely to explore during your time in school. You may take several semesters of basic college chemistry and may take organic chemistry as well.
Genetics: This class is designed to help you understand how traits are inherited in plants and animals. Studying genetics can also help you learn about variation within a species.
History of Science: You may have the opportunity to find out about the development of science over the years. This course may focus on all types of science or just biology.
Research Ethics: As a scientist, you may conduct your own research or evaluate others’ studies. It’s important to understand the principles of ethical research, such as avoiding conflict of interest or data manipulation.
You will probably have lab requirements for your degree program. Some schools use a hybrid format with online classes and on-campus lab work. Other schools may offer fully online options for completing the lab portions.
Biology Degree Salary
Biology students can pursue a career as a scientist or enhance other disciplines with their scientific knowledge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the biological sciences earn a median annual salary of $85,290.
It’s worth noting that a graduate degree may be required for some of the higher-paying positions in the biological sciences. The table below gives an overview of what you might earn with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Keep in mind that you may need additional certifications, such as a teaching license, for some of these jobs.
Career Median Annual Salary
Medical and Health Services Manager $104,280
Food Scientist $73,450
Wildlife Biologist $66,350
High School Teacher $62,870
Middle School Teacher $60,810
Clinical Laboratory Technologist $54,180
Environmental Science and Protection Technician $46,850
Biological Technician $46,340
Animal Trainer $31,520
Some undergraduate biology programs can serve as a good foundation for graduate studies in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. Not all programs are designed for this though, so consult your school before enrolling if you’re interested in one of those career tracks.
Professional Organizations for Those with a Biology Degree
You’re probably choosing a biology major because you have a passion for this field of study. If so, you probably enjoy connecting with others who have similar interests. A professional association is designed to help you do just that. By joining a group, you can have in-person and online opportunities to network with others in the biological sciences.
American Society of Plant Biologists: If you work with or study plants, you may appreciate the benefits that ASPB has to offer. These include outreach programs, teaching modules, publications and online resources. You can also count on ASPB to advocate for scientific initiatives.
Genetics Society of America: For those who teach or conduct research in genetics, GSA offers support. Your membership will include professional discounts, access to publications and the opportunity to apply for educational grants.
ASCB: If you work centers around studying cells, consider becoming a member of the American Society for Cell Biology. You’ll be able to connect online with other scientists, attend the group’s conferences at a discount and view the job board.
The connections you make through membership in a professional association may sharpen your scientific skills, lead to future job opportunities, allow you to give back to the scientific community and help you make new friends.
Accreditation for Online Biology Degrees
When you apply for a biology-related job, the employer will want to know where you got your biology degree. If your studies weren’t done through a regionally accredited college, then the hiring committee may not take your application seriously.
Regional accreditation serves as a sign that a college does a good job of educating its students. Schools that haven’t been approved by one of the U.S.’s regional accreditors may not meet academic standards.
These accreditors include:
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
Whether you attend a regionally accredited university may also affect your opportunities for future studies. Grad programs may not accept students from unaccredited colleges. The same goes for transferring credits into another undergraduate program.
Financial Aid for an Online Bachelors Degree in Biology
Getting a college degree can be expensive, but you don’t have to take care of the cost all on your own. Building a financial aid package can help you afford the cost of going back to school.
Federal aid: The federal government has programs for tuition grants and low-interest loans. These are distributed based on financial need. Some students can also enroll in the Federal Work-Study program.
Private loans: You may be able to get student loans from private sources, but pay attention to the interest rate before committing.
Scholarship money: Your special skills and unique characteristics may qualify you to receive a scholarship from a charitable group or foundation.
State aid: Your state may offer grant and loan programs that are similar to those offered by the federal government.
Workplace assistance: Your employer may contribute to your educational expenses.
Your college’s financial aid department can be a good resource to consult. Before you do that, though, make sure that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It will outline what government assistance you can get, and the results may influence whether you qualify for other types of aid as well.
Questions Related to Earning a Biology Degree Online
Is It Possible to Get a Biology Degree Online?
Yes, you can study online for a degree in biology, whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD in biology online. Science majors almost always require lab work, but some schools have systems that allow you to complete that portion of your studies at home.
Other colleges allow for part of the work to be done online, but you’ll need to take other classes on the school’s campus. There may also be requirements for in-person internships.
Additionally, some schools may even offer an accelerated biology degree which will allow you to finish your degree even quicker than normal.
Can I Get a Wildlife Biology Degree Online?
Although you may be able to earn some of your credits online, most wildlife biology programs will require you to do some on-campus work in order to receive lab credit.
If you’re interested in a fully online program, consider tweaking your major a bit. You may have better luck earning a digital degree in wildlife science or wildlife conservation.
Can I Get an Online Marine Biology Degree?
You may be able to complete some of your marine biology college classes in an online format. Don’t expect to finish the entire degree from the comfort of your own house, though.
Hands-on experience is required for this program, so some schools offer only a hybrid setup in which you take some classes online and report to campus for others. Some colleges require a lengthy in-person internship through which you’ll gain the necessary field experience.
Where Can I Get a Biology Degree Online?
Multiple schools offer online biology programs. To make sure that you’re choosing a good college, make sure that the institution is regionally accredited.
Before enrolling, be sure to look into whether any in-person lab courses are required. If so, you’ll need to select an online school with a campus in your local area. Another reason to consider a school with a local presence is that public universities in your state may offer the lowest tuition rates.
Is a Biology Degree Hard?
You should be prepared to work hard in your biology program. This field of study leans quite heavily on science classes, and there are a lot of facts and figures to memorize. You may have frequent lab reports to turn in. If you did well with advanced math and science courses in high school, then you may be a good candidate for a biology major.
Just understand that you must be willing to invest a good deal of time and effort into your studies over the next few years.