Most in Demand Jobs for Life Science Graduates in 2022 and Beyond

After years of hard work, you’ve completed your degree, and now you want a life science job to match. The simple question arises: what do I do next? As of April 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics updated its Occupational Outlook Handbook for Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations. From 2020 to 2030, employment opportunities in these occupations are projected to increase by 8 percent, keeping up pace with the average growth of all occupations. Here we focus on the most in-demand jobs in 2022 and beyond as a resource for life science graduates. Read on for information on what to expect from each occupation regarding education, work environment, and job responsibilities.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Median Pay in 2021: $102,270

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biochemists and biophysicists need a Ph.D. to work in independent research and development. Many Ph.D. holders begin their careers in temporary postdoctoral research positions. Bachelor’s and master’s degree holders qualify for some entry-level positions in biochemistry and biophysics.

General Job Description:

Biochemists and biophysicists study the chemical and physical principles of living things and biological processes. This can include subjects like cell development, growth, heredity, and disease. Their work environment typically is within teams that operate in labs and offices to conduct experiments. They collect, analyze, and interpret research. For example, in medicine, biochemists and biophysicists develop tests used to detect infections, genetic disorders, and other diseases. They also develop new drugs and medications, such as those used to treat cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Some responsibilities may include laboratory management, reviewing literature of previous research, preparing, and presenting research findings, and securing grant funding.

Biological Technicians

Median Pay in 2021: $48,140

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biological technicians generally need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related field.

General Job Description:

Biological technicians can work in laboratories and offices under the supervision of biological scientists or medical students. Here they help in maintaining laboratory instruments and equipment. Sometimes referred to as laboratory assistants, biological technicians are responsible for conducting tests and experiments, documenting their research, and interpreting results in written reports. Their work can cover many areas of study such as microbiological or medical research. Biological technicians are vital in the preparation of experiments and provide research support ensuring an efficient environment and accurate results.

Chemical Technicians

Median Pay in 2021: $48,990

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical technicians commonly need an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary education. Some positions require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree; others require a high school diploma. Most chemical technicians receive on-the-job training.

General Job Description:

Chemical technicians often work in laboratories or manufacturing facilities. Those who work in laboratories contribute to research by helping conduct experiments. Some research may lead to scientific development in areas such as medicine. Chemical technicians working in manufacturing assist in quality assurance and improving production processes while maintaining and operating equipment. Other responsibilities include working with chemical solutions and monitoring chemical processes, conducting, and analyzing research, and presenting reports summarizing results.

Chemists and Materials Scientists

Median Pay in 2021: $79,760

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemists and materials scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field. However, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is needed for many research jobs.

General Job Description:

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze how the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods. Chemists and materials scientists may work in laboratories and offices, where they conduct complex experiments and analyze their results. The number of scientific research projects that involve multiple disciplines is increasing, and it is common for chemists and materials scientists to work in teams with other scientists, such as biologists, physicists, computer specialists, and engineers. For example, in pharmaceutical research, chemists may work with biologists to develop new drugs and with engineers to design ways to mass-produce the new drugs.

Epidemiologists

Median Pay in 2021: $78,830

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists typically need at least a master’s degree to enter the occupation. They may have a master’s degree in public health (MPH) or a related field, and some have completed a doctoral degree in epidemiology or medicine.

General Job Description:

Epidemiologists are public health workers who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury. They seek to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy. Epidemiologists commonly work in offices and laboratories to study data and prepare reports. They also may work in clinical settings or in the field, supporting emergency actions. Responsibilities include identifying public health problems to find ways to prevent them as well as collecting and analyzing data. Epidemiologists also communicate findings to health practitioners and the public or write grant proposals to secure funds for research.

Medical Scientists

Median Pay in 2021: $95,310

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists customarily have a Ph.D., usually in biology or related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of, or in addition to, a Ph.D.

General Job Description:

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings. They spend most of their time studying data and reports in offices and laboratories. Many medical scientists form hypotheses and develop experiments, with little supervision. They often lead teams of technicians and, sometimes, students, who perform support tasks. Some duties include creating and testing medical devices, developing programs that improve health outcomes, and designing and conducting studies that investigate both human diseases and methods of prevention.

Microbiologists

Median Pay in 2021: $79,260

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, microbiologists usually need a bachelor’s degree in microbiology or a related field for entry-level jobs. They typically need a Ph.D. to work in research or at colleges and universities.

General Job Description:

Microbiologists study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some types of parasites. They may isolate and maintain cultures of bacteria or other microorganisms to study, identify, classify, and monitor the effects of such microorganisms. They try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments. It is increasingly common for microbiologists to work in teams with technicians and scientists in other fields because many scientific research projects involve multiple disciplines. Microbiologists generally work in laboratories, offices, and industrial settings where they conduct experiments and analyze the results.

Career Options

When choosing routes for your career, the possibilities are endless. Many of the jobs listed above can perform research in various fields including technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biology, chemistry, and more beyond this. As the demand for life science jobs continues to grow, more companies will be seeking out qualified candidates. At BioPhase Solutions, we specialize in placing candidates in California’s top pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. Our biotech recruiters work tirelessly to find you the right opportunities with the right companies. If you’re ready to take the first steps in beginning your life science career, contact us today!

Citations:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Biochemists and Biophysicists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Biological Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biological-technicians.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chemical Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chemists and Materials Scientists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemists-and-materials-scientists.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Epidemiologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Scientists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm (visited April 19, 2022).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Microbiologists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/microbiologists.htm (visited April 19, 2022).