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Starting a career in biology can begin as early as high school, when you should take as many science and math courses as possible; this knowledge will be invaluable in college, and later in life when you start your career. If high school was a long time ago, or you're making a career switch, you should start by deciding what type of career in biology you want, and then look for colleges that offer specific majors. For instance, someone who wants a career in medicine or some other type of health care research will pursue a very different path than a conservation biologist. By the time you've completed your degree, you should plan to have some work experience under your belt, and can then begin applying for jobs.
Although high school is one place to start preparing for a career in biology, many people don't have their career goals solidified that early in life, so don't feel bad if you didn't take many science or math courses. Start by looking at colleges and determining your career goals, and understanding all of the different types of jobs you can do with a degree in biology. Though two-year degrees do exist in this field, and they might lead you to an entry-level job, in most instances you will need a four-year bachelor's degree or more.
Most professional jobs require at least a four-year degree, and many now require a master's degree in your chosen field, such as wildlife or conservation biology. For people who want to do research, teach at a university level, or certainly work in a medical field, a doctoral degree will be required. This can all add up to another five to seven years of education, but for many people it will be worth it to reach their career goals.
While you are getting your education, look for every opportunity for work experience too. Completing an internship, doing volunteer work, or assisting a professor with research can all look great on your resume, as well as help you learn and make valuable contacts. Then, by the time you are ready to apply for a full-time position, you will have sufficient education and practical experience in order to qualify for the job want. When you decide to start a career in biology, deciding upon your specific career goals as early as possible will be the very best thing you can do, as this will help make your path to a job much clearer. Reaching out to people working in different areas of the biology can be an excellent way to make this decision easier.
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