I chose the wrong major. Career advice please?

posted 5 months ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
1429 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

What do you like? Heck with a biology degree you could be an editor for National Geographic someday. There are so many options for a biology degree! 

Post # 4
Member
653 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2000

Teaching?

Post # 5
Member
373 posts
Helper bee

I agree with pharma. You can work at a pharmaceutical company or CRO on clinical trials. You won’t see patients directly so you won’t kill anyone (lol), but the job is important and makes a difference. They like to hire anyone with a bachelors in science, exact major doesn’t really matter too much. And entry level positions are paid pretty well. 

Post # 6
Member
554 posts
Busy bee

maybe a researcher? something pharmaceuticals?

Post # 7
Member
104 posts
Blushing bee

I was a Biology major too. Hated it lol. But stuck with it, finished it out, and tried research for a year but I was miserable. Then I went on for a second-degree nursing program…you learn how to make the right choices and not deathly mistakes 🙂 

Post # 8
Member
2359 posts
Buzzing bee

Many people don’t get a job related to their major at all. Having a BA is a requirement for a lot of jobs, but often what you have the BA in doesn’t actually matter that much. Especially if you do an internship first to gain some experience and prove you can do the job. What kind of jobs are you interested in? 

If you want a starting gig that’s lower stakes you could look into administrative or sales roles, e.g. hospital administration, sales of medical equipment, etc. 

Post # 9
Member
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

Most paramedical programs such as Optometry or physical therapy are not life or death if you make a mistake (actually most doctors don’t deal with death daily).

What about pharmaceutical sales rep?

 

Post # 10
Member
809 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Like you, I earned my BS in Biology, but while doing so, I realized that lab science was not my passion. I wanted to do something with a little more direct connection to helping people, but I didn’t want to go into medicine.

Luckily, I found the field of public health, which I absolutely love.

There are lots of possible career options, depending on your skill set and desires. If you enjoy writing or public speaking, you could consider health communications. If you enjoy analyzing data or writing scientific manuscripts, you could consider epidemiology (the science of studying diseases and risk factors in populations). If you like policy and big picture thinking, public health policy. If you enjoy working with people, building partnerships, or directing programs, you could go into public health program administration or evaluation.

To find out if you’re interested, reading books like “Mountains Beyond Mountains” would give you a taste of the public health world. If you like it, you could apply to master’s or PhD programs in a relevant domain of public health (communications, epidemiology, etc).

Post # 11
Member
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

You have lots of options with that type of degree! What are your interests? What are some aspects of jobs you have liked in the past?

I work for a career coaching company dealing with people in this type of situation every day! I would strongly recommend seeing a career professional if you are able to (you may have someone affiliated with the university you attended). They will be able to help you figure out the right long-term fit for you without having a biased opinion.

Post # 13
Member
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2019 - City, State

@gray15 I work in marketing communications and only 30% of the people I work with actually majored in Marketing or communications. I myself was economics, have met history, physics, art, etc. any other major you can think of that got into marketing because it is a broad field with a lot of on the job experience (learn by doing).

With a bio degree, you are also lucky that people will afford a certain level of respect for a STEM degree, since it is certainly a very challenging and competitive major. I had many friends with STEM majors who actually ended up going into finance, consulting, or programming. It is harder to directly connect the dots certainly, but the demand for smart, hardworking people is never met, so go after what makes you excited. Talk to people from different fields and ask them how they got into it, I’m sure you’ll be really surprised!

Post # 14
Member
20 posts
Newbee

I don’t think a Biology degree limits you at all, and I would certainly apply for jobs in health communications in your shoes. For what it’s worth, my degree was in linguistics and I currently work for a software company as a program manager…which is not related to my degree at all. My company has hired several people with science degrees because even though it isn’t directly applicable to what we do, generally science programs are challenging enough to demonstrate you aren’t afraid of hard work. 

You will likely need to be a little creative with your resume/application to tie your experience to the jobs you apply for (did you do any extracurricular or volunteer activities that would’ve utilized communication skills?) but I don’t think that’s a bad thing, particularly right out of undergrad. You should also be prepared to explain in interviews why you aren’t interested in a more traditional scientific career in a positive way. Definitely have your resume reviewed by and do some practice interviews with friends, classmates, your school’s tutoring or career center, etc. Also, if you know someone already in the health communications field who’d be willing to give you some feedback, that’s ideal. 

Post # 15
Member
809 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

 gray15 :  I honestly don’t know what your opportunities would be with a bachelor’s to enter the field of health communications, since I went in a different direction (epidemiology), and I don’t know a whole lot about the communications side of things. My gut instinct says that you likely could find something, but it might be harder to find and the pay might be less compared to if you had a master’s.

That said, if you are interested in the Centers for Disease Control, I know of various opportunities for recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees:

PHAP program: https://www.cdc.gov/phap/become_associate/application_process.html

ORISE positions: https://orise.orau.gov/cdc/applicants/current-research-opportunities.aspx

More general info on internships and fellowships: https://www.cdc.gov/fellowships/index.html

 

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