16 Jobs You Can Do With a Bioethics Degree

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 2, 2021

Professionals who enjoy helping others through science might consider earning a degree in bioethics. Having a bioethics degree can prepare you for a range of careers and industries. Knowing which of the many jobs or fields related to bioethics you might want to pursue can help you figure out the best career development path for you. In this article, we discuss what a bioethics degree is, explore 16 different jobs you can do with a bioethics degree and offer advice on how you can earn this education credential.

What is a bioethics degree?

A bioethics degree is an educational credential that focuses on a branch of applied ethics in the health care sciences. Applied ethics refers to practical measures or steps to help people make moral decisions with tangible actions and outcomes. Bioethics can guide scientific and health care professionals to make ethical choices. These ethical decisions typically involve the preservation or value of human lives. Students who pursue a bioethics degree receive a multidisciplinary education, meaning that they study knowledge and techniques related to a range of academic disciplines, including philosophy, biology, sociology and medical sciences.

Related: What Is a Bioethicist? Job Duties, Skills and More

What can you do with a bioethics degree?

Here are 16 jobs you might pursue if you have or want to get a degree in bioethics:

1. Fellow

National average salary: $48,773 per year

Primary duties: A fellow is an entry-level role conducted on a short-term basis and designed to advance a new professional's career. Current or recent graduate students often apply to fellowships to begin their professional careers. A fellow with a bioethics degree might pursue a clinical ethics fellowship for one or two years after their graduation. Their responsibilities may include taking part in bioethics committees or meetings, preparing bioethics materials for current students and researching or delivering presentations on various bioethics topics to an audience.

2. Professor

National average salary: $55,074 per year

Primary duties: A professor is an educator who teaches at a higher education facility, like a college or university. Their responsibilities vary depending on their institution but can include conducting original research, designing class curriculum, teaching courses and grading student papers. A degree in bioethics can prepare students to become bioethics professors. Professionals with a background in bioethics might also teach one discipline that bioethics draws upon, such as biology, medical science or life science.

3. Compliance consultant

National average salary: $75,780 per year

Primary duties: Compliance consultants help businesses make sure that their operations, products and services adhere to all local or federal regulations. Responsibilities include developing and implementing risk mitigation strategies, explaining legal concepts or terms to their clients and working with a compliance committee to devise advisory or presentation materials. Compliance consultants with a background in bioethics typically collaborate with pharmaceutical or medical researchers. Bioethics compliance consultants can offer these professionals advice on developing new medical technology or drugs ethically.

4. Epidemiologist

National average salary: $76,361 per year

Primary duties: An epidemiologist is a public health expert who focuses on mitigating, eradicating or preventing the spread of disease. Epidemiologists track current Infectious disease trends, examine past disease outbreaks to detect patterns that could help public health initiatives today, educate the public about how to limit the spread of disease and conduct original research.

An epidemiologist with a background in bioethics may focus on performing original research or helping other medical or scientific professionals conduct ethical experiments related to infectious diseases. Bioethics issues that may arise during epidemiology research or experiments include patient consent, disclosing conflicts of interest and representing or testing minorities fairly.

5. Policy analyst

National average salary: $79,465 per year

Primary duties: A policy analyst studies the actual or potential effects of both past and pending laws. A policy analyst may work in the private sector, such as for a news outlet, to help these organizations and members of the public understand the implications of current or potential political system. They may also work closely with politicians and government employees to help them make decisions about creating new or modifying existing policies.

A policy analyst with a degree in bioethics may specialize in analyzing political systems and regulations related to healthcare or science. They might help the government create effective laws that allow scientists and medical researchers to develop innovative drugs or technology while following moral standards.

6. Biomedical engineer

National average salary: $81,028 per year

Primary duties: A biomedical engineer develops, tests and refines medical technology related to the health sciences. For example, some biomedical engineers specialize in artificially intelligent prosthetics, while others focus on technology designed to rapidly test or mass-produce a new drug. The goal of a biomedical engineer is to optimize human health by combining technology principles and systems with engineering and medical sciences.

7. Pharmaceutical consultant

National average salary: $82,409 per year

Primary duties: Pharmaceutical consultants help businesses safely and efficiently develop, test or manufacture new drugs. A pharmaceutical consultant is typically a contract employee who works on a short-term or part-time basis for a range of pharmaceutical companies. A pharmaceutical consultant with a background in bioethics can help these companies ethically test their new drugs or medical treatments on patients. They may also assist pharmaceutical companies in adhering to any local or federal regulations.

8. Medical technologist

National average salary: $89,965 per year

Primary duties: A medical technologist conducts scientific experiments in a laboratory setting. They often perform tests on materials related to living creatures, such as blood or tissue, to detect the presence or levels of parasites, drugs, cells or bacteria. Their responsibilities include performing maintenance or minor repairs on laboratory equipment, documenting their experiments and using automated technology to analyze results. Medical technologists with a background in bioethics can help ensure that their facility conducts these experiments ethically.

9. Research scientist

National average salary: $91,138 per year

Primary duties: Research scientists conduct innovative studies or experiments within their field. Responsibilities include developing protocols for experiments, recording all data related to their research, collaborating with other scientific professionals and staying up to date on the latest developments in their industry. Research scientists with a bioethics degree likely focus on life or medical sciences.

10. Attorney

National average salary: $91,186 per year

Primary duties: An attorney is a legal professional who helps their clients navigate legal situations. Their duties vary depending on the type of law they specialize in and their client's needs, but may include helping clients understand legal documents, conducting new research on a case or representing their clients in court.

Attorneys with a background in bioethics might decide to specialize in an area of law, such as biotechnology or health care. They may primarily represent businesses who work in this field and help them apply for or defend their patents on new technology and drugs, comply with industry regulations and comprehend legal terminology related to their field.

Read more: Learn About Being an Attorney

11. Data scientist

National average salary: $115,187 per year

Primary duties: Data scientists collect, summarize, analyze and extract meaning from large sets of data, sometimes referred to as big data. A data scientist uses knowledge and techniques from a range of disciplines, including statistics, mathematics and computer science. Many data scientists help companies understand and implement strategies based on their business data. Data scientists familiar with bioethics may help health care or pharmaceutical companies understand data related to their customers or new products, such as data from experiment logs or emails from customers.

Read more: Learn About Being a Data Scientist

12. Biotech consultant

National average salary: $134,335 per year

Primary duties: Biotech consultants help companies in biotech safely and effectively develop new medical products or drugs. Companies that work in biotech focus on developing advanced technology that involves or benefits living organisms. A biotech consultant can help these companies adhere to local or federal regulations, develop ethical testing protocols and determine their business's future steps or strategies. A background in bioethics can especially help biotech consultants advise their clients on successfully navigating moral choices related to scientific or technological advancements.

13. Biostatistician

National average salary: $138,582 per year

Primary duties: Biostatisticians collect, analyze and extract meeting from data collected from living organisms. The field of biostatistics uses strategies and principles from the statistics discipline and applies them to situations in medicine and science. Responsibilities of biostatisticians include recording data during an experiment, working closely with other professionals in the medical science community, writing papers on their findings or giving presentations to students or the public. Knowledge of bioethics can help biostatisticians collect data from living organisms morally.

Read more: Learn About Being a Biostatistician

14. Medical director

National average salary: $188,720 per year

Primary duties: A medical director oversees all operations and staff that relate to patient care at a health care facility, such as at a hospital or nursing home. They often collaborate closely with their facility's medical board to develop new or revise existing policies that optimize patient care procedures. Other responsibilities include managing the facility's budget, recruiting new medical professionals and monitoring the quality of various operations. A bioethics degree can be a great way to prepare for a medical director position, as medical directors often make decisions that directly relate to treatments or outcomes of human patients.

Read more: Learn About Being a Medical Director

15. Physician

National average salary: $239,255 per year

Primary duties: A physician evaluates, tests, diagnoses and treats patients with various medical needs or conditions. Many of a physician's responsibilities depend on their chosen health care specialization, such as pediatric, acute care, infectious diseases or oncology. A physician with a bioethics background can implement the knowledge and skills gained from their degree in a range of healthcare fields. Physicians with a bioethics degree may focus on helping their medical facility or other health care providers make moral decisions while providing direct patient care.

Read more: Learn About Being a Physician

16. Surgeon

National average salary: $299,233 per year

Primary duties: Surgeons are health care professionals who conduct operations on their patients. These operations may be preventative or to improve an existing medical condition. Surgeons usually specialize in a field of medicine and perform diagnoses, operations and treatments within that field. Surgeons with degrees in bioethics can have a more in-depth understanding of how to navigate patient surgery ethically. They may serve on committees or advisory boards that help medical facilities or other surgeons develop oral practices related to surgical procedures.

Read more: Learn About Being a Surgeon

Tips for earning a bioethics degree

Here's some advice that can help you get a degree in bioethics:

  • Earn a bachelor's degree: Most schools offer degrees in bioethics at either the master's or doctorate level. Earning an undergraduate degree in a field that bioethics draws upon, such as life science or philosophy, can help you earn an advanced degree in bioethics.

  • Develop your skills: Hone your knowledge and abilities related to the field of bioethics. Skills that bioethicists can benefit from developing include communication, self-direction, flexibility and teamwork.

  • Consider your future industry: Think about what industry you might want to work in after earning your degree. Professionals with bioethics backgrounds can work in a wide range of fields, including scientific development, technology, health care and academia.

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