Biotechnology is one of the most progressive sectors of science. It is the scientific discipline that focuses on advancing the conditions of living organisms. It is also an interdisciplinary field that includes Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Computing. The conjunction of the knowledge of all these sectors combines biology with technology. Therefore it has a widespread application from industries like textiles to pharmaceuticals. And many biotech jobs are desirable for those who want to enter the biotechnology sector. It is one of the fastest-growing fields with ample opportunities.
Below listed are a few of the jobs you can consider applying for in the biotech sector. And most biotech jobs are very well paid.
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10 Jobs in the Biotechnology Sector
Biochemistry is the branch of science that deals with the study of the molecules of life. It is a case of emergent properties, i.e., about the properties that arise when certain biochemicals come together. Biochemists study these chemical and physical principles of biological processes, such as cell development, growth, heredity, and disease, or try to understand and solve specific biological problems.
Biochemistry has a vast range of applications, but many duties that biochemists do in these different fields are similar. They plan and conduct experiments that isolate and analyze hormones, enzymes, and toxins to determine the effects it has on biological processes. And they also develop new analytical techniques to detect metabolites or various substances or study biological processes. Furthermore, they share their findings by writing reports, recommendations, or scientific articles.
Biochemists earn about $91,000 annually and usually require a Ph.D. degree to work independently, which usually takes about six years. On the path to a Ph.D. in biochemistry, one needs to complete his/her undergraduate in biology, chemistry, physics, or biochemistry with the additional computer and mathematical classes. Students also can narrow down their interests inside the field of biochemistry to clinical biochemistry, food biochemistry, etc. for their graduate degree.
Microbiology, as the name suggests, is the study of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, algae, protozoan, etc. which are generally too little to see through naked eyes. Microbiologists are scientists who study these microscopic organisms and try to solve a range of problems affecting health, environment, climate, or agriculture. Solutions to these problems include measures for its prevention, diagnosis, and control of infections and disease, food safety, and developing green technologies by understanding the roles of microbes.
Microbiology is a broad subject that overlaps with other life sciences. The typical workplace of a microbiologist is usually in medicine or healthcare. A microbiologist’s work can vary from managing infections to studying crop samples.
The median pay of a microbiologist is $71,650 annually, and the job opportunities are expected to grow by 5-8% per year. The way to specialize in microbiology is the same as any other biotech degree. First, one needs an undergraduate degree in biology, microbiology, chemistry with knowledge in computing and math. Then you need to continue your graduate and Ph.D. studies after finish an undergraduate degree.
3. Biomedical Engineer
A biomedical engineer is one of the biotech jobs that require innovation skills. Biomedical engineering is the application of this innovative thinking and problem-solving techniques of engineering in biology and medicine. A biomedical engineer analyzes and designs solutions to problems in biology and medicine to improve the quality of life. These solutions may be computer software or equipment and devices. Biomedical Engineer’s field of work is to advance diagnostic, analytical, and therapeutic health care methods. Their work’s application can be seen in the development of pacemakers, micro-implants, imaging, and other clinical types of equipment.
Biomedical engineers work in a wide variety of disciplines, with a median annual wage of $88,550. Some biomedical engineers work in hospitals whereas some work in laboratories. They often work in a team with other professionals, create equipment, install them, measure the outcomes, and research on advancing technologies. To pursue this career, one needs an undergraduate degree in physics, engineering, or biomedical science.
4. Food Scientist
Food scientists study the makeup of the food. They study the microbiological, physical, and chemical properties of food and ingredients to make sure they are safe. They also research, create, or improve food and food processes. Food science includes extensive use of chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to analyze the food contents, research ways to package food safely, and determine the best ways to create process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.
Most food scientists work in the research and development departments of food processing companies, whereas some work in quality control, as supervisors, in advertising or research. The average annual salary for food scientists is above $60,000, and job opportunities are projected to grow seven percent in the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Becoming a food scientist requires an undergraduate degree only, but many choose to specialize in it with further studies.
5. Biological Technician
Biological technicians are laboratory assistants responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyze them. They usually work under medical scientists, microbiologists, or biologists. They use ideologies of science and math to help in their research’s development and improvement. In addition to the experiments, biological technicians set up, operate, and sanitize lab equipment to ensure substances are not exposed to cross-contamination. Biological technicians also work in many research areas. Their daily jobs could involve administering new medicines, separating proteins, studying microbes and identifying organisms, etc.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), career opportunities for biological technicians will increase significantly due to the new development in the biological sector, and increased competition in this industry. The average salary is $45,000 annually. Students who want to seek these biotech jobs should take biology, biological technology, or other related majors for their undergraduate studies.
6. Medical Scientist
Medical scientists study and research human diseases and conditions to improve human health. Most medical scientists conduct experiments to advance their knowledge of life processes of infectious organisms and properties of other non-living agents that affect human health. They also study the human body parts to understand diseases and treatments. And their researches have resulted in the advancement of treatment and prevention of many diseases. Those can be achieved by the development of new vaccinations, drugs, or other procedures.
Most medical scientists work with hospitals, or government laboratories, companies, or research universities to explore different aspects of human health. To become a medical scientist, one should take multiple sciences and mathematics classes during their undergraduate studies. After their undergraduate studies, they typically enroll in dual Ph.D. programs, which give them the required clinical skills as well as research skills. The average pay of medical scientists is $84,810. The job openings are projected to grow faster than average (more than 8% over the next ten years).
7. Biotechnology Professor
A professor’s main job is to teach university students, produce scholarly articles, and perform research. And this is one of the most respected jobs in the biotech sector. Their typical workplace is public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, junior or community colleges, and career and vocational schools. In universities, professors develop a course plan and ensure that it meets college and department standards. And they usually work with students who are studying for a degree or certification to improve their knowledge or career skills. They also evaluate the students and advise what classes to take and how to reach their end goals.
Professors, alongside their personal research, have a direct hand in shaping and equipping young minds. To become a biotechnology professor, one needs to complete his doctorate level education biotechnology. It is challenging to get into a post as a professor directly. Therefore most people start as assistant professors. Biotechnology professors, in addition to a vast amount of respect, can earn a median annual wage of $77,190.
8. Animal Scientist
Animal scientists specialize in domestic animal species and research on livestock to understand their biological and chemical processes by which the animal survives. They play a crucial role in maintaining and improving the world food supply. Their primary focus during studying livestock is efficient food production. For this purpose, they explore genetic, nutrition, growth, reproduction, and diseases and find out ways to improve production. In many cases, they cross-breed animals to improve characteristics and also work on reducing the livestock’s death rates.
An animal scientist typically works in research universities, industries, or for the government. Their work includes research, forming hypothesis by tabulating the data and finding out ways to tackle the problem or improve the current condition. The median salary of an animal scientist is $60,760. The projected percent change for animal scientist’s employment from 2019 to 2029 is 7%. To become an animal scientist, one needs a bachelor’s degree in science with coursework for an animal science degree. After this, many scientists go for a graduate or doctor degree to access the field with more knowledge.
9. Genetic Engineer
Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s DNA by molecular biological techniques. A genetic engineer is a highly trained individual who uses various tools and technologies to rearrange fragments of DNA. The overall goal of rearranging DNA is to add or remove DNA parts to modify the genetic makeup of the organism. This biotech job involves using techniques to cut up and join together genetic materials of usually different biological species to produce the desirable hybrid. Genetic engineering research has to lead to numerous medical breakthroughs about antibiotics, diseases, and hereditary problems. An example of genetic engineering is a plant that withstands herbicide or artificial insulin.
Becoming a genetic engineer is not an easy task. This field requires an undergraduate degree, preferably in biochemistry or biophysics, with skill in using computer programming efficiently. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is required for an entry-level job in this field. However, one needs a Ph.D. to conduct independent research. For entry-level job at least three years in the area under the direct guidance of a supervisor is usually preferred. This field requires a strong understanding of scientific methods as well as complex problem solving and critical thinking skills. The median pay in this field is $86,000 annually.
10. Biotechnology Entrepreneur
The world is full of young creative thinkers. Entrepreneurship, being an industry that invites innovation, attracts many young minds. Entrepreneurship often starts with a technical background, i.e., scientific laboratory research. It is usually initiated by a group of scientists with years of experience. Whatever the background of the startup may be, an entrepreneur should have several qualities to become successful. The most important quality they need is being able to market themselves and show their ideas to raise capital and secure funding. They also need to be innovative and goal-oriented. It is essential to learn about the market and its trends to properly conduct the startup. If you don’t want to find a biotech job in other companies, you may think about founding a company by yourself or with your business partners.
Starting a biotech company requires about $100,000, and it can be managed through government and startup loans. The funds may increase if the company goes on the track that has promising outcomes. And it seems like a great time to be on the realm of startups right now.