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What Does a Biotechnologist Do, And How Can You Become One?

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Determining which career path you want to pursue is one of the most significant decisions you will make during your lifetime. Your career plans could affect the courses you take in high school and postsecondary academic decisions, such as where to study, what discipline you should major in, and whether you need to earn a master’s or a bachelor’s degree.

Over the past century, technological advancements have produced new career opportunities and altered the way people work. Individuals interested in a scientific career who are logical thinkers with strong analytical skills may find a career as a biotechnologist rewarding. Please continue reading to learn about what biotechnologists do, the skills biotechnologists need, how much they earn, and how to become one if that’s the path you’d like to take.

What is a biotechnologist?

Also known as a biotech scientist, a biotechnologist is an expert in biology. Many biotech scientists are in the biotechnology industry. They typically work in a laboratory, perform tests, review results, and establish protocols for new products.

Although they’re commonly known for applying their skills and knowledge to develop medical treatments, such as prescription medications, biotechnologists are research and development specialists who can use their biological knowledge in several career fields, including manufacturing, agriculture, marketing, and healthcare. Biotech scientists may develop new products or processes, or they may identify new applications for existing products.

What skills do biotechnologists need?

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Biotech scientists must have logical thinking. They use logic to evaluate their objectives and processes to ensure the steps they’re taking make sense. Observation skills are crucial because they need to monitor every step of the production process. Biotechnologists must be detail-oriented to ensure they take precise steps and document relevant data in detail. They also need excellent analytical skills to evaluate their protocols when they review test results. Data-analysis skills and critical thinking skills are also crucial because scientists must identify their objectives, determine possible solutions to problems, and determine how to modify their protocols to yield desirable results. Biotech scientists also need excellent communication skills because they will be required to explain their protocols, their tests’ results, and the benefits of their products.

How much do biotechnologists earn?

In December 2020, a review by Salary.com reported that biotech scientists in the United States earned a median annual salary of $99,983. The ten percent of biotech scientists earning the highest incomes took home $121,698 or more, while the ten percent of biotechnologists earning the lowest salaries earned $82,528 or less.

Several factors can affect the average annual salary biotech scientists earn. Location can influence salaries. Professionals working in California or New York typically receive higher salaries that account for the high cost of living in those states, while those employed in the Midwestern United States may earn lower salaries. Experience and education may also be factors that affect a biotech scientist’s annual salary.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that medical scientists’ career opportunities should increase by six percent between 2019 and 2029, which is two percent higher than the average job growth rate for all occupations during the same period.

What do you need to do to become a biotechnologist?

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Although a step-by-step guide for becoming a biotechnologist can help you identify potential academic paths, there are multiple ways to prepare for a career in biotechnology. You can complete a bachelor’s degree in life sciences disciplines, such as biology or biochemistry, and supplement your degree by earning a biotechnology certificate. You can also pursue opportunities as a lab tech with an associate’s degree in this discipline. You can also opt to pursue a master’s degree in biotechnology after earning an undergraduate degree in life sciences.

What other careers might appeal to those interested in biotechnology?

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There are multiple careers for logical thinkers that may appeal to you if you’re interested in biotechnology. You may supplement your biotechnology studies by earning a law degree and work as a legal scientist. Your coursework in biology and chemistry may also prepare you for a career as a medical doctor.

Biotechnologists use their knowledge of life scientists to develop new applications for existing products or create new products. They can develop products for several fields, including healthcare and agriculture. Biotechnologists must complete postsecondary studies and earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to qualify for their chosen career.