Career Development

What Does a Biotechnologist Do?

Find out what a biotechnologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a biotechnologist.

Biotechnologists are scientists who use living systems to create new products or solve problems. They may work with plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, or other organisms to develop new pharmaceuticals, improve crop yields, or otherwise advance human knowledge and understanding of the natural world.

Biotechnologists often specialize in a particular area of study within their field. For example, they might focus on genetic engineering, microbiology, botany, zoology, etc.

Biotechnologist Job Duties

Biotechnologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Studying new ways to use existing technologies or inventing new technologies to improve current processes or create new products
  • Testing the effects of chemical or physical agents on microorganisms, plants, animals, or other test subjects
  • Conducting experiments to learn how organisms react to different environmental conditions, such as changes in temperature or humidity
  • Collecting and analyzing data to identify trends in the results of experiments or scientific studies
  • Conducting research to create new biotechnologies or improve existing ones
  • Identifying organisms that can be used to produce useful substances such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and vitamins
  • Explaining findings to scientists, medical professionals, and laypeople
  • Preparing and sterilizing laboratory equipment before and after experiments
  • Preparing samples for analysis by testing them in specialized equipment such as spectrometers or microscopes

Biotechnologist Salary & Outlook

The salary of a biotechnologist can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of company they work for. Those with more education and experience typically earn higher salaries than those who are just starting out in the field.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of biotechnologists is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Biotechnology companies will need biotechnologists to research and develop new products, such as bioengineered drugs or genetically engineered crops. Biotechnologists also will be needed to ensure that these products are safe for humans, plants, and animals.

Related: Biotechnologist Interview Questions and Answers

Biotechnologist Job Requirements

A biotechnologist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement for most biotechnologist positions. A bachelor’s degree in biology, microbiology or a related field is preferred by most employers. Some employers may prefer a master’s degree in a related field.

Training & Experience: Biotechnologists receive most of their training through internships and entry-level positions. During an internship, a student gains hands-on experience in a laboratory setting. They work under the supervision of a practicing biotechnologist to learn how to perform experiments, analyze data and report their findings.

After completing their education, many biotechnologists begin their careers as laboratory technicians. In this role, they use their knowledge of biology and chemistry to assist scientists in their research.

Certifications & Licenses: Though not always required, biotechnologists can gain certifications to show their expertise in a particular method, technique or technology.

Biotechnologist Skills

Biotechnologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Laboratory skills: Biotechnologists use laboratory skills to perform experiments and analyze data. They use laboratory equipment like centrifuges, microscopes and other tools to conduct experiments and test samples. They also use computer programs to analyze data and create graphs and charts.

Communication skills: Biotechnologists often communicate with other biotechnologists, lab technicians, managers and clients. They use verbal and written communication skills to explain scientific concepts and results to clients and colleagues. They also use written communication skills to create reports and proposals for funding.

Problem-solving skills: Biotechnologists use their problem-solving skills to identify and address issues that arise during experiments. They also use their problem-solving skills to develop solutions to challenges that arise when developing new products. For example, a biotechnologist might use their problem-solving skills to identify the cause of a bacterial infection and develop a treatment for it.

Scientific knowledge: Biotechnologists need to have a strong understanding of biology and chemistry to be able to apply their knowledge to their work. They need to understand the processes that occur in nature and how to manipulate those processes to create new products. They also need to understand the chemical reactions that occur when creating new products.

Teamwork skills: Biotechnologists often work in teams to develop new products and test them. This means they need to be able to work with others and understand how their work fits into the larger project.

Biotechnologist Work Environment

Biotechnologists work in a variety of settings, including laboratories, manufacturing plants, and offices. They may work for pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology firms, hospitals, government agencies, or universities. They typically work regular hours, although they may be required to work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or to attend conferences or meetings. Some biotechnologists travel to other countries to conduct research or to consult with other scientists. The work can be stressful, and biotechnologists must be able to handle pressure and work well under deadlines.

Biotechnologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how biotechnologists work. Biotechnologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diversity in the Biotech Industry

The biotechnology industry is growing rapidly, and with it comes a need for more diversity. This is because the industry relies on innovation and creativity to develop new products and services that can help improve people’s lives.

Biotechnologists can play an important role in helping to diversify the industry by developing innovative ideas and products that can help to improve people’s lives. In addition, they can also help to promote diversity within their company by encouraging other employees to come up with new ideas.

More Collaboration Between Academia and Industry

There has been a trend towards increased collaboration between academia and industry in recent years. This is due to the fact that both parties have much to gain from such collaborations.

Biotechnologists are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have the knowledge and experience necessary to bridge the gap between academia and industry. By doing so, they can help to create new products and services that will benefit both parties.

A Greater Focus on Personalized Medicine

As medicine becomes more personalized, the role of the biotechnologist will become increasingly important.

Biotechnologists are responsible for developing and testing new drugs and treatments, which requires a deep understanding of how individual patients respond to different medications and therapies. This makes them essential members of the medical team, as they are able to provide valuable insight into how to best treat each patient.

How to Become a Biotechnologist

A career as a biotechnologist can be both rewarding and exciting. It’s important to consider what you want out of your career when deciding on a path, but there are many different ways to become a biotechnologist.

You could start by getting a degree in biology or chemistry. This will give you the foundation you need to understand how living things work and how they can be used for research purposes. You could also get a graduate degree in biotechnology or molecular biology. These degrees will provide you with more specialized knowledge about how to use living things in research.

After you have your degree, you can look for jobs in research laboratories or biotech companies. Here, you would use your knowledge of biology and chemistry to develop new products or processes that can be used in medicine or other industries.

Advancement Prospects

Biotechnologists typically start their careers working in entry-level positions in laboratories. As they gain experience, they may be promoted to positions with more responsibility, such as lead biotechnologist or supervisor. With further experience and education, biotechnologists may advance to management positions, such as lab manager or director. Some biotechnologists may also choose to start their own businesses.

Biotechnologist Job Description Example

The Biotechnologist will be responsible for the development and implementation of processes in the production of enzymes, proteins, and other biomolecules. They will also be responsible for developing and optimizing fermentation processes, as well as troubleshooting process issues. The Biotechnologist will work with a team of scientists and engineers to develop and scale-up production processes. They will also be responsible for writing and revising standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The ideal candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, Biology, or a related field, and at least 3 years of experience working in a biotech or pharmaceutical company. They should also have experience with fermentation, cell culture, and purification processes.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop and optimize new or improved methods for the production of biologics, including enzymes, proteins, antibodies, and vaccines
  • Conduct research to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention and develop strategies for their modulation
  • Design and oversee experiments to test the efficacy of potential therapeutics in animal models
  • Develop and validate analytical methods for the characterization of biologics
  • Write scientific reports, patents, and grant proposals
  • Present findings at scientific conferences and meetings
  • Train and supervise junior scientists and technicians
  • Manage projects and timelines
  • Work with regulatory affairs staff to ensure compliance with government regulations
  • Collaborate with colleagues in other departments, such as manufacturing, quality control, and sales
  • Stay current on scientific and technological developments in the field
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, biology, or related discipline
  • 3+ years of experience working in a laboratory setting
  • Proven experience with common biochemical techniques, including PCR, gel electrophoresis, and cell culture
  • Familiarity with standard lab equipment and instrumentation
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office, with aptitude to learn new software and systems
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in biochemistry, biology, or related discipline
  • 5+ years of experience working in a laboratory setting
  • Experience with advanced biochemical techniques, including mass spectrometry and chromatography
  • Proficiency in data analysis software, such as Excel, SPSS, or SAS
  • Strong writing and communication skills


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