What is biotechnology?

Biotechnology is a discipline that utilizes living organisms to produce therapeutic drugs, diagnostics products, biofuels, and many other additional products that significantly benefit our society.

The scope of Biotechnology in the USA

Biotechnology is mixing the use of living systems and organisms to make products and combine this development in a step-forward technological application.

One can find biotech virtually everywhere: in breakfast cereal, coffee filters, aspirin, climbing ropes, camping gear, and vitamins.

Most of the processed food items available in the supermarket are the product of biotechnology.

A degree in biotechnology will help to fetch a career in research & development and manufacturing of the vast product lines.

The range of programs offered is immense.

Some programs focus on making skilled workers, researchers, managers, and laboratory technicians while others help a student pursue doctorates and post-doctoral work.

Thinking about the careers opportunities in biotechnology, most of us think of a scientist in a white coat in a laboratory generating and evolving drugs to improve the quality of life.

However, biotechnology has a wide variety of career opportunities ranging from sales and marketing to research and development, in contrast to our caged thoughts.

The biotech sector is expanding very rapidly across the globe.

The total number of biotechnology companies is increasing worldwide, but also the employment opportunities are growing continually, but a question arises in the mind of every undergraduate and graduate that WHERE THIS INDUSTRY IS FLOURISHING?

As for college graduates, they do not find any career opportunities.

To end up all the confusion and mind-boggling thoughts of your minds here is the article.

If you are in view of a career in the biotechnology arena, you have to answer two question to yourself: Do you like thinking about living beings? And what segments of the economy can you see yourself working in? Responding to these questions will help you toward selecting the correct career path.

Before discussing the careers, let’s understand the degree option available.

A degree in biotechnology is not a one-way ticket into a lab coat.

Your career in biotechnology is really hooked on your peak level of education you have accomplished.

Occasionally, one may find an entry-level biotech job that only demands a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, but one should go on to complete your Ph.D. if he or she aspires to move up in this field.

Types of Biotechnology Degrees

There are five types of programs: Certificate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D., and Dual degree programs. Here’s an overview of these programs.

Certificate Degrees in Biotechnology

Most certificate programs usually take a year or less to complete and are intensive on the particular educational track. There are two types of certificate programs:

  • Those designed for students who have earned their Bachelor’s degree but didn’t get all the suggested courses to move into a biotech occupation.
  • Those designed for students who have finished their graduate studies and need specific training.

Associate Degrees in Biotechnology

The Associate degree in biotechnology makes students transfer into the bachelor’s degree program.

Though some employers will accept students who have only the Associate degree, many entry-level jobs do require the four-year education.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Biotechnology

For most entry-level jobs Bachelor’s degree is essential.

It typically takes three to four years to complete and offers some opportunities for gaining expertise through the use of electives under the biotechnology umbrella.

If you are interested in knowing best BSc biotechnology colleges in India or top 10 government BSc biotechnology colleges in India or top b.tech biotechnology colleges in India, then please click on the links for more details.

Master’s Degree in Biotechnology

The master’s in biotechnology degree lets students develop their knowledge through a focused curriculum.

It usually takes two to three years to complete, depending upon the program.

If you are interested in knowing top MSc biotechnology colleges in India or top 10 universities in India for MSc biotechnology, then please click on the links for more details.

Ph.D. Degree in Biotechnology

The doctorate is the zenith of the biotechnology field and offers students enough broad autonomy when choosing a novel research project and focus of study.

Those who intend to work with in-depth research or move into academics will need to earn the Ph.D. as this degree opens up more avenues both in India and worldwide.

The doctoral program usually takes between three and four years to complete, though some schools permit up to eight years for completion of the dissertation.

A Ph.D. degree gives the ability to start own research lab, become a professor or head of the department in universities or lead a team of investigators.

If the goal is to create a niche for yourself in Biotechnology, then best is to go for a Ph.D. degree.

Note: We have compiled a List of Top Biotechnology colleges in India and if you are looking for PhD in biotechnology in India then please click on the link for more details.

Careers in Biotechnology

In the biotech field two fundamental career paths exist:

  1. Laboratory research-oriented Careers
  2. Non-laboratory research-oriented Careers

So let’s discuss each of them

Laboratory Research Careers

  • Discovery Research: Research include protein chemists, geneticists, biochemists, etc. their job is discovering new processes, drugs, and technologies. One can get an entry-level job as a Research Associate and work for several years, but an advanced degree is necessary for more senior job openings. Most higher-level positions, however, require a Ph.D. But one can definitely get into the industry after undergraduate studies. Few job positions under this category are listed below:
  • Biotechnical Scientist: Scientist works as part of a group of scientists on a given project which could be related to health care, microbiology, biophysics, etc. To attain this position, one requires a Ph.D. and at least two years of work and research experience.
  • Director: An experienced senior scientist may eventually move to managerial status, becoming the head or director of a research facility. The position includes chores like recruiting and coordinating group leaders. He is responsible for the management – and at times, promotion – of the services and programs offered by the Institute. To attain this position one requires a Ph.D. and strong research skills, proven with extensive research papers.
  • Industry Researcher: Researchers for a biotech company generally enjoy a great deal of freedom and flexibility. Such position generally requires a Ph.D. plus a few years of post-doctorate experience in either industry or research. The Median Salary is $83,390USD and Avg. Salary is $64,000 USD (Source, BLS).
  • Research Associate: These are not generally high-paying positions, but are stepping stone to career development. These positions often help the Associate gain valuable contacts and knowledge, as well as increasing marketability. Such a position generally requires a Ph.D. and related research experience. The Median Salary is $47,820 USD and Avg. Salary is $64,000 USD (Source, BLS)
  • Bioinformaticians: Their responsibility is to design, develop, implement tools and analyze the data obtained from them to understand and interpret biological data. Knowledge of several programming languages is essential. The Median salary is $ 81,480 and Avg. salary is  $120,000 (Source, BLS).
  • Clinical Pharmacist: They are trained in direct patient care environments like medical centers, clinics, and a variety of other healthcare settings. They work with physicians, other health experts, and patients to check that the medications intended for patients subsidize to the likely health outcomes. The position needs a Master’s and a Ph.D.
  • Senior Scientist: The senior scientist supervises the work of others. Candidates must have a Master’s and/or a Ph.D. along with strong communication skills. The Median Salary is $102,190 USD and Avg. Salary is $70,000 USD (Source, BLS).
  • Biochemist and Biophysicist: These scientists work in large laboratories researching how living things function. They plan experiments, work directly with protein, enzymes, and DNA and study the effect of external materials on living things. Doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics is required to start a career in this field.
  • Biomedical Engineer: Their work to generate tools to investigate medical problems or design tools that improve patients’ lives. Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering is required to start a career in this field.
  • Epidemiologist: They work for determining high-level views of disease, like how a disease is spread via people or animals what are its impacts, how it can be cured, etc. Master’s degree in epidemiology or an MPH, life sciences and statistics is required to start a career in this field.
  • Food Scientist and Technologist: Food scientists and technologists are specialists in nutrition. They develop new products and methods of food preservation and processing. Bachelor’s degree in food science is required to start a career in this field.
  • Microbiologist: They work on the manufacturing site of the industry, making sure that products are not contaminated, but they likely to be involved in research and development. Microbiologists research on bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, and parasites. To start a career in microbiology, a Bachelor’s degree in microbiology, biochemistry or a related field is needed.
  • Soil and Plant Scientist: They are typically employed by companies to improve food quality. They have advanced knowledge of environmental science by which they can maximize land use while also increasing food production. Bachelor’s degree in soil chemistry, biochemistry, entomology and plant physiology is needed to start up the career.

Non-Laboratory Research Careers

  • Engineers: their job is to ensure there is enough material available for clinical testing and how to manufacture approved drugs. The Median Salary $86,960 USD and Avg. Salary is $70,000 USD (Source, BLS).

Medical and Clinical Setting Involves clinical drug testing and analyzing data. Two distinct paths include clinical research (by physicians, nurses, or data management professions) and regulatory affairs (deal with all aspects of drug approval through the FDA). An example of few positions related to this area are listed below:

  • Consultant: The goal of a consultant is to identify possible problems or issues and troubleshoot them, ensuring optimal client returns. They are mainly associated with the industries. To attain this position, one requires a Masters or Ph.D. and as a minimum five years of work and/or research experience
  • Investigator: An investigator’s job is to determine whether a biotech company is operating in compliance with existing laws and regulations. For most positions as an investigator require an MD and/or a Ph.D. in addition to it, Skills like the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills, and attention to detail are also required.
  • Senior Regulatory Affairs Specialist: The goal of a Specialist is to coordinate and document internal regulatory processes such as internal audits, inspections, license renewals, or registrations. For this position, an individual requires an MSc along with several years of industrial experience, in addition to it skills like the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills, etc.
  • Drug Safety/Medical Information Specialist: the position holder is in charge of identifying, reporting and ensuring upon adverse effects of drugs. For this position, investigator requires MD and/or a Ph.D. along with certain skills like the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills, etc.
  • Project Leader: A project leader (or a group leader) supervises the gathering, analysis, and integration of data from diverse sources. He directs association among group scientists as well as two-way work with partner organizations. For this position, the individual is expected to have a Ph.D. as well as two to five years of post-doctorate work experience.

Administrative and Support Functions This area would include career paths in finance, human resources, safety managers, external relations, legal, facilities management, and project management. This arena includes positions like:

  • Senior Technical Writer: The senior technical writer plans, writes and maintains systems and user support documentation. For this position, individual requires a Bachelor’s degree along with several years of industrial experience, in addition to it Skills like the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills
  • Business Manager: the duty is to establish business principles and applies them in a scientific setting in order to create new products or improve existing ones. The business role of their job involves overseeing the life cycle of a scientific project (goal setting, execution, results analysis, etc.), while the scientific portion involves working with scientists, managers, and research sponsors. For more business-minded scientists, a biotechnology MBA offers a comprehensive grounding in the two fields. A Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree is preferred by most employers.
  • Sales and Marketing: The marketing function involves identifying target customers for the product and creating strategies to sell the new drugs and technologies. Additionally, new business development and alliance management are encompassed within this area. For this position, individual requires a Bachelor’s degree along with skills like the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills, etc.

Last but not the least, the career option for those who chose biotechnology as their interest but are not interested in research and industry. They can go with the academia, consider a staff or faculty position at the university level.

  • Professor: Many schools are looking for scientists willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others. Requirements for these jobs vary, depending on the level of the professorship. Generally, most positions require an MD or Ph.D. with extensive postdoctoral experience. Positions are available as a lecturer, an assistant professor, an Associate Professor, and, finally, as a full-time tenured professor. Professors are responsible for developing research programs in their own departments, as well as teaching, lecturing, mentoring, and overseeing student work.

To summarize, the commonality between the lab and no lab functions is that these careers require at least an undergraduate degree with a foundation in life science. However, many positions demand an advanced degree in science (such as a Ph.D. in a life science).

Internships in Biotechnology: Internships are crucial for gaining hands-on training in the field. These Internships will surely boost resume but also provide an opportunity to the student to find the area of interests in the field of biotechnology. And these internships will help in securing best jobs in the industry as well as in academia. Here, we have compiled a list of biotech-related internships; please click on the link provided below:

Below we have compiled a list of biotech companies, universities and research institutions that are renowned worldwide for their work in Biological Sciences and applied biosciences.

Top Biotech/Pharmaceuticals companies in the world

Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Novartis, Merck & Co., Amgen, Sanofi, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline, Celgene, Bayer, Eli Lilly & Co., Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Allergan, AstraZeneca, Abbott Laboratories,  Novo Nordisk, Biogen, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Stryker Corporation, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, Teva Pharmaceutical, Baxter International, Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

List of Top 10 Best Cities for Biotechnology Jobs

Q1 2015
Greater Boston Area
Bio NC
San Francisco Bay Area
Biotech Bay
San Diego
Biotech Beach
New York City
Pharm Country
Los Angeles/Orange
Biotech Beach
Pharm Country
Long Island
Pharm Country

Source: JLL Life Science Clusters 2015

List of biotech companies across the world

If you are interested in knowing top 10 biotech companies in India, then please go through this link: List of Top 10 Biotechnology Companies in India.

Top Research Institution and Universities

Types of biotechnology:

  • Biopharmaceuticals: Biotechnology has led to the development of many antibiotics for the treatment of different infections and also to the development of several therapeutic vaccines for the prevention of many diseases. Therapeutics biomolecules/biotherapeutics are too complicated to chemically synthesize, as a result, are required to be mass-produced in living cells such as bacteria, yeast or mammalian cells. These cells are often genetically manipulated to produce useful medicines. An individual’s DNA can also be screened to determine the existence of any altered sequences that could indicate a risk of certain cancers or the onset of certain adult diseases. Genetic testing has also been used in prenatal screening.
  • Forensic science: DNA analysis is widely used in the forensic science sector for solving various criminal cases.
  • Agricultural biotechnology: Biotechnology is widely applied in agriculture to improve crop yield and to make plants more robust to environmental stress making them resistant to insects that damage and lower crop yield. Crops are engineered to make them naturally resistant to environmental pests which in turn benefits the environment with the use of fewer pesticides and herbicides. Biotechnology can also improve the nutritional value of food and improve its appearance and taste.
  • Environmental science: Biotechnologists use microorganisms in the treatment of sewage wastes and are also widely using them in cleaning the polluted environments such as oil spillages in the sea. The microbes metabolize various contaminants into harmless byproducts.
  • Manufacturing: Biotechnology has been used for the production of biodegradable plastics, biofuels, high fructose corn syrup,  alcohol, the sweetening agent for soft drinks, production of chemical utilizing agricultural waste, and much more.

Scope of Biotechnology in India

How to get a degree in biotechnology?

In India, students can pursue their career in biotechnology by joining a bachelor degree (BSc, B.E., and B.Tech) program. Depending upon the degree program you are enrolled you could get your degree in three years in case of BSc or four years in case of B.E./B.Tech. Once you have your bachelors degree, you can go for MSc/M.Tech/Ph.D. for your postgraduation studies in the field of biotechnology.

What is the eligibility criteria for getting enrolled in a degree program in biotechnology?

Students who are interested in enrolling in a degree program in biotechnology need to pass his/her 10+2 with 50% marks and also need to have biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Depending upon the institute you are enrolling, PCMB might be a minimum requirement for a BSc, but some institute might accept PCM students as well. But if you would like to get enrolled into a degree program in engineering (B.E./B.Tech), you might need to appear for common entrance exams like IIT-JEE or many deemed or private universities/institutes conduct their own entrance exams.

Careers in Biosciences

However, the world has stood still against a new era in biosciences. One that pitches new jobs in the marketplace and one that demands a unique set of skills.

Here is the list of the hottest employment opportunities in the field of biosciences.

1. Jobs with a Biotechnology Degree Jobs for Biotechnology Degree: Technology has advanced a lot over the years — just like the development of bioscience. Biotechnology is mixing the use of living systems and organisms to make products and combine this development in a step-forward technological application. Biotechnology jobs have been popular over the years. The main reason for that is that they directly link to the human life in all of its forms. From molecules and cells to organisms and our environment, here is a list of career opportunities in the biotechnology field:

2. Microbiology Jobs: The study of microscopic organisms and aspects such as viruses, bacteria, etc. has always been popular. The results gained from microbiology have saved millions of lives and proved that our physiology, cell biology, ecology, and evolution are all of the utmost importance.

3. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Jobs: What started as a simple branch of science has evolved into a whole job marketplace. Biochemistry examines all the chemical processes related to living organisms and blends biology and chemistry in an important manner. A career in biochemistry will make you understand and solve many biological problems.

4. Bioinformatics Jobs: A relatively new domain, however holding many answers, methods and software tools that help us understand biological data. Combining statistics, computer science, maths, and engineering — Bioinformatics aims to publish high-quality scientific papers and excellent review articles in every field of biology.

In the end, choosing a career in microbiology, biotechnology, bioinformatics or biochemistry is a choice worth making. With the rise and development of all fields, people are becoming more and more able to collect and analyze data critically and solve a lot of problems. Working as a part of a team and managing your time effectively is also one of the perks of the new job opportunities in biosciences.

Scope of Biotechnology

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