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How to Become a Biotechnologist

A biotechnologist is a professional or a trained scientist who uses living organisms and animal or plant-based materials to improve knowledge, goods and services. They study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms, and identify industrial uses for this knowledge.  Using this knowledge they create products in fields such as agriculture, environmental conservation and medicine. Examples of biotechnology products include genetically modified foods and pharmaceuticals.

Pre-requisites

You must demonstrate the following if you wish to excel in the field of Biotechnology:

  • An aptitude for science, particularly biology and chemistry
  • Logical and analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving skills and think creatively
  • Patience and inquisitiveness
  • Methodical approach to work
  • High level of accuracy
  • Proficiency in working with computers

Education

Here is the complete lowdown of how to become a successful biotechnologist:

Opt for Biology, Physics and Chemistry in your high school. Start working to find out what area interests you for specialization right from school days.

Enroll for a Bachelors degree in any of the following:

  • Bachelor of Science majoring in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biosciences, food technology, or plant biotechnology
  • Bachelor of engineering majoring in biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Technology majoring in biotechnology, industrial bioscience, biochemical engineering or food technology
  • Bachelor of chemistry or chemical engineering

Further if you wish to specialize in research, a Masters or Doctorates in biotechnology is vital.

While a career in biotechnology will give you the satisfaction of chipping in to improve the quality of life for people around the world, you must be aware of:

  • Cut throat competition in this profession
  • Hazardous working conditions
  • Long working hours and hectic job schedules

Future

A Biotechnologist generally work as a Research Scientist, a Science Writer, a Bio- informer, Quality control officer, or Production-in charge in food, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, etc. They may find employment in laboratories and offices located in:

  • Universities
  • Research institutes
  • Processing/ manufacturing plants
  • Agricultural and environmental units

Pay Scale

An average biotechnology salary will vary because of the array of job titles included within the field. It will also depend on the location where a bio-technician is working, their level of experience and the organization they are working for. According to biotechnologycareer.net, the entry-level biotechnology jobs in the U.S. usually pay anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a year, with the highest-paying biotechnological companies offering the right applicant annual wages of over $100,000. Salary packages of bio-technicians also usually include excellent insurance and retirement packages. 

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected employment of biological scientists, who work largely for universities and government laboratories, to increase 21% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS noted that biotechnology in particular has driven research and development job growth.

Finally, if you have cherished a desire to treat complex diseases, support research, improve the quality of generic drugs and much more, then there is nothing more satisfactory and rewarding a career than to become a biotechnologist. And it is only your own determination that will keep you from taking research and thus you career to the next level.

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