Students interested in biotechnology can pursue bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in the field. Students in these programs participate in classroom and laboratory instruction while learning research methods. Some degree programs allow students to choose a specialty field, such as food science, industrial or environmental biotechnology. Applicants to a bachelor's program typically need a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology
Biotechnology is used in several industries, such as agriculture and medicine. In this degree program, students learn the most current scientific methods to research engineering principles that relate to the life sciences. The curricula for biotechnology bachelor's degree programs are grounded in math and sciences. Common coursework may include:
- Organic chemistry
- Cells and molecular biology
- Plant and animal tissues
Job Outlook and Salary Information
Individuals can choose to continue their studies in graduate programs or start their careers by working in various biotechnology fields, such as pharmaceutical development, agriculture or microbiology. Potential job titles include:
- Research associate
- Plant breeder
- Food technologist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of biological technicians is anticipated to grow by 5% during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). Agricultural and food science technicians should also see an increase of 5% in the same time period. In 2015, the BLS estimated that biological and food science technicians received annual median salaries of $41,650 and $36,480, respectively.
Continuing Education Information
A bachelor's degree in biotechnology provides a good foundation for students wanting to enter medical school or a veterinary medicine program. Alternatively, master's and doctoral degrees in biotechnology are also available for individuals wanting to pursue advanced positions, teach or conduct independent research. Curricula in both degree programs often allow students to concentrate on a chosen specialty. In doctoral programs, students conduct original research and conclude their findings in a dissertation.
In biotechnology bachelor's programs, students gain advanced knowledge in the life sciences and the current technologies used to re-purpose living things for society's benefit. Students are prepared for graduate-level studies or research and technician jobs.