Difference Between Biologist & Biotechnologist

May 30, 2020

Comparing Biologists to Biotechnologists

Biologists study life - humans, animals and all organisms in-between, as well as discovering their relationship to the environment. Biotechnologists are scientists who combine biology and technology to create new products to aid humanity. Below are facts about both of these life-based careers, as well as some job growth and salary information.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2020)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Biologists Bachelor's Degree $53,434 5% (zoologists and wildlife biologists)
Biotechnologists Doctorate $51,774 6% (biochemists and biophysicists)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Biologists vs. Biotechnologists

Biologists and biotechnologists are both biology-based in their study of various life forms on the planet. They look to see how the organisms they study get along with the environment and discover if they either thrive or fold. More specifically, biologists are general life scientists who study various life forms to find their secrets, while biotechnologists look to the studies to determine ways to use the information to improve crops, modify food sources or create cleaner energy.


Biologists are research scientists who normally specialize in specific life forms for study. They commonly work in the field collecting information to then return to their labs to study their findings. Biologists might specialize in wildlife or zoology, sea life, plants and other organisms. Their main goals are to discover as much about these life forms as possible and see how they coexist with their environment. They try and determine what may be affecting that existence and discover what humans can learn for themselves about our own future.

Job responsibilities of a biologist include:

  • Working with other biologists in various site studies
  • Investigating site material as well as laboratory data
  • Preparing presentations based on analyses
  • Creating budget requirements for certain studies


Biotechnologists are biologists with an expertise in technology. The earliest biotechnologists might have been people using fermentation to create beer. The synthesizing of insulin is definitely an early example of biotechnology. These scientists look to see how they can take the specific life studies they've observed and use them in combination with technology to create new products to enhance humanity. This might include creating new medications for patients, or cleaner burning fuels for automobiles. These biologists will commonly have an added background in chemistry, physics, agriculture or other scientific fields of study.

Job responsibilities of a biotechnologist include:

  • Consulting with scientific and/or medical experts
  • Streamlining the chemistry used in fuels
  • Creating greater crop yields
  • Reviewing findings of other scientists in their fields

Related Careers

People interested in biology to study various life forms might also find an interest in the related field of an environmental scientist, who use their knowledge to protect the planet and human health. Biotechnologists, who combine biology with technology to improve life for people, might consider work as microbiologists and study parasites, fungi, viruses and other bacterial microorganisms and their function in our environments.

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