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Biotech Jobs >> Biotech Articles >> BioTech Career Feature >> How to Become a Biotechnologist
  • BioTech Career Feature

How to Become a Biotechnologist


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If you want to become a biotechnologist, then you're in good company and you have plenty of good reasons to want to go into the field of biotechnology, one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving scientific disciplines. Biotech jobs include research into genetic mapping, diseases, and even novel energy research. It is a discipline that reaches into the worlds of pharmaceuticals, ecology, and even such things as building materials. A career in biotechnology is one of the best ways to be on the edge of the discoveries that will change lives well into the next century.

The road to your choice of great biotech jobs is a long one, but the journey is well worth it for those who get to participate in exciting new research. If you are still in high school, make sure that you prepare for college with a good grounding in biology, chemistry, and physics. If you have access to classes that go even further into the world of biotechnology, into fields such as biomedicine, botany, or genetics, then take advantage of them because they will prepare you even better for the college courses you will take.

Some universities hold workshops for primary and high school students that expose them to some of the latest biotechnological research. It is worth checking with local colleges, universities, and community colleges to see if any enrichment programs are available. If so, they will teach you about some of the real work going on in the biotech jobs sector today. The same goes for summer enrichment programs. These are great ways for students to learn a little about the kind of research they may do someday.

Keep up with current research in the biotechnology field with subscriptions to scientific magazines and news alerts for online stories in an area you are particularly interested in. And read voraciously. Satisfy your curiosity about the field of biotechnology and note any themes that occur over and over again. It may be indicative of an area in which you want to specialize later.

Biotechnology research has made near-miraculous breakthroughs in recent years, from vaccines to therapies for many types of cancer, HIV, and autoimmune diseases. The Biotechnology Industry Organization estimates that at least 400 drugs and vaccines are in clinical trials right now, targeting over 200 different diseases. Of course, not many people know what they want to specialize in right out of high school, but when it's time to apply to college, you may know enough to be able to work with your college adviser to outline a program of study or choose a major.

The Biotechnology Degree Guide is an online publication that can help you narrow down your choice of college or university in the U.S. to those that match your biotechnology interests. Online research is a great way to learn about what biotech research is going on where. Top universities for biotech research include the University of Florida, Stanford, Caltech, Johns Hopkins, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Texas, and Harvard University.

During your college career, don't neglect your extracurricular reading in the field of biotechnology. This way you can learn which companies and institutions are doing research that interests you. Some good online sources of information include MedPage Today, GeneRef, Pharma Industry News, and Biotech Industry News.

When you graduate with a four year degree, you may have to attend graduate school to earn a master's or doctorate degree to be able to pursue the type of work you want to do. In some cases you may have to start as a post-doctoral research assistant, or you may take a faculty position at a university or college and pursue your research from there. Competition for research dollars is intense in the field of biotechnology. While the field continues to make enormous strides in finding applications for biotechnology breakthroughs, much of it is done on the backs of researchers and research assistants who are willing to put in a lot of long hours on sometimes limited research dollars.

Becoming a biotechnologist is not easy, but if biotech jobs are where your interests lie, then you owe it to yourself to do your best to become a part of this exciting branch of scientific research.


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