Picking a Career in Biotechnology

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If you find yourself drawn to the science field and you enjoy technology as well, you may be interested in a career in biotechnology. This field is amazingly diverse, and there are a variety of different career opportunities that you can choose from. Before you decide that you really do want a career in biotechnology, however, you may want to learn more about the field, both in terms of what it has to offer you and what the requirements are.

Various Career Options

Within the biotechnology field there are a myriad of career options for you to consider. You may want a career as a biological scientist doing experiments and conducting in-depth research. Another career you may want to consider within the field is working as a medical scientist. In such a position, you would use biotechnology to make new medical discoveries and learn more about the body, diseases, and even possible cures. Food scientist and agricultural scientist are two other biotechnology careers that you might consider, particularly if you enjoy working with food or agriculture.

Becoming a chemist is another option in this field, and pharmacists are also considered to be a part of the biotechnology fold. As a pharmacist, you would deal with medications — controlling them, filling prescription requests, and potentially even working on the development of new drugs. Some other professions within this field include biotechnology engineer, science technician, and management analyst.

Education Required

While the educational backgrounds required for work in the biotechnology field are quite varied depending on the particular job, most of the potential positions will require that you have a Ph.D. in your field. Some basic jobs that include teaching or more simple research may only require that you have a master's degree. And, some companies will even hire those who only have a bachelor's degree for positions that don’t involve any amount of research. If you are considering a career in biotechnology, you will want to make sure that you take classes in mathematics, biology, and chemistry as well, since each of these types of classes will be very important in your work. Some of the aforementioned careers may also require that you pass certain state certification tests.

Biotechnology Salaries

Just as the education required is quite diverse, the amount of money that can be made in this field varies greatly and is largely dependent upon the specific career. As a general rule, pharmacists can earn between $60,000 and $100,000 each year, depending on their experience and where they work. Biological scientists usually will make between $40,000 and $110,000, with most making around $65,000 a year. If you decide to become a medical scientist, you will probably start out making about $35,000, but with more experience you can expect to make between $45,000 and $75,000. Those who are employed as chemists will generally make between $40,000 and $90,00 annually.

Great Employment Opportunities

After you get the needed education for your field, you will no doubt be looking for quality employers. When you are looking for a job, you want to make sure that you find companies that will offer you competitive wages as well as great benefits. There are a variety of companies to choose from, and your choice of company can have a great deal of impact on your career. If you are looking for a biotechnology job in the United States, some of the best companies to work for include Merck, ICON Clinical Research, and PharmAscent. For those who live in Canada or want to work in Canada, some great companies to consider working for include Patheon Inc., Ventana Clinical Research Corporation, Labopharm Inc., and Axela Biosensors Inc. Once you find a great company to work for, you can focus on advancing in your chosen career in the biotechnology field.
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