Biotechnology education can open doors to virtually limitless career opportunities and pathways. In addition to traditional lab-based roles in various research areas, students will also find other career pathways they can design to match their individual educational background, interests, and talents.
InnovATEBIO partnered with the Bio-Rad Explorer program to develop this poster to showcase the breadth and depth of career opportunities that are possible for students with a life science or biotechnology background.
Agricultural science technicians typically develop and follow protocols to store crop and animal samples, operate farm equipment and maintain agricultural production areas to conform to scientific testing parameters, examine animals and other specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems and ensure that they meet safety standards, and measure ingredients used in testing of animal feed and for other purposes.
Bioethicists act as advisors to research, medical, or government organizations regarding the moral and ethical implications of scientific procedures and practices. The commercialization of novel technologies for gene editing, for example, involve the work of bioethicists to help guide the potential applications of these technologies.
Biofuel technicians and engineers apply biotechnology techniques to the identification, manufacture, purification, and assessment of enzymes involved in biofuel production. These enzymes can be extracted from their natural resources or genetically engineered into microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast for mass production. Biofuel engineers also work to characterize and enhance the properties of these enzymes to make them more efficient.
Biomaterials engineer develop systems that use living organisms for therapeutic or diagnostic procedures, for example to manipulate immune cells, to deliver drugs in novel ways, or to create complex tissue microstructures, such as vascular grafts, artificial joints, or even contact lenses. Together these products are also called biomedical devices.
In Synthetic Biology, biomaterials are being developed as replacements in products that traditionally relied on petroleum processing and other environmentally unfriendly methods.
Cell culture technicians grow living cells in culture flasks, bioreactors, plates and other kinds of containers. The types of cells they grow can come from plants or animals. Sometimes cell culture technicians start cultures directly from tissues such as umbilical cords or tumor biopsies. Immunotherapies, like CAR-T, are increasing demand.
Students who are interested in combining their biotechnology education with their passion and skill for writing can find employment as a developmental, technical, or copy editor or writer — for a biotechnology company, for an academic institution or publisher, or as a freelancer. Editors often have the flexibility to work can work full- or part-time, on-site or from home.
Financial analysts guide investment decisions by companies, organizations, and individuals by producing financial reports and making recommendations. Some financial analysts develop expertise in a narrow category of industry, such as biotechnology or pharmaceutical stocks, for example.
Forensic science technicians work in criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. Forensic science technicians specializing in laboratory-based evidence analysis perform chemical, biological, and microscopic analyses on evidence taken from crime scenes.
Genetic counselors have advanced training in both medical genetics and counseling, and they interpret genetic test results and guide and support patients seeking more information about genetic diseases.
Genomics technicians use a range of technologies related to determining and comparing DNA and RNA sequences. They isolate RNA and DNA from samples. They construct libraries, perform quality control, carry out titrations, and work with a variety of microarray, PCR, and DNA sequencing technologies.
Biomedical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, publishing, and many other industries rely on talented graphic artists to convey their messages through images on brochures, in technical documents, and on websites. Designers who have a scientific background are sought after because they understand how to convey complex biological structures, pathways, and concepts through art.
From contributing to biomedical breakthroughs to helping to save endangered species, laboratory technicians can work in a wide range of research areas and environments. With a biotechnology certificate, a student can work as an assistant in a research laboratory at a university, for example, or in an entry-level position at a biotechnology company. With additional experience or education, the opportunities to conduct research expand to include conducting experiments and managing projects.
A large selection of roles and research areas are described in more detail on Biotech Careers.
Marketing Specialists help companies understand their target market and drive the development and sales of products that meet market needs. Within biotechnology-related industries, a science background is almost always required in order for Marketing Specialists to know how to speak and appeal to their customers and also to understand the products and how they fit current and future market needs.
Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition, and they advise people on what to eat in order to stay healthy or to achieve a specific health-related goal. Like editors, nutritionists can find work in many settings, including hospitals, cafeterias, nursing homes, and schools, or they can be self-employed and consult with clients on an individual basis.
Over 6,000 years ago, as one of the first examples of biotechnology, the Sumerians discovered that yeast could be applied to grain to ferment and produce beer. More recently, biotechnology has been applied to help develop different characteristics in wine and beer as well as to help prevent diseases that affect grapes and other crops. Students who have a biotechnology background and a passion for wine or beer can work within these industries at multiple levels, from laboratory technician to winemaker or production supervisor.