Biotechnologist

Experiment with organisms to come up with medicines and other products.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Biotechnologists do?

While some people marvel at how perfect a strawberry looks, smells, and tastes, a Biotechnologist might remain convinced that it could be made even better, with just a few modifications. A Biotechnologist puts these ideas to work in a laboratory, and conducts experiments on living organisms to create innovative medicines, foods, and plant and animal products.

On a typical workday as a Biotechnologist, you set up the equipment for your experiments and make sure it’s working properly. You then begin your experiments, while keeping detailed notes about the steps you take and what you observe at the end of each step.

For example, you might spin cells in a centrifuge, trying to break them down and extracting genetic information. You do the same with another set of cells from a different organism. Then you splice the genetic information from the two cell types together, and try to grow an entirely new cell type.

Experiments can take months or years to complete, and each step must be handled with extreme care. You’ll resist coming into the lab in the middle of the night and on the weekends, even though you’ll be tempted to check on your experiments.

You may develop medications to treat diseases such as cancer or heart problems. You may also create products such as foods that don’t rot quickly even when they’re not refrigerated. While you may be proud of your work, some people may think you’re a mad Scientist or Dr. Frankenstein reincarnated. You’ll be careful to keep your research to yourself when you spend time with these people.


Should I be a Biotechnologist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Resource Biologist, Resource Biologist-Fisheries

    How to become a Biotechnologist

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