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What does a Biotechnologist do?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A biotechnologist is a trained scientist who applies his or her knowledge of living organisms to a variety of industries, especially manufacturing, medical, environmental and agricultural. Biotechnology involves modifying structures within single cells and can be used for both scientific research and product development. There are a vast array of job duties that someone who works in this field can perform, depending on the industry he or she works in.

Most biotechnologists usually have a postgraduate degree in biology, organic chemistry, or plant and animal sciences. They may also take coursework in business, since many careers in this discipline are in production fields. Many jobs in consulting or management require advanced degrees, although some research positions may only need undergraduate studies.

An entry level biotechnologist may typically work in a laboratory environment. He or she can assist a laboratory technician and perform research, record findings and analyze results. Entry level positions are also generally responsible for properly using and cleaning laboratory instruments.

Since this field can be applied to various industries, biotechnologists generally specialize in a particular area. One of the most common is in product development and manufacturing. A specialist may use his or her knowledge of microorganisms to make processed food or household products. Many of the additives and preservatives in processed foods are developed by people in this discipline. The discoveries of biotechnologists have produced food items such as yeast, canola oil and soybean products.

The medical industry also uses biotechnology. A biotechnologist who works in the medical field may perform research to discover cures for diseases. He or she can use those findings to help develop drugs or other treatments for pharmaceutical companies.

Someone who works in agriculture may specialize in plant- and animal-related research. He or she will usually research the effects of pesticides and develop alternative ingredients. Some genetically engineer fruits and vegetables to make hybrid produce, such as seedless apples.

A biotechnologist can advance beyond performing research and developing products and methods. He or she may work as a investigator and ensure companies are following safety and health regulations. Experienced professionals can become directors to oversee research teams and work directly with the heads of companies.

Although many modern biotechnologists use their educations to work in industry, others still practice careers in academia. Scientists may be awarded grant money to pursue independent research and publish his or her findings in scientific journals. Other academics work as college professors and advise students, as well as oversee research programs.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke , Former Writer
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By anon968396 — On Sep 03, 2014

I am so happy that I read this information about biotechnology. I so needed this in order to know what is expected from me in order to achieve my dream career.

By anon309114 — On Dec 14, 2012

I really enjoyed reading this. I wish I could be a biotechnologist, and help all those people who need help.

By MsLiza — On Apr 09, 2011

There are so many industries you can work in with a biotechnology degree. A biotechnologist job may include working with manufacturing technologies or in a medical role studying synthetic biology, systems biology, and/or immunology.

By anon87515 — On May 30, 2010

i heard these are applied level careers. is it true and how much do you make in a year? i am very interested in working in crime labs or in hospitals.

Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke

Former Writer

Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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