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Biotechnology Major

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Biotechnology

1,469 Master's Degrees Annually
17 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#87 in Popularity (Master's)
$97,340 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Biotechnology Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many biotechnology graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 1,469
Graduate Certificate 65
Doctor’s Degree 17

What Biotechnology Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, biotech majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Biotech Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in biotech should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Biotech Majors

A major in biotech prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Abilities for Biotech Majors

A major in biotech will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Biotechnology Major?

People with a biotech degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Biological Science Professors 15.1% $82,550
Clinical Research Coordinators 9.9% $123,860
Molecular and Cellular Biologists 8.0% $79,590
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Water Resource Specialists 9.9% $123,860

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology?

1,469 Master's Degrees Annually
60% Percent Women
34% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major is dominated by women with about 60% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of biotech majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Biotech Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 189
Black or African American 135
Hispanic or Latino 143
White 498
International Students 390
Other Races/Ethnicities 114

Geographic Diversity

Biotech appeals to people across the globe. About 26.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • India
  • China
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal

How Much Do Biotechnology Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in biotech was $68,400 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $61,050 (25th percentile) and $72,450 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to biotech.

Salaries According to BLS

Biotech majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $83,600 to $139,680 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Biotechnology Major  ( 83600 to 139680 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with biotech require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for biotech careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.7%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.4%
Bachelor’s Degree 35.6%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.0%
Master’s Degree 18.8%
Doctoral Degree 19.9%
Post-Doctoral Training 17.0%

Online Biotechnology Programs

In 2018-2019, 243 schools offered a biotech program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 27 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 18 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 59 0
Bachelor’s Degree 20 4
Post-Baccalaureate 27 0
Master’s Degree 81 3
Post-Master’s 4 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 9 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Biotechnology Worth It?

The median salary for a biotech grad is $97,340 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 144% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,148,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to biotech.

Major Number of Grads
General Biology 98,638
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 14,004
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 9,504
Physiology & Pathology Sciences 7,844
Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology 6,987
Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences 5,671
Microbiological Sciences & Immunology 4,469
Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other) 3,646
Zoology 2,974
Biomathematics & Bioinformatics 2,404
Genetics 1,326
Pharmacology & Toxicology 1,148
Botany/Plant Biology 684
Molecular Medicine 71

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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