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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

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to biotech and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Biotech Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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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

As you progress with your biotech degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with biotech:

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

Students from other countries are interested in Biotech, too. 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 U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in biotechnology made a median starting salary of $68,400 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $61,050 (25th percentile) and $72,450 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a biotech degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $83,600 to $139,680 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to biotech. 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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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

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.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to biotech have obtained the following education levels.

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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 8,410
Ecology, Evolution & Systematics Biology 3,098
Physiology & Pathology Sciences 2,214
Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology 2,071
Biomathematics & Bioinformatics 1,894
Biological & Biomedical Sciences (Other) 1,888
Cell Biology & Anatomical Sciences 1,488
Microbiological Sciences & Immunology 1,211
Neurobiology & Neurosciences 1,120
Pharmacology & Toxicology 931
Genetics 637
Zoology 514
Botany/Plant Biology 407
Molecular Medicine 71

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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