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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

Biotech majors often go into careers in which the following 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

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to biotech:

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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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a biotech student include the following:

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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*
The major attracts more women than men. About 60% of the recent graduates in this field are 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

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Biotech. 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

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that biotechnology students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree 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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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in biotech, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

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 you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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 degrees associated with biotech may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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