Where Technology and Biology Intersect: Biotechnology Degree

Biotechnology is the study of technology based on biology. This is especially pertinent to agriculture, food science and medicine. Earning a degree in biotechnology is a great way to start a career in genetic engineering and bioengineering. Sign up for online classes in biotechnology and start furthering your education in this exciting field of science.

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Biotechnology Degree Information

Those with biotechnology degrees command a great deal of scientific research funding, as the ability to create new and more productive food sources is always in demand. While biology degrees tend to be more theoretical, biotechnology degree programs teach the application of biological science to address some of the world's biggest health and survival concerns. Biotechnology opens up a nearly limitless array of career paths for those who successfully complete the degree requirements.

Study Options

Those wishing to get started down a biotechnology career path without any prior biology or biotechnology experience may want to consider pursuing a biotechnology certificate degree program. These certificates can be obtained through continuing education distance learning programs and can be achieved in a relatively short time. When earned through an accredited program, these certificates may be sufficient for the holder to earn a job as a laboratory or research technician. Those with higher aspirations in biotechnology may consider an associate's degree that will provide additional research skills and technical knowledge.

Advanced Degrees

Those who want to explore the full range of biotechnology options will need to start by earning a bachelor's degree in biotechnology. These programs offer courses in basic aspects of biotechnology such as general concepts in biotechnology, food biotechnology, basic manufacturing concepts and drug development.

Master of Science

Master of Science degrees in biotechnology will vary according to which area of biotechnology you wish to study. Some may choose a Master of Science in Biotechnology Studies, which focuses on the management and the practical functionality of specific technologies in the biotechnology industry. Others may pursue a Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics, which uses computational methods to solve biological problems.

Further Education

There are many areas in biotechnology that require intensive study. Experts in these sub-disciplines of biotechnology are often in great demand in their specific fields. These disciplines include red biotechnology, the application of biotechnology techniques to medicine, green biotechnology, the application of these techniques to agriculture, white biotechnology, which applies biotechnology specifically to industrial processes and blue biotechnology, which brings biotechnology to the marine world.

Choosing a Degree

Those who took to biology in high school may be particularly well suited for a degree in biotechnology. Students who are interested in applying the concepts and theories touched upon in biology to real world situations will often find what they are looking for in biotechnology. Biotechnology offers science students to get their hands dirty, to really use biological knowledge to manipulate the environment for the better.

Career Opportunities

People with degrees in biotechnology can find career opportunities in pharmaceutical formulation, as bio-organic chemists and as university professors. They can apply their skills in the agriculture industry, the military, in genetic laboratories and in hospitals. Opportunities for biotechnology experts are virtually limitless.

Earning Potential

There is a wide range of biotechnology related careers so it is hard to pin down a specific salary range for anyone with a biotechnology degree. However, a bio-informatician can make $60,000-$90,000 a year. An entry-level bio-statistician with a master's degree can make around $74,000 and a geneticist working for the U.S. Government can make $68,000 or more. In addition, bio-technologists working on private research may be able to obtain considerable funding grants if they can show the potential long-term benefits to society of their work.

Getting Your Degree Online

There are a number of accredited online universities that allow students to get a top biotechnology education online. Distance learning programs confer certificates, associate's degrees and even bachelor's and master's degrees online. As long as these distance learning programs are properly accredited, the right degree or certificate can be sufficient for a basic career in biotechnology. For those who do not have the time or inclination to attend a brick-and-mortar university, an online biotechnology degree is idea. You can log on to classes from your home computer and attend in the time you have available. You can work at your own pace and in your own style. Professors are usually available to contact by instant message or email to help you with any problems you might have over your course of study.

Getting Your Degree Offline

You may decide that you prefer to get their biotechnology degree at a physical college or university. Make sure that the college or university you choose actually has a biotechnology program. Many schools offer biology degrees, but not biotechnology. The biology degree course of study may include biotechnology, but to have your best chance at getting the career in biotechnology you really want, you should specifically seek out a biotechnology degree. Studying biotechnology and a brick-and-mortar institution can be appealing due to the research-intensive nature of the discipline. Students at traditional universities may have fresh and exciting fieldwork opportunities in biotechnology, although this will be dependent on the particular institution where the degree or certificate candidate chooses to study.

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Biotechnology Degree FAQs

Do I Need a Degree to Work in Biotechnology?

Due to the sensitive nature of working with chemicals and organisms, you will absolutely need at least a bachelor's degree to find a job in biotechnology. Biotechnology has created research opportunities in nearly every area of biology, so if you cannot find biotechnology as a major, considering a four-year degree program in biology. A master's degree is preferable for high-level research and laboratory work, while a doctoral degree is even better.

What Are the Requirements for Acceptance Into a Biotechnology Degree Program?

Colleges and universities, online or otherwise, require a high school diploma or equivalent. If you are applying to a graduate degree program in biotechnology, you will need a high GPA, along with proof of previous experience working in labs and researching biotechnology subjects. Direct any questions or concerns about admissions to the school's admissions office.

What Topics Are Covered in Biotechnology Degree Programs?

Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary subject that covers topics such as biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, embryology, chemical engineering and robotics. Most of the classes you will take as a biotechnology major will involve laboratory work, along with analyzing biological research.

What Kind of Careers Are Available in Biotechnology?

Since biotechnology affects so many aspects of biology, there are many career possibilities within this branch of study. Biological scientists, biochemist, biophysicist, microbiologist, biological engineer, pharmacologist, genetic engineer and food scientist are just some of the job titles you could have with a degree in biotechnology.

What Is Required of Someone Who Works in Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is mathematics and science driven, which means you need top marks and a genuine interest in these subjects to succeed. This kind of career also calls for someone who has superb research skills, as well as the ability to work alone or in a team and great attention to detail.

What Salary Can I Expect From a Career in Biotechnology?

Generally, the average salary for someone working in the biotechnology sector is likely to make between $75,000 and $100,000 annually.

Biotechnology Student Guide

Biotechnology is the science of modifying organisms in order to improve their functions for society, such as finding ways to increase the production of crops or livestock or making food more easily digestible or modifying it to increase health benefits. Bioengineers are involved the science of genetically modifying plants and animals for better human consumption.

Biotechnology Books

Biotechnology is a heavy research-intensive field, meaning much that the biotechnology student is learning will take place off the printed page. That being said, there should be a few biotechnology texts available through your university's biotechnology program. Those looking to do complementary or independent study in biotechnology may wish to examine Biotechnology: An Introduction by Susan R. Barnum, &Introduction to Biotechnology by William J. Thieman and Michael A. Palladino or Basic Biotechnology by Colin Ratledge and Bjorn Kristiansen. You can also find biotechnology books at the NBCI Bookshelf (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=books).

Biotechnology Articles And Databases

Research is what biotechnology is all about, and new experiments and theories in biotechnology and bioengineering are appearing every day. You will not be able to do effective biotechnology research unless you are well grounded in the kind of studies that have come before. You can find many of the articles you may need online at the PubMed Central (PMC) database (PubMedCentral.nih.gov/).

Biotechnology Online Journals

Most of the top biotechnology articles will be found in leading biotechnology journals. Search for biotechnology journals using the NCBI Journals Database (Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=journals). Some key biotechnology journals include Biotechnology, Advances in Biotechnological Processes, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, American Biotechnology Laboratory and Animal Biotechnology.

Other Biotechnology Research Tools

The National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is an ideal source for biotechnology research. A division of the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, the NCBI provides access to a variety of biological and biotechnological databases, journals and literature as well as an expansive list of additional resources.

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