Biotechnology Overview

Biotechnology is a mix between biology, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and engineering. This fun and interesting major allows you to "tinker" with living organisms (in a good way, not a mad scientist kind of way). You'll be able to use what you've learned from your classes to create better and more advanced products like growth hormones, vaccines, and medicines.

Some of the classes you will take include: biochemistry, biology, cell biology, evolution, botany, genetics, immunology, zoology, virology, organic chemistry, microbiology, entomology, human heredity, and plant pathology. This mix of diverse classes will teach you how to analyze everything from a human heart to a blade of grass. This major is relatively new and constantly changing in order to keep up with technological advancements. You will learn how to exploit and alter genes and genetic processes. This major is made for the curious student who wants to know the makeup of every living thing.

Required Skills

Curiosity is the most important personality trait you should have. A desire to know and understand the way living things grow, adapt and survive will help you tremendously in this major. You will be taking classes in a broad variety of disciplines. Attending lectures will teach you theories that you will be able to practice in the lab, and then apply to real-life scenarios in your future career. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time in the lab performing research, doing experiments and recording your findings.

A love for technology will also help you succeed. You will be confronted with new technology constantly in this major, as well as your future career. Constant learning and adaptation will allow you to keep up with the changes.

Although this major requires independent thought and research, you will also be taught to work with others through group projects. Work on your communication skills in order to collaborate with lab partners and peers. You may also have the opportunity to work with a professor or advisor to complete an independent research project. Learn to communicate professionally and clearly both orally and in writing.


This cutting edge major will prepare you for a variety of career fields. Many students go into graduate studies in scientific or medical fields. However, Biotechnology majors can also easily find work as a researcher for an environmental, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural or genetic industry.

Graduates also find work as biologists, ecologists, environmental scientists, pharmaceutical sales representatives or marketing specialists, quality control analysts and crime lab technicians. This major is very broad allowing you to work in the area that interests you the most.

Graduates with a degree in Biotechnology average $37,133 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $73,804.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Biotechnology might open up.

Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
Biological Scientists, All Other
Natural Sciences Managers
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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