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2021 Biotechnology Degree Guide

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.

Rapid Growth in Biotechnology Degrees Awarded

#171 Most Popular Major
3.6k Degrees Awarded
15.4% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, biotechnology was the 171st most popular major nationwide with 3,591 degrees awarded. This is a difference of 553 over the prior year, a growth of 15.4%.

Approximately 115 colleges in the U.S. offer a biotechnology degree of some kind. Explore this or one of our many other custom biotech rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Biotechnology

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.

Prior Education for a Biotech Program

biotechnology degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific biotech careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Biotechnology Degree Types

Biotech degree levels vary. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in biotechnology to something that takes less time like a associate's. Different biotechnology degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to biotech, with approximately 36.7% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for biotech workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.6%
Doctoral Degree 19.9%
Master’s Degree 18.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 17.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.4%

Most workers in biotech have at least a master's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in biotechnology careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the biotech career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Biotech Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$50.1k Average Starting Salary
12% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

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.

Solid Growth Projected for Biotech Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your biotech degree? Biotechnology careers are expected to grow 11.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to biotechnology.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Biological Science Professors 71,700 15.1%
Natural Sciences Managers 62,300 9.9%
Biological Scientists 41,800 8.0%

How Much Money Do People With a Biotech Degree Make?

Biotechnology graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $50,092 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $23,800 to as high as $73,200. As you might expect, salaries for biotech graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Biotech Careers

Salaries for biotechnology graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers biotech grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Natural Sciences Managers $139,680
Biological Science Professors $97,340
Biological Scientists $83,600

Getting Your Biotechnology Degree

With over 326 different biotech degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased biotech school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Biotechnology

One of 14 majors within the Biological & Biomedical Sciences area of study, Biotechnology has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
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

View All Biotech Related Majors >


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