Master’s in Biotechnology Career Guide

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Program?

With an online master’s degree in biotechnology, you get the same
level of professional education as with in-person classes on a college
or university campus. Students pursuing an online master’s degree in
biotechnology while simultaneously working in the field can work around
their schedules by completing coursework at night, on weekends or during
breaks from their work schedules. The flexible scheduling makes it easy
to complete the courses that can bolster your career and open up new
opportunities. Before choosing an online master’s program, consider
various options to find the online degree that suits your schedule,
interests and career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Biotechnology

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Bioinformatics Combines courses in biology, mathematics and computing. Students graduating with this specialty are adept at analyzing large data sets, such as genomic data or protein folding, to make biological discoveries and develop disease treatments. Bioinformatics specialist in an academic or industry lab
Biotechnology Management Trains students to run a laboratory as a business, including how to evaluate the business prospects of new biological discoveries and how to launch a biotechnology start-up. Biotechnology entrepreneur, manager in a biotechnology lab
Biotechnology Research Focuses on scientific discovery. This can include drug discovery, the mechanisms behind disease and specific techniques used in lab settings. Biotechnology research associate in an academic or commercial lab, drug discovery specialist at a pharmaceutical company
Biosecurity Centers on detecting, analyzing and developing countermeasures to biological threats. Biosecurity specialist for private ventures, biosecurity and biodefense specialist for the government
Regulatory Affairs in Biotechnology Equips students with the skills to navigate regulations around new biological discoveries and technologies. Classes include coursework in business, government policy and molecular biology. Government regulatory agency representative, biotechnology regulation specialist for a public or private institution or company

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Biotechnology

Each school and each specialty requires different coursework for a
master’s degree in biotechnology. Students pursuing this degree should
consider their own career goals and objectives to find a curriculum that
provides the required education and skills. Some examples of courses
you might find in a master’s of biotechnology program include:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Biotechnology Techniques Learn the common techniques used in biotechnology labs, including high-throughput techniques, therapeutic uses of biotechnology and emerging technologies in biology.
Bioinformatics Analyze and interpret biological data. This course covers DNA and RNA sequence analysis, DNA computing and mathematical models applicable to biology.
Biotechnology Regulation Explore the role of regulation in the commercialization of biological knowledge, including how different departments of the U.S. government regulate biotechnological research.
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism Covers the history and science of biological agents in warfare, defensive strategy and society. You’ll learn about public health responses to biological agents, surveillance and detection of potential issues and the government’s role in monitoring and responding to biosecurity issues.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Biotechnology?

Several factors impact how long it takes to earn an online master’s
degree in real estate. One of the biggest impacts is whether you attend
classes full-time or part-time. The format of your program also affects
the time it takes to finish. Programs that utilize a cohort learning
model, also called synchronous programs, require you log in and take
classes at a preset time. Asynchronous programs are self-paced and allow
you do your work on your own schedule. These programs can be completed
more quickly, if you’re so motivated, or can take much longer if you
have time constraints. Online master’s in real estate programs require
anywhere from 30 to 60 credit hours to complete your degree and usually
take between 18 months and three years to finish.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Prepares For

Someone with a master’s in biotechnology can apply for certification in various subfields through the Center for Professional Innovation and Education.
Some specific professional certifications available through CfPIE
include biopharmaceutical development and global regulatory affairs.
Professional certification through CfPIE is typically not required for
specific jobs but could be used to show competency in specific areas.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Biotechnology

Accreditation for master’s degrees in biotechnology is granted by six regional organizations, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Students considering a program should first verify that the program is
accredited. Participation in an accredited program lets you transfer
credits between programs and serves as an indicator to employers that
the program met specific education standards.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Biotechnology Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

In general, a biotechnology degree opens doors to a wide range of job
opportunities, and the field is considered to be growing at a healthy
rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the job market for
biochemists and biophysicists is expected to grow 11 percent between
2016 and 2026, a rate higher than the national average for all jobs.

A master’s degree in biotechnology can open up more career
opportunities than a bachelor’s degree alone. Some positions require a
master’s degree or higher, while other positions are open to candidates
with either a BS or MS but offer a higher wage for MS candidates. The
specialization you choose for your master’s degree can also influence
your available job opportunities, since specific experience and
education in topics such as bioinformatics or biosecurity may be
unavailable at the BS level.

Expected Salary

In addition to offering more opportunities to find a job in
biotechnology, having a master’s degree can also increase your expected
salary. Some salary ranges for jobs you might get with a MS in
biotechnology are listed in the table below. The higher end of the range
is typically reserved for individuals with a master’s degree or higher,
while the lower end of the range is more typical for those with just a
bachelor’s degree. You can see how the earning potential increases
significantly with a professional degree.

Job Title Salary Range
Biochemist/Biophysicist $48,410–$177,840
Biomedical Engineer $52,070–$142,610
Natural Sciences Manager $62,080–$208,000
Agricultural or Food Scientist $37,890–$116,520
Research Scientist $45,120–$160,520

The average salary for someone with a master’s in biotechnology tends to be higher than averages for related bachelor’s degrees, but where you choose to live and work can also impact your overall salary. The chart below lists some average salary levels for someone with a degree in biotechnology in specific areas of the U.S.

Career Opportunities

The higher earning potential you get from an online master’s degree
in biotechnology isn’t the only benefit. That higher salary might also
come with more autonomy in terms of the projects you work on and could
let you develop your own projects or set your own hours. There are a
wide range of career opportunities for those with a master’s degree in
biotechnology, including those listed below.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Biochemist/Biophysicist Biochemists and biophysicists work in laboratories, either in an academic or industrial setting. They complete basic and applied research, and they use complex techniques and cutting-edge technology to study biological systems. $91,190 per year 11%
Agricultural or Food Scientist Agricultural and food scientists research ways to make food systems safer and more efficient. Biosafety experts in this job might focus on ways to protect the food supply, while regulatory experts may focus on bringing new genetically modified crops to market. $62,910 per year 7%
Natural Science Manager Natural science managers oversee the business aspects of a laboratory. They supervise scientists, oversee testing and production of biological materials and coordinate with regulatory organizations. $118,970 per year 10%

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations can help you develop connections in the
field and stay up-to-date on what’s new in your industry. Here are some
of the top professional organizations for individuals with a master’s
degree in biotechnology.

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering:
AIMBE provides education and resources for individuals in the field of
biological and medical engineering. The AIMBE hosts workshops and
advocates for public policies supporting biological engineering.

Biotechnology Innovation Organization:
BIO offers conferences and skill training workshops to help you improve
your skills in the field. The organization also does advocacy work on
behalf of the industry and patients affected by biotechnology concerns.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Biotechnology

An online master’s degree in biotechnology is typically less
expensive than a comparable on-campus program. Financial aid may be
available for students who need help affording a course of study.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the
first step to getting financial help for an online master’s degree.
Scholarships and grants from private organizations or nonprofit sources
can also help make your degree more affordable. The resources below can
help you get started.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

National Space Club Keynote Scholarships

Award: $10,000

Deadline: December

Eligibility: Undergraduate or graduate students who intend to pursue a career in the STEM fields.

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Award: $44,000

Deadline: October

Eligibility: Students pursuing research-based masters or doctoral degrees.

Out To Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ+STEM Students

Award: $5,000

Deadline: June

Eligibility: Students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or an active ally of the LGBTQ+ community who are pursuing a STEM undergraduate or graduate degree.