Biotechnologists use plants, animals, microbes, biochemistry and genetics to develop new products and improve existing ones.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

Future employment

There will be 3% more Biotechnologist jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You’ll work in environmental, industrial or medical biotechnology.

In environmental biotechnology, your duties may include:

  • developing micro-organisms and plants to clean polluted land or water
  • creating alternative renewable sources of energy, like biodiesel
  • producing environmentally friendly raw materials for industry, like biodegradable plastics from plant starches

In industrial biotechnology, your duties may include:

  • cloning and producing enzymes for use in manufacturing food and drink
  • creating biological detergents and dyes for the textiles industry
  • improving animal feed
  • developing crops that are more resistant to pests
  • genetically modifying crops to increase productivity

In medical biotechnology and biotherapeutics, your duties may include:

  • studying human genetics, proteins, antibodies, viruses, plants, fungi and bacteria to research and treat diseases like cancer
  • developing therapies, vaccines and hormones to treat the cause of a disease 
  • producing medicines using techniques like cell culture and genetic modification

You’ll need a degree in a relevant scientific subject, like:

  • biochemistry
  • bioscience
  • biotechnology
  • chemistry or chemical engineering
  • microbiology

Employers may expect you to have some knowledge of the specific area of biotechnology you want to go into, like the food and drink industry. 

For a research post you’ll usually need a postgraduate qualification and several years' experience in the field. 

You could start as a technician if you have an HND or foundation degree, and work your way up.

You could also move into biotechnology if you’ve a background in a related field like chemical engineering.

Future Morph has more information about becoming a biotechnologist.

£19,000 to £60,000

Starter salary: £19,000 to £24,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £50,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours a week, including shifts, nights and weekends.

You’ll mainly work in a laboratory, often in sterile conditions. 

You’ll usually wear protective clothing like a lab coat and safety glasses.

With experience, you could move into scientific journalism, quality assurance management, sales or marketing.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • problem-solving skills
  • a methodical approach to work
  • a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to analyse statistical and technical data
  • IT skills
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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