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What Is the Employment Outlook for Biotech Careers?

The employment outlook for biotech careers will see average growth over the next decade. Most employment is driven by research funds. Read on to learn more about the future of employment in the biotech field.

Overview

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) anticipates high competition for jobs for biotechnological scientists. Although there was recent rapid expansion in research funding, moderate growth in these grants is expected to drive the employment growth over the next decade.

Important Facts about Biotech Careers

Required Education Biochemists and biophysicists typically hold a Ph.D. in biochemistry or a related field; biomedical engineers and biological technicians may hold bachelor's degrees
Work Environment Many biotech scientists work in research and development for biotech firms, at colleges and universities, or in medical or chemical manufacturing
Median Salary (2018) $44,500 (for all biological technicians)
Related Occupations Medical scientists, agricultural and food scientists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Change

Over the 2016-2026 decade, employment for biological technicians in general is expected to grow 10%, which is faster than the average predicted for all occupations. Job opportunities for biochemists and biophysicists, in particular, will grow by about 11% during the decade, but because these job titles are highly specialized, the above-average growth will still result in the creation of only about 3,600 new jobs from 2016-2026. Growth is driven primarily by federal government funds for basic research and development. This makes winning and renewing research grants highly competitive.

Job Prospects

Many biotech firms have been absorbed by larger biotech companies and pharmaceutical firms, the BLS reports. Continued work on chronic and developing diseases drives the need for biotech scientists. The aging baby-boomer population is also increasing demand for new biomedical advances. Outside of the medical field, biotech scientists may now find new job opportunities in agriculture and in the energy industry, improving crop yields through genetic engineering and researching and developing biofuels.