Biotechnology combines life sciences and technology for a variety of applications. According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, “At its simplest, biotechnology is technology based on biology -- biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet.” The salary range for a career in biotechnology depends on the educational path an individual chooses.
Research technicians, also referred to as research or laboratory assistants, assist biotechnology scientists perform testing and research in a laboratory environment. These professionals also perform administrative responsibilities such as creating and maintaining reports, ordering laboratory supplies and maintaining equipment. Most employers require at least an associate’s degree in biotechnology. In April 2011, PayScale estimated salaries ranging from $28,660 to $39,756 per year for this occupation.
A biotechnology research associate travels to sites to monitor biotechnology research and trials and ensure adherence to government regulations. This occupation requires a bachelor’s degree in life sciences, biology or a discipline related to biotechnology. PayScale reported average salaries ranging from $39,293 to $61,157 per year for biotechnology research associates in April 2011.
Biotechnology research scientists perform scientific studies and research related to biotechnology. These professionals can specialize in areas such as chemistry, biology, genetics or a related discipline. Although the minimum educational requirement for biotechnology scientists is a bachelor’s degree, employers prefer a master’s or doctorate degree. In April 2011, PayScale estimated average salaries ranging from $54,879 to $92,912 per year for this occupation.
Some biotechnology careers apply the principles of engineering and science to use biotechnology to improve manufacturing processes, develop medical instruments, prosthetics and artificial organs. These professionals are referred to as biomedical engineers. This occupation typically requires a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. In May 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a median salary of $78,860 per year for biomedical engineers. The 25th percentile earned $60,980 per year and the 75th percentile earned $100,890 per year.