Biotechnology Categories, Applications, and Jobs

Biotechnology uses biological organisms like plants and animals to help develop products or perform industrial tasks. The biotechnology industry has exploded over the past decade and continues to expand — according to Grandview Research, the global biotech market is projected to reach $727.1 billion by 2025. Biotechnology has three main categories: biomedical, agricultural, and environmental.

  • Biomedical: focused on the prevention, treatment, or cure of disease, development of new therapies, and creation of new medical devices
  • Agricultural: focused on the optimization of farming techniques, including soil management and genetic engineering of new crops
  • Environmental: focused on developing more sustainable products and alternative sources of energy

Biotechnology has applications in various segments:

  • Biopharmacy: focused on drug delivery and discovery as well as interactions between drugs and the body; accounted for more than 50% of the market demand in 2018
  • Bioservices: logistics related to biotechnology research, including tissue/cell collection, processing, isolation, cryopreservation, and shipping
  • Bioinformatics: collecting and analyzing complex biological data
  • Bioagriculture: improving farming techniques

Biotech’s stable job market provides a number of career options for individuals with education levels ranging from associate degree to doctorate, including:

  • Agricultural engineer: designs farm machinery, assists with soil and livestock management
  • Animal scientist: leverages genetics and husbandry to effectively crossbreed animals
  • Biochemist: studies chemical processes within living organisms
  • Biological technician: assists with setting up and maintaining biotech lab equipment, collects and runs samples, and performs experiments
  • Biophysicist: applies the laws of physics to biological phenomena
  • Biomedical engineer: applies problem-solving engineering techniques to biology and medicine
  • Epidemiologist: studies the incidence, distribution, and control of disease
  • Food scientist and technologist: studies the chemical changes in stored or processed food regarding nutrition, flavor, texture, and appearance
  • Medical and clinical lab technologist: analyzes blood, tissue, or body fluid to research microorganisms, determines blood type, and analyzes cell count and drug levels
  • Medical scientist: conducts research to improve human health
  • Microbiologist: researches algae, fungi, parasites, bacteria, and viruses
  • Process development scientist: researches and develops ways to manufacture products and monitor existing product production for quality and efficiency
  • Research and development scientist: works individually or with a team to carry out tests and experiments
  • Soil and plant scientist: applies biological techniques to improve food quality and maximize food production
Additionally, many companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific employ individuals from scientific and non-scientific backgrounds in order to develop, improve upon, market, and distribute biotech products (like PCR technology, chromatography, DNA sequencing, and cell-based assays) used in biotech techniques.