Career Development

Five Biotech Jobs that Don’t Require an Advanced Degree

Although the economy took a major hit in 2008, and many industries faltered, the biotech industry continued to grow, and even thrived. People usually think of biotechnology solely in terms of medicine, such as stem cells, vaccines, and even genetically modified organisms.

The truth is that biotechnology is used in a wide range of human endeavors from the food on grocery store shelves, to the enzymes and organisms that break down wastes at water treatment plants once the food has been consumed. While some jobs in the biotech sector require advanced science degrees, there are some jobs that require nothing more than a bachelor’s degree and related experience.

Biological Technician

Biological technicians provide laboratory support to medical and biological scientists. They are primarily responsible for set-up and maintenance of the labs, including cleaning the lab instruments and equipment, and preparing the lab for use. However, biological technicians conduct tests and experiments, compile data and record the results, as directed by the senior laboratory staff. Biological technicians may also send samples to secure biological storage facilities for long-term storage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for biological technicians is $39,750 per year, or $19.11 per hour. The job requires a bachelor’s degree in biology or a similar field, and laboratory experience.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators provide support for clinical trials. They evaluate research protocols, and work on getting approval for the trials from regulatory and ethics committees. They also implement the trials, collect data, and analyze the results. Under the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical research coordinators are categorized as medical health service managers, healthcare executives, or healthcare administrators.

The median wage for clinical research coordinators is $88,580 per year, or $42.59 per hour. The job requires at least a bachelor’s degree, but each individual facility could have additional requirements, such as laboratory experience, or biology coursework.

Animal Research Associate

Animal research associates deal with the animals used in biological research projects. It could involve working with rats and mice in a laboratory setting, or taking samples from large livestock in a disease study. Animal research doesn’t just involve products for human consumption; it also focuses on veterinary advances such as edible vaccines for livestock. The animal research associate also handles the care and feeding of the animals, and maintains documentation on the animals’ health statuses and research results.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that an animal research associate with a bachelor’s degree in animal science could average $28,031 per year. The job requires at least a bachelor’s degree in biology, or related field, and two to eight years’ experience in a veterinary or research setting.

Process Development Associate

Process development associates are responsible for improving and streamlining laboratory processes. They work primarily on the manufacturing end to improve product yield and reduce costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, process development associates are similar to industrial engineers.

The median pay for a process development associate is $78,860 per year, or $37.92 per hour. The job requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a science or engineering discipline, and at least two years’ experience in manufacturing.

Assay Analyst

The assay analyst tests or analyzes the cell or tissue samples, and prepares the cells or tissues for use in studies and experiments. They may also monitor the cell and tissue cultures, and record test results. The assay analyst usually works under the guidance of the laboratory scientist and science technicians.

The National FFA Organization indicates the median pay for an assay analyst is $35,450 per year, or $17.04 per week and that the job only requires a high school diploma or GED and some laboratory experience. However, the Bureau of Labor statistics indicates that most assay analysts have a bachelor’s degree.

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