More often than not, whenever we think of biotechnology, we relate the career to medicine and pharmaceuticals. Definitely, biotechnology finds major applications in medicine and pharmaceuticals. But, there are other applications and career paths as well.
What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is the exploitation and application of biological organisms and/or processes for industrial and other purposes, especially the genetic manipulation of microorganisms for the production of specific products. Read Biotechnology vs Biomedical Science vs Biomedical Engineering.
Research is the most obvious career choice that comes to mind when one thinks of Biotechnology. It is because the major part of the field revolves around working in labs, making innovations, and manipulation of an organism at different biological levels to obtain desired results.
Biotechnology is the use of living systems and organisms to develop/make products. Now, this product doesn’t necessarily need to have always medical (therapeutic or diagnostic) applications. The applications can be in other industries as well – agriculture, forensics, environment, etc.
Careers in Biotechnology Outside Medicine and Pharmaceuticals
Co-authored by Pavan Somwanshi
In this article, we will look at the top biotechnology careers outside medicine and pharmaceuticals.
Forensic Biotechnology pretty evident from its name is a branch of biotechnology that deals with crimes & investigation and has now become an important determining factor in the serving of justice.
Forensic Science as a practice is of key importance in the investigation of crime and justice administration done by analyzing evidence found at crime scenes. In Forensic Biotechnology, biological evidence is analyzed using biotechnological methods such as analysis of protein or other fluids in the body.
Forensic biotechnology as a field is bound to grow many folds, as innovations in the field can be witnessed now and then. This in turn means that along with research, innovations will give rise to new and more jobs every year making it a promising field to make a career in.
As discussed above this career field offers various job profiles apart from research most of which are mentioned below along with various areas of employment.
- Crime Scene Investigation
- Private Security
- Private Investigator
- Secret Service
- Forensic Medicine Professor
- Coast Guard
- Corrections officer
- Forensic technician
- Custom Agent
- Forensic Psychologist
- Compliance Officer
- Police Detective
In India, depending on the job and years of experience the salary range is quite broad. The average salary of an individual working in this field would be 4 Lakhs.
While abroad, the salary of a working professional in this field is about $50,000.
Environmental & Industrial Biotechnology
Environmental biotechnology in general is the application of various procedures to restore and protect the quality of the environment. This field is a union of biology and engineering, knowledge of these subjects is used to develop processes that can be used to remediate polluted sites.
Environmental biotechnology is being used to identify, regulate, and correct harmful emissions in the environment. A few ways this can be done is by recycling waste to create new products, or by decontaminating waste to create a final product that has a less harmful effect on the environment. Environmental Biotechnology today is one of the fastest-growing scientific fields and will continue to be one.
Two Niche Areas within Environmental Biotechnology
- Biofuels: Biofuels are fuels made from organic material. This industry is gaining a lot of importance due to the awareness of pollution and rapid change in the climate.
- Bioremediation: Bioremediation is a new concept of cleaning contaminated land with the help of microbes and bacteria. This field is completely a research-oriented field, where the biologist has to perform various tests researches to see the outcome of cleansing using microbes.
Industrial biotechnology is the practical use of biotechnology for the manufacturing and handling of chemical products, materials, and fuels in a sustainable manner. It involves the study of enzymes and microorganisms for the production of goods in various sectors, some of which are chemicals, foods, paper& textile. Many of these sectors are now more efficient and ecologically friendly thanks to the use of biotechnology. This has been possible by replacing conventional processes, contributing to industrial sustainability in a variety of ways.
Jobs in Environmental & Industrial Biotechnology
The description of an environmental and that of an industrial biotechnologist does sound exciting but you might wonder what work does an environmental biotechnologist does. Well here are a few tasks that an environmental and an industrial biotechnologist is involved in regularly.
Job Functions within Environmental & Industrial Biotechnology
Following is a list of tasks for people working in jobs other than research.
- Use geographic information systems (GIS) to map contaminated sites and the distribution of pollutants
- Developing and monitoring the manufacturing process
- To build and maintain professional relationships
- Identify and overcome challenges faced in a project
- Document production and other related activities
- Create a report on project development
Job Profiles within Environmental & Industrial Biotechnology
Below are the number of domains/job titles to make a career in environmental & industrial biotechnology.
- Solutions Manager
- Biomedical Engineer
- Project Assistant
- Project Management Engineer
- Production & manufacturing
- Quality Assurance or Quality control
- Equity research
- Science policy
- Technical writing
- Science communication
- Core facility management
The average salary of an Environmental biotechnologist in India is about 3Lakhs per annum. Depending on the area of work and position the salary can range between 1.5Lakhs to 12 Lakhs. In major western countries, the average salary of an Environmental biotechnologist is $62,000 a year.
The average salary of an Industrial biotechnologist in India is about 6 Lakhs per annum, while the lowest being 3Lakhs and the highest being 12 Lakhs. The average salary of an Industrial biotechnologist abroad is about $55,000.
Agricultural / Plant Biotechnology
The field of agricultural science combines the natural and social sciences, along with economics, engineering, and management (particularly natural resources management and business management) of biological systems to practice, development and understand the fields of agriculture and forestry.
Plant biotechnology is a specialized field within the broad domain of agricultural science or agricultural biotechnology. Plant biotechnologists conduct research and development to increase productivity and yield.
Although this field mainly revolves around research, that in no way means that there are no opportunities outside of it. You might be surprised after knowing all the possibilities it has to offer outside of research.
Over the past couple of decades, Plant Biotechnology has shown an enormous amount of growth and has changed a lot of lives by offering career prospects within research and a lot more outside of it. To understand why it has gained such traction let’s start by understanding why we need it.
Objectives of Plant Biotechnology
- One of the key objectives of plant biotechnology is creating reliable and sustainable food sources for the global mass.
- Plant scientists (and biotechnologists) apply sophisticated biochemical and genetic technologies to improve the nutritional value of crops and the quality of seeds used to grow them.
- Besides, plant biotechnologists also work towards making crops resistant to droughts, diseases, and other adversities.
- Last but not the least, plant biotechnology has also got significant applications in medical research.
Every living organism on earth is capable to evolve, this evolution happens over time as with trial and error nature picks traits that are helpful in survival and adapt accordingly to the changing environment. But as we know evolution is a very slow-paced process, which means it may take numerous years to achieve desired results sometimes even more than one’s lifetime.
To solve just this problem, experts in the field have come up with methods and techniques to generate more and better yield using various scientific tools. We have, till now, altered and developed various crops and domestic animals according to our liking.
Jobs in Plant Biotechnolgy
Now let’s talk about the career prospects and the areas of employment apart from research. Here is a list of career prospects in the field of plant biotechnology.
- Lecturer or Professor
- Sales Manager
- Production Manger
- Quality Analyst
- Plant Breeder
- Environment Specialist
The basic skills you will need to have is, to begin with, an understanding of the needs of the industry. You should be aware of what demands companies that deal with food production have. You should be clear in the fundamental understanding of biotechnological concepts.
The employment areas in which you can find these jobs are Agriculture Industries, Colleges and Universities, Food Processing Industries, Chemical Industries, Chemical Industries, Aquaculture Industries, Pharmaceutical Companies, and Plant Research Labs.
Based on the job prospect and years of experience the salary can vary between 2Lakhs – 18Lakhs, while the average salary remains to be 4 lakhs in India. The average salary abroad for these professionals is about $30,000.
About Pavan Somwanshi:
Pavan Somwanshi is an India-based freelance content writer and a curious human being trying to learn things every day to make a better sense of the world. Currently, Pavan is studying BSc Statistics from Pune University.
Additionally, Pavan is a management and entrepreneurship aspirant, a tech geek, an occasional philosopher, and a multitasker who excels at juggling tasks on both a professional and personal level.
He follows the liberal and egalitarian schools of thought, respects ideas, and encourages rational debates along with actively engaging in critical thinking. He finds his fulfillment with work, studies, communicating ideas, and being around people he cares about. You can connect with Pavan on LinkedIn.
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