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  2. Biotechnologist


Alternative titles for this job include

Biotechnologists use plants, animals, microbes, biochemistry and genetics to develop new products and improve existing ones.

Average salary (a year)

£19,000 Starter


£55,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a biotechnologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role


You'll usually need a degree in a relevant scientific subject, like:

  • biotechnology
  • bioscience
  • microbiology
  • biochemistry
  • chemistry or chemical engineering

Employers in sectors like the food and drink industry, will expect you to have some knowledge of the relevant biotechnology specialism.

You'll usually need, or be working towards a postgraduate qualification and have several years' experience for a research job.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


The following degree apprenticeship may be relevant to this role:

  • Level 6 Laboratory Scientist

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a lab technician and work your way up by training on the job. For example, on a part-time degree or a degree apprenticeship.

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join an organisation like the Science Council for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about working in biotechnology from:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work on your own
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to work well with others
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day to day duties will depend on your specialism.

In environmental biotechnology, you could:

  • develop micro-organisms and plants to clean polluted land or water
  • create alternative renewable sources of energy, like biodiesel
  • produce environmentally friendly raw materials for industry, like biodegradable plastics from plant starches

In industrial biotechnology, you could:

  • clone and produce enzymes for use in manufacturing food and drink
  • create biological detergents and dyes for the textiles industry
  • improve animal feed
  • develop crops that are more resistant to pests
  • genetically modify crops to increase productivity

In medical biotechnology and biotherapeutics, you could:

  • study human genetics, proteins, antibodies, viruses, plants, fungi and bacteria
  • research and treat diseases like cancer
  • develop therapies, vaccines and hormones to treat the cause of diseases
  • produce medicines using techniques like cell culture and genetic modification

Working environment

You could work at a research facility, at a university or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into scientific journalism, quality assurance management, sales or marketing.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Laboratory Scientist (Degree) Apprentice

  • Wage: £163.13 - £307.88 Weekly
  • Location: Plymouth

Courses In England

GCE Chemistry

  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: NORTHAMPTON


  • Provider: HEATH PARK
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Wolverhampton

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