Biotechnology Job Areas

What is biotechnology?

In simple terms, biotechnology is about engineering biology to make stuff.

The term "biotechnology" was coined in 1919 as a way to describe the use of living organisms for making products. The earliest biotechnology companies were founded in the late 1970's after scientists discovered that DNA could be cloned using restriction (cutting) enzymes and ligases (gluing enzymes). Today's biotech industry includes companies that work in many different areas from diagnostics & therapeutics to food & consumer products. Other companies provide services, instrumentation, chemicals (reagents), enzymes, and other products to engineer biology and make stuff.

Biotechnology jobs generally fit into one or more of the broader areas listed on this page. Click any job area below to learn about the types of jobs.

To learn more about biotechnology visit What is Biotechnology and What is Biomanufacturing.


Agriculture is the science or practice of raising crops or rearing animals to produce products such as food, fiber, cooking oil, and... Learn more

Animals are used in many ways in biotechnology.  The animals in research labs help us better understand biology and serve as biological... Learn more

Aquaculture is a term that describes methods for growing fish, plants, and other creatures in freshwater and marine environments.  ... Learn more

Biodefense technicians are concerned with protecting air, food, and water from pathogenic microorganisms that could be released by... Learn more

Biofuels are substances such as diesel and ethanol that are purified from natural sources and used as fuel.  Sources of biofuels include... Learn more

Biomanufacturing produces a wide range of biobased products for the emerging global bioeconomy. Biomanufacturing begins with... Learn more

Some biotechnology companies make new products by researching or chemically modifying biological materials.   Red algae, for example,... Learn more

Biopharmaceuticals are drugs that can be used to treat disease.  If these drugs are protein-based, they are often produced by finding a... Learn more

Bioprocessing is another way to describe biomanufacturing.  This area includes the design and development of methods and equipment for... Learn more

Biotechnology involves using living organisms or substances derived from living organisms, such as DNA or proteins, to make some kind of... Learn more

Cell culture involves growing cells from animals, plants, insects, and fungi in culture. This is done because it's easier to do... Learn more

Conservation biology is a job area concerned with monitoring the health and population of wild animals and plants.  Conservation... Learn more

Biotechnology has impacted cosmetics in many ways.  Cosmetics companies use biotechnology both to discover and manufacture components of... Learn more

Many biotechnology products, especially biopharmaceuticals, require extensive tests for safety and effiicacy.  Documentation specialists... Learn more

Drug discovery is an important area of biotechnology.  This process involves screening genes, peptides, proteins, or other substances... Learn more

Biotechnology lab experiments have become a common part of many high school and college curricula.  Not only do students use... Learn more

Biotechnology laboratory methods such as Next Generation DNA sequencing and microarrays are increasingly being used to monitor our... Learn more

Our increasingly global food supply has increased the potential spread and harm from food-borne disease.  Biotechnology methods can be... Learn more

Forensics technicians analyze samples such as DNA, blood, and other materials, in criminal investigations.

Genomics involves measuring everything about a genome and the changes between genomes.  The genome consists of all the nucleic acid... Learn more

Immunochemistry involves working with components of the immune system.  These materials may include antibodies, signaling molecules such... Learn more

Laboratory safety is an area concerned with protecting the safety of people inside and outside of a laboratory workplace.   This area is... Learn more

Marine biotechnology is an area where products are derived or developed from a wide variety of marine animals and plants.   This area... Learn more

All laboratories require special solutions for performing experiments.  If a lab cultures cells or microbes of any kind, they also need... Learn more

Medical devices are used to help power the heart, deliver drugs, diagnose disease, obtain x-rays, and carry out a variety of tasks. The... Learn more

Many of the tests used by medical laboratories have been developed through biotechnology.  These include antibody tests such as ELISAs,... Learn more

Molecular biology involves working with DNA, RNA, cells, and / or proteins.  Molecular biologists may clone genes, sequence DNA, purify... Learn more

Biotechnology is used to identify and characterize natural products with commercial potential.  Some examples are enzymes that can... Learn more

Nutraceutricals are substances with a role in nutrition that may also function in a health-related capacity. Many of these substances... Learn more

Biotechnology is used in many ways in the agriculture and horiticulture industries.  Orchids have become a common site in many grocery... Learn more

Protein purification is a common task in biotechnology.  This process involves producing the cells or organisms that make the protein... Learn more

Quality control is an important area in many companies.  The people who work in quality control perform different kinds of tests to... Learn more

Many chemicals such as antibiotics and small molecules can be made through bacterial fermentation.  In these processes, bacteria are... Learn more

Synthetic biology is an area where scientists and technicians engineer bacteria and yeast to improve the production of diverse chemicals... Learn more

Vaccines are substances that stimulate the immune system, so that it will protect against disease.  Biotechnology methods help identify... Learn more

Water is the most important substance for supporting life.  It's also a major route for transmission of disease.  Biotechnology methods... Learn more