Job Areas

Biotechnology careers generally fit into one of the broad areas listed on this page. Click an area to learn more about it and the types of jobs available.
Job Area Description
Agricultural biotechnology

Biotechnology is used in many ways in agriculture. Agricultural biotechnology companies work to supply farmers with tools to increase the yield of plant and animal products, while lowering the...

Read more
Animal biotechnology

Animals are used in many ways in biotechnology.  The animals in research labs help us better understand biology and serve as biological test systems.  Other animals and animal products are used to...

Read more

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

Biotechnology intersects with aquaculture in many ways...

Read more

Biodefense technicians are concerned with protecting air, food, and water from pathogenic microorganisms that could be released by hostile countries or terrorists.  Important areas of biodefense...

Read more

Biofuels are substances such as diesel and ethanol that are purified from natural sources and used as fuel.  Sources of biofuels include algae, corn, and switchgrass.


Biomanufacturing produces a wide range of biobased products for the emerging global bioeconomy. Biomanufacturing begins with bioprospecting – the discovery and commercialization of new products...

Read more

Some biotechnology companies make new products by researching or chemically modifying biological materials.   Red algae, for example, make fluorescent molecules that can be used in diagnostic...

Read more

Biopharmaceuticals are drugs that can be used to treat disease.  If these drugs are protein-based, they are often produced by finding a gene that codes for the protein and cloning the gene into a...

Read more

Bioprocessing is another way to describe biomanufacturing.  This area includes the design and development of methods and equipment for manufacturing products from biological materials.  The...

Read more

Biotechnology involves using living organisms or substances derived from living organisms, such as DNA or proteins, to make some kind of product. Many different kinds of products are made through...

Read more
Cell culture

Cell culture involves growing cells from animals, plants, insects, and fungi in culture. This is done because it's easier to do experiments on individual cells than on animals.  It's also easier...

Read more
Conservation biology

Conservation biology is a job area concerned with monitoring the health and population of wild animals and plants.  Conservation biologists use biotechnology methods to measure animal health and...

Read more

Biotechnology has impacted cosmetics in many ways.  Cosmetics companies use biotechnology both to discover and manufacture components of cosmetics and to evaluate the effects of natural and...

Read more

Many biotechnology products, especially biopharmaceuticals, require extensive tests for safety and effiicacy.  Documentation specialists ensure that proper records are kept throughout the...

Read more
Drug discovery

Drug discovery is an important area of biotechnology.  This process involves screening genes, peptides, proteins, or other substances for their therapeutic potential, and researching promising...

Read more

Biotechnology lab experiments have become a common part of many high school and college curricula.  Not only do students use biotechnology methods to perform original research, they learn about...

Read more
Environmental monitoring

Biotechnology laboratory methods such as Next Generation DNA sequencing and microarrays are increasingly being used to monitor our environment and test samples of air, water, and soil for...

Read more
Food Safety

Our increasingly global food supply has increased the potential spread and harm from food-borne disease.  Biotechnology methods can be applied to identifying pathogens and harmful chemical...

Read 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 inside of a cell.  This includes all the chromosomal DNA and, if...

Read more

Immunochemistry involves working with components of the immune system.  These materials may include antibodies, signaling molecules such as cytokines, and cells that function in the immune system...

Read more
Lab Safety

Laboratory safety is an area concerned with protecting the safety of people inside and outside of a laboratory workplace.   This area is especially important because...

Read more
Marine biotechnology

Marine biotechnology is an area where products are derived or developed from a wide variety of marine animals and plants.   This area also includes aquaculture, where aquatic organisms are grown...

Read more
Media and Solution preparation

All laboratories require special solutions for performing experiments.  If a lab cultures cells or microbes of any kind, they also need media for growth.  Bacteria and cells can grow in liquid...

Read more
Medical devices

Medical devices are used to help power the heart, deliver drugs, diagnose disease, obtain x-rays, and carry out a variety of tasks. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines medical...

Read more
Medical diagnostics

Many of the tests used by medical laboratories have been developed through biotechnology.  These include antibody tests such as ELISAs, PCR, DNA sequencing, bacterial identification, and several...

Read more
Molecular biology

Molecular biology involves working with DNA, RNA, cells, and / or proteins.  Molecular biologists may clone genes, sequence DNA, purify proteins, product antibodies, and perform related tasks.

Natural products

Biotechnology is used to identify and characterize natural products with commercial potential.  Some examples are enzymes that can function at higher or lower temperatures than normal.


Nutraceutricals are substances with a role in nutrition that may also function in a health-related capacity. Many of these substances have anti-oxidant properties.  Biotechnicians can work in the...

Read more
Plant biotechnology

Biotechnology is used in many ways in the agriculture and horiticulture industries.  Orchids have become a common site in many grocery stores because they can be grown on a large scale through...

Read more
Protein purification

Protein purification is a common task in biotechnology.  This process involves producing the cells or organisms that make the protein and separating the protein away from everything else in the...

Read more
Quality control

Quality control is an important area in many companies.  The people who work in quality control perform different kinds of tests to ensure the identity, purity, and activity of the product the...

Read more
Specialty chemicals

Many chemicals such as antibiotics and small molecules can be made through bacterial fermentation.  In these processes, bacteria are grown in fermentors and the chemicals are purified from the...

Read more
Synthetic biology

Synthetic biology is an area where scientists and technicians engineer bacteria and yeast to improve the production of diverse chemicals.  This may involve recreating entire biosynthetic pathways...

Read more

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

Read more
Water quality

Water is the most important substance for supporting life.  It's also a major route for transmission of disease.  Biotechnology methods are used to screen water and identify pathogenic microbes...

Read more