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Biotechnology Major

2,599 yearly degrees
#180 in popularity
$97,000 median salary

Biotechnology is a major that typically falls into the Biological & Biomedical Sciences category.

There are 60 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in biotech, 96 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 81 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 9 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Biotech Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 900 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology in 2017. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 53.7% of the graduates are women, and 46.3% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of biotech majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 15.2%
  • Black or African American: 4.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 20.9%
  • White: 43.7%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 8.2%
  • Other Races: 7.2%
Biotechnology Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in biotech. About 8.2% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending biotech majors to the U.S. are India, China and Saudi Arabia.

What Will You Learn as a Biotechnology Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to biotech to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Biotech Majors

Biotech majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Biotechnology Majors

Skills for Biotech Majors

When studying biotech, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Biotechnology Majors

Abilities for Biotech Majors

Biotech majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

Important Abilities for biotech Majors

What Can You Do With a Biotech Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with biotech:

Careers Related to Biotechnology
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Natural Sciences Managers



Clinical Research Coordinators



Water Resource Specialists



Biological Science Professors



Molecular and Cellular Biologists



Biotechnology Major Salary

Biotech majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $84,000 to $140,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Biotech Major  ( 84000 to 140000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Biotechnology Major Jobs

Some careers associated with biotech may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to biotech have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Biotechnology
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Biotechnology Programs

There are 96 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology, with 1 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Biotechnology Major Worth It?

The median salary for a biotech grad is $97,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 150% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,168,800 after 20 years!

biotechnology salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Henk Caspers/Naturalis Biodiversity Center via License

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