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Biotechnologist

Working in areas as diverse as food and agriculture, environmental conservation and medicine, a biotechnologist uses biological organisms to create and improve products and processes. They study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms, and identify practical uses for this knowledge.

Using the techniques of molecular biology, they seek to understand and manipulate the basic building blocks of living things.  Recent advancements in biotechnology studies have revolutionised biology while new frontiers are constantly being opened, creating a new and exciting field of study.

If you are interested in a career as a biotechnologist, visit Qualifax (www.qualifax.ie) to search for relevant courses at all levels and entry points.

Some alternative job titles for this role 

  • Bioengineer
  • Molecular Biologist
  • Biophysicist
  • Biochemist
  • Microbiologist

What the job involves

  • Study the genetic, chemical and physical attributes of cells, tissues and organisms
  • Identify applications for this knowledge
  • Work with lab technicians on research, record findings and analyse the results
  • Design and implement research studies
  • Analyse research data
  • Developing new research procedures

How your career can develop

With a degree level qualification, graduates can expect to work as a research associate or lab technician in a range of industries and sectors or on pure research at a university or scientific institute. Masters-level graduates could expect to lead a research project and team. Doctorate level candidates can work as research scientists, a lab manager/director or as a university lecturer.

Why it matters?

Biotechnologists are at the forefront of the continuous search to find new, sustainable food sources. Biotechnology is the use of biological processes, organisms, or systems to manufacture products intended to improve the quality of human life. 

Skills

  • Complex problem-solving
  • Team work and communication skills
  • Investigative skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Innovative thinking
  • Observation skills
  • Interest in biology and technology

Typical employers

  • Medical technology companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Universities
  • Scientific foundations and institutions
  • Agriculture and crop production companies
  • Industries working in areas such as biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil
  • Environments research in companies and institutions such as biofuels

Typical salary

  • Graduate/Starting €31,000 (approx.)
  • Senior/Potential   €54,000

Typical qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in biotechnology is the most common entry into the biotechnology industry. Students can attain a general science certification or diploma before progressing onto a biotechnology degree. Degrees in the following are also doorways to the biotech sector:

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Process engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Pharmaceutical sciences
  • Biology
  • Environmental biology
  • Medicine

Alternative routes to a bachelor’s degree in this area may apply to students that have a PLC qualification in a related course or general science certification or diploma. For further details on eligibility requirements for third level entry following a PLC qualification, students should visit the CAO course search at Careersportal.ie.

Further information