Thursday, June 30, 2011

Prospect for Biotechnology Graduates, 2011.

Recently, someone asked me what the prospects would be for biotechnology graduates after a bachelor's degree and after a graduate degree. Naturally, answering the request would require some researching, and this blog post is the result. To begin with, we need to distinguish between two terms1 [Click on the hyperlinks to see definition on the dictionary's web page]:
  1. Biotechnology. n. the manipulation (as through genetic engineering) of living organisms or their components to produce useful usually commercial products (as pest resistant crops, new bacterial strains, or novel pharmaceuticals); also : any of various applications of biological science used in such manipulation.
  2. Bioengineering, Biomedical engineering. n. 1: biological or medical application of engineering principles or engineering equipment —called also biomedical engineering 2 : the application of biological techniques (as genetic recombination) to create modified versions of organisms (as crops); especially : genetic engineering
It is not important whether the foregoing definitions are universally accepted, but we will use these definitions in the rest of this blog post.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the job market for [US] engineers in 2018 at 1,750,300 and, for biomedical engineers, at 27,600.2 This number, to my mind, seems awfully small for a total engineering population of 1,750,300.

BLS' View of Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Bioengineers Biotechnologists
Alternate terminology Biomedical engineers Biological scientists
Employment in 2008 16,000 91,300
Employment in 2018 27,600 110,500

US News and World Report - Best Graduate Schools

When you search for the word 'biotechnology' on the US News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools web site, you are led to Best Biomedical and Bioengineering Programs! In other words, the definitions given earlier are not applied by US News & World Report. The top 10 best engineering schools in biomedical and bioengineering programs support a total of 20,974 graduate students in March 2011.

Google Search for Graduate Assistantships

If you click on the image below, you will be taken to a Google Search browser window with the search words — "(biotechnology OR bioengineering) graduate assistantships" — already filled in.

As an example, the Department of Biology at Northeastern University provides graduate assistantships worth $28,252.50/year, along with remission of tuition for full-time graduate students.

Sample Salaries from a Job Site

The job site Simply Hired compiles average salaries of different types of jobs that it promotes. While this may not be a good measure of absolute salaries, it can give a good sense of relative values of the salaries.

Type of Job Salary/year3
Software engineer $72,000
Bioinformatics engineer $71,000
Biotechnologist $65,000
Medical Doctor $59,000

1from The Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
2The BLS is remarkably silent about software engineers, and projects 'other', presumably including the software types, at 195,400 in 2018.
3As of 1 July 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Really now a days we need biotechnology graduates as the science and technology progresses day by day so as the requirement of Biotechnology graduates increases as this is one the most expanding field like nano technology. I am not sure that now Asia is rolling out more and more biotechnology graduates each year to fill the gap. Thanks for posting.