The 6 Most-In-Demand Biotech Jobs Right Now

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Biotech is booming. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected the most likely jobs to be in demand from 2014 to 2024, and many of them are big in the life science and biopharma industries. It’s a hot area, so much so that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, during a speech at Columbia University earlier this year was asked what industry would have caused him to drop out of school today, said biotechnology.

With all that in mind, let’s look at six jobs in life sciences that are currently in high demand.

The 6 Most-In-Demand Biotech Jobs Right Now

NUMBER
BIOTECH JOB
JOBS
1
Genetic Counselors
Jobs
2
Biomedical Engineers
Jobs
3
Laboratory Technologists/Technicians
Jobs
4
Biophysicists/Biochemists
Jobs
5
Epidemiologists
Jobs
6
 Microbiologists
Jobs

 

1. Genetic Counselors

With so much going on in healthcare, ranging from clinical diagnostics to personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics, there’s an increasing need for a specialist to advise, educate and counsel patients on their genetic test results. The BLS has projected a 30 percent increase in the demand for genetic counselors from 2014 to 2024. The majority of them work in hospitals. The typical educational requirement for a genetic counselor is a master’s degree after some sort of life science or medical bachelor’s degree, often nursing.

According to Salary.com, the median salary for a genetic counselor is $69,957, ranging from about $63,164 to $77,849. An example of a current genetics counselor job is with Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. The position provides genetic services to patients and families seeking information about the occurrence or risk of occurrence of a genetic cancer susceptibility condition. It calls for board certification or eligibility by the American Board of Medical Genetics or the American Board of Genetic Counselors, and a graduate of an accredited Genetic Counseling Program.

2. Biomedical Engineers

These engineers combine engineering with medical and biological sciences, usually to design and construct equipment, devices, computer systems and software used in healthcare. There are often bachelor’s programs in biomedical engineering. According to the BLS, the median pay is $85,620 per year and the job growth outlook is much faster than average, at 23 percent.

An example of a biomedical engineering job is Applied Research and Development Senior Scientist/Biomedical Engineer for Analytic jena US in Upland, Calif. This individual will be responsible for developing next-generation tech platforms for new products in imaging systems, genetic analysis and analytical instrumentation. It calls for a PhD in biology, chemistry, bioengineering or related sciences and equivalent experience.

3. Laboratory Technologists/Technicians

Just a warning, that although sometimes executives don’t always know the difference, within the medical laboratory field, there are clearly delineated differences between a technician and a technologist. A technician typically has a two-year associate’s degree, while a technologist has a four-year bachelor’s degree, often with a year’s practical internship on top of it. There’s been a shortage of medical technologists for at least the last 20 years and isn’t expected to decrease as the general population ages. The majority of medical laboratory technologists and technicians work in healthcare laboratories at hospital laboratories or large commercial clinical diagnostic companies, although there are also positions in physician office laboratories.

According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for an ASCP-certified medical technologist is $66,108, ranging from $60,568 to $73,758. BLS lumps technicians and technologists into the same category, with a median salary of $50,930. However, it does suggest that the technician salary is typically $38,950.

An example is Clinical Laboratory Scientist I with Natera in San Carlos, Calif. The position calls for someone with one to four years of experience as a Medical Technologist, a bachelor of science or art or equivalent in medical technology, biology or related field, and a current California CLS license or Clinical Genetics Molecular Biology Scientist (CGMBS) license.

4. Biophysicists/Biochemists

These positions are usually at the PhD level. Biophycisists merge physics with the biological scientists. According to the BLS, biophysicists have an average annual salary of $87,640, with the top 10 percent earning over $147,320. A biochemist, rather obviously, studies biochemistry, which is to say, the chemistry of living organisms. Salary.com indicates that the median annual salary for a Biochemist I is $50,516, although it’s necessary to point out that this refers to people with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. For a PhD, the U.S. Department of Labor indicates the highest earning PhDs exceed $100,000 pear year.

An example is Formulations Protein Biophysical Scientist for DuPont Industrial Biosciences in La Honda, Calif. This position calls for a PhD in biophysics, biochemistry or related field or a master’s degree with equivalent experience. The position will be in support of developing enzyme products.

5. Epidemiologists

An epidemiologist applies statistical analysis to diseases in human populations. They are broadly called public health professionals, although there are academic positions as well, and there is a significant crossover these days in data science and bioinformatics. According to the BLS, the median pay for an epidemiologist is $70,820, requires a master’s degree, and from 2014 to 2024 is growing at about the average rate of 6 percent.

An example is Bioinformatics Analyst III – Cancer Genomics Research (NCI) at Leidos Biomedical Research in Gaithersburg, Mary. Part of the Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR), this person will investigate the contribution of germline and somatic genetic variation to cancer susceptibility and outcomes in support of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG). The position requires at least a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred, in bioinformatics, statistics, genetics, computational biology or related field. It also wants a minimum of five years of scientific or complex system management/bioinformatics experience.

6. Microbiologists

This can be a rather broad field, although it generally focuses on bacteria, fungi and viruses. It also requires a broad background in human cell biology and molecular biology. The BLS projected a 4 percent increase in demand between 2014 and 2024. Most positions call for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. There are positions in clinical diagnostic laboratories, academic and industrial research laboratories, and in public health laboratories.

According to the BLS, the median pay for a microbiologist—probably with a bachelor’s degree—is $66,850. 

An example is Microbiology Specialist with AntriaBio in Louisville, Colo. This position calls for a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, biology or life sciences with a minimum of five years pharmaceutical laboratory experience. It is with a GMP pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, which includes the Environmental Monitoring (EM) Program and Aseptic Gowning Program. 

One of the great things about biotech is how dynamic the field is, merging biology, chemistry, physics, data science, molecular biology and other fields. In many cases, jobs are created to meet specific needs—meaning it’s possible that in a few years the hot new job will be something you’ve never heard of! Got your resume ready?

Are you a citizen of the world? Interested in international employment opportunities? These countries offer you plenty of career opportunities in the life sciences.
 

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