Biotechnology Research Assistants


Employment Prospects


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 85,000 biological technicians employed in the United States. Biotechnology companies, research laboratories, and scholars employ biotechnology research assistants. Companies and researchers in all branches of the field need help conducting experiments and research. Even government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, employ biotechnology research assistants.

Starting Out

To enter the field, consider an assistantship with a professor while still in college. He or she can act as a mentor while you earn your degree and offer valuable advice and feedback on your research techniques. After receiving a bachelor’s degree, contact biotech/pharmaceutical companies you're interested in working for or utilize your college or university career services offices for help. Professional membership organizations for biotechnology may provide listings of job openings on their Web sites.

Biotechnology is a dynamic field, so chances are good for beginning researchers to find work if they are determined and stay abreast of new technology and industry trends.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement in this field is usually up to the individual. You will need to seek out opportunities. If you are interested in getting better assignments, you will probably need to ask for them. A biotechnology research assistant who gains a high skill level and demonstrates dedication to the employer and the field may earn the opportunity to lead other assistants on special projects. Depending on departmental needs, biotechnology research assistants who work for a university while earning a degree may be offered a full-time position upon completion of their studies. Biotechnology research assistants who work for clients on a freelance basis may find that they get more assignments and can command higher fees as they gain experience and a good reputation.

Tips for Entry

Visit https://www.bio-link.org/home/resources/where for a list of biotechnology employers by state.

Take part in field trips to labs and participate in science fairs, including the Biotechnology Institute's BioGENEius Challenge (http://www.biotechinstitute.org/go.cfm?do=Page.View&pid=89).

Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.

Read professional and scientific journals, such as the Journal of Biotechnology, to increase awareness of current studies and trends in biotechnology research.