What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Program?
With an online master’s degree in biotechnology, you get the same level of professional education as with in-person classes on a college or university campus. Students pursuing an online master’s degree in biotechnology while simultaneously working in the field can work around their schedules by completing coursework at night, on weekends or during breaks from their work schedules. The flexible scheduling makes it easy to complete the courses that can bolster your career and open up new opportunities. Before choosing an online master’s program, consider various options to find the online degree that suits your schedule, interests and career goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Biotechnology
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR|
|Bioinformatics||Combines courses in biology, mathematics and computing. Students graduating with this specialty are adept at analyzing large data sets, such as genomic data or protein folding, to make biological discoveries and develop disease treatments.||Bioinformatics specialist in an academic or industry lab|
|Biotechnology Management||Trains students to run a laboratory as a business, including how to evaluate the business prospects of new biological discoveries and how to launch a biotechnology start-up.||Biotechnology entrepreneur, manager in a biotechnology lab|
|Biotechnology Research||Focuses on scientific discovery. This can include drug discovery, the mechanisms behind disease and specific techniques used in lab settings.||Biotechnology research associate in an academic or commercial lab, drug discovery specialist at a pharmaceutical company|
|Biosecurity||Centers on detecting, analyzing and developing countermeasures to biological threats.||Biosecurity specialist for private ventures, biosecurity and biodefense specialist for the government|
|Regulatory Affairs in Biotechnology||Equips students with the skills to navigate regulations around new biological discoveries and technologies. Classes include coursework in business, government policy and molecular biology.||Government regulatory agency representative, biotechnology regulation specialist for a public or private institution or company|
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Biotechnology
Each school and each specialty requires different coursework for a master’s degree in biotechnology. Students pursuing this degree should consider their own career goals and objectives to find a curriculum that provides the required education and skills. Some examples of courses you might find in a master’s of biotechnology program include:
|Biotechnology Techniques||Learn the common techniques used in biotechnology labs, including high-throughput techniques, therapeutic uses of biotechnology and emerging technologies in biology.|
|Bioinformatics||Analyze and interpret biological data. This course covers DNA and RNA sequence analysis, DNA computing and mathematical models applicable to biology.|
|Biotechnology Regulation||Explore the role of regulation in the commercialization of biological knowledge, including how different departments of the U.S. government regulate biotechnological research.|
|Biosecurity and Bioterrorism||Covers the history and science of biological agents in warfare, defensive strategy and society. You’ll learn about public health responses to biological agents, surveillance and detection of potential issues and the government’s role in monitoring and responding to biosecurity issues.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Biotechnology?
Several factors impact how long it takes to earn an online master’s degree in real estate. One of the biggest impacts is whether you attend classes full-time or part-time. The format of your program also affects the time it takes to finish. Programs that utilize a cohort learning model, also called synchronous programs, require you log in and take classes at a preset time. Asynchronous programs are self-paced and allow you do your work on your own schedule. These programs can be completed more quickly, if you’re so motivated, or can take much longer if you have time constraints. Online master’s in real estate programs require anywhere from 30 to 60 credit hours to complete your degree and usually take between 18 months and three years to finish.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Biotechnology Prepares For
Someone with a master’s in biotechnology can apply for certification in various subfields through the Center for Professional Innovation and Education. Some specific professional certifications available through CfPIE include biopharmaceutical development and global regulatory affairs. Professional certification through CfPIE is typically not required for specific jobs but could be used to show competency in specific areas.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Biotechnology
Accreditation for master’s degrees in biotechnology is granted by six regional organizations, which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Students considering a program should first verify that the program is accredited. Participation in an accredited program lets you transfer credits between programs and serves as an indicator to employers that the program met specific education standards.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Biotechnology Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
In general, a biotechnology degree opens doors to a wide range of job opportunities, and the field is considered to be growing at a healthy rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the job market for biochemists and biophysicists is expected to grow 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, a rate higher than the national average for all jobs.
A master’s degree in biotechnology can open up more career opportunities than a bachelor’s degree alone. Some positions require a master’s degree or higher, while other positions are open to candidates with either a BS or MS but offer a higher wage for MS candidates. The specialization you choose for your master’s degree can also influence your available job opportunities, since specific experience and education in topics such as bioinformatics or biosecurity may be unavailable at the BS level.
In addition to offering more opportunities to find a job in biotechnology, having a master’s degree can also increase your expected salary. Some salary ranges for jobs you might get with a MS in biotechnology are listed in the table below. The higher end of the range is typically reserved for individuals with a master’s degree or higher, while the lower end of the range is more typical for those with just a bachelor’s degree. You can see how the earning potential increases significantly with a professional degree.
|JOB TITLE||SALARY RANGE|
|Natural Sciences Manager||$62,080–$208,000|
|Agricultural or Food Scientist||$37,890–$116,520|
The average salary for someone with a master’s in biotechnology tends to be higher than averages for related bachelor’s degrees, but where you choose to live and work can also impact your overall salary. The chart below lists some average salary levels for someone with a degree in biotechnology in specific areas of the U.S.
The higher earning potential you get from an online master’s degree in biotechnology isn’t the only benefit. That higher salary might also come with more autonomy in terms of the projects you work on and could let you develop your own projects or set your own hours. There are a wide range of career opportunities for those with a master’s degree in biotechnology, including those listed below.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Biochemist / Biophysicist||Biochemists and biophysicists work in laboratories, either in an academic or industrial setting. They complete basic and applied research, and they use complex techniques and cutting-edge technology to study biological systems.||$91,190 per year||11%|
|Agricultural or Food Scientist||Agricultural and food scientists research ways to make food systems safer and more efficient. Biosafety experts in this job might focus on ways to protect the food supply, while regulatory experts may focus on bringing new genetically modified crops to market.||$62,910 per year||7%|
|Natural Science Manager||Natural science managers oversee the business aspects of a laboratory. They supervise scientists, oversee testing and production of biological materials and coordinate with regulatory organizations.||$118,970 per year||10%|
Professional organizations can help you develop connections in the field and stay up-to-date on what’s new in your industry. Here are some of the top professional organizations for individuals with a master’s degree in biotechnology.
American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering: AIMBE provides education and resources for individuals in the field of biological and medical engineering. The AIMBE hosts workshops and advocates for public policies supporting biological engineering.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization: BIO offers conferences and skill training workshops to help you improve your skills in the field. The organization also does advocacy work on behalf of the industry and patients affected by biotechnology concerns.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Biotechnology
An online master’s degree in biotechnology is typically less expensive than a comparable on-campus program. Financial aid may be available for students who need help affording a course of study. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to getting financial help for an online master’s degree. Scholarships and grants from private organizations or nonprofit sources can also help make your degree more affordable. The resources below can help you get started.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Federally Sponsored Programs for STEM Graduate Studies|
|National Space Club Keynote Scholarships||Award: $10,000
Eligibility: Undergraduate or graduate students who intend to pursue a career in the STEM fields.
|The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program||Award: $44,000
Eligibility: Students pursuing research-based masters or doctoral degrees.
|Out To Innovate Scholarships for LGBTQ+STEM Students||Award: $5,000
Eligibility: Students identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or an active ally of the LGBTQ+ community who are pursuing a STEM undergraduate or graduate degree.