By Aja Frost for BioSpace.com
Are you interested in entering biotech—and looking for a job that’ll make your heart beat fast (in a good way)? Good news: Biotech jobs come with excellent perks, and one of those includes exciting everyday responsibilities. Check out the five most exciting biotech roles.
1. Forensics DNA Analyst
This job is straight out of a crime show. Forensics DNA analysts use biotechnology to collect and analyze DNA evidence, like blood, sweat and hair. After interpreting the results of their analysis, they’re usually asked to present what they’ve found in court—either in a report or as expert witnesses.
Basically, if you like solving crimes and helping deliver justice, you’ll definitely find this job exhilarating.
The BLS expects demand for forensic science technicians to be approximately 6 percent from 2012 to 2022 with an annual median pay of $52,840 (May 2012).
2. Health and Safety Specialist
As a health and safety specialist, you’ll be responsible for ensuring the laboratory or manufacturing plant is safe. Since biotech involves lots of hazardous materials, this role is crucial.
While your day-to-day duties will probably involve training the staff in safety protocol, writing health and safety procedures and inspecting labs to make sure those procedures are being followed, you’ll also be responsible for helping in emergencies. From dangerous chemical spills and fires to floods and earthquakes, there’s no end to the dangerous—and exciting—situations that may arise.
With a growth projection of 7 percent for the period from 2012 to 2022, the BLS indicates the median annual salary as $66,790 (May 2012).
3. Lab Technician
Being a lab technician means getting to work on interesting, impactful projects. For example, a lab technician working in pharmaceuticals may help scientists develop and test a new drug. In agriculture, technicians may assist in crop improvement by genetically modifying plants.
Technicians generally come into contact with hazardous (and sometimes even radioactive) chemicals. In addition, their work may involve disease-causing organisms. Translation: You won’t have very many dull days.
The industry is expected to grow by 14 percent for the decade ending 2022. According to the BLS, the median salary for medical and clinical lab technicians in 2012 was $57,580 (May 2012).
Who wouldn’t want to be on the forefront of the biotech industry? It can be thrilling to develop life-saving products, from disease-resistant crops and biofuels to new vaccines, drugs and medicines.
Not only do biotech scientists find their work highly rewarding, they also get to collaborate with a huge variety of other disciplines. Most are members of teams that also include engineers, business managers, lab technicians (see #3!), lab assistants, research assistants, and of course, other scientists. Working with such diverse teams is both fun and engaging, scientists say.
Specifically for medical scientists, the industry is expected to grow by approximately 13 percent between 2012 and 2022. Medical scientists command a nice annual average salary of $76,980 (May 2014).
5. Technical Service Representative
When you’re in a lab or office, it can be difficult to imagine how what you’re doing will make an impact. However, as a technical service representative, you’ll be on the product front-lines, assisting customers with the equipment, pharmaceuticals, or other supplies they’ve bought from your company.
For people who are outgoing and sociable, this is a great way to put your technical knowledge to use and help others. Plus, biotech companies usually give their service reps a lot of freedom, so you’ll be able to work relatively independently.
The median salary in 2012 was $36,840 (May 2012), according to the BLS.