Biotechnologists study plants, animals and microorganisms. They use this knowledge to develop uses for biological processes, which include creating products for pharmaceutical, agricultural, diagnostic and environmental use, and advancing industrial processes. Their work may incorporate the use of small molecule technologies, nanotechnology, bioinformatics and synthetic biology.
To become a biotechnologist you usually have to complete a degree in biotechnology or a degree in science with a major in one of the life sciences. You can also become a biotechnologist by completing a degree in chemical engineering with a major in any type of biological engineering. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology, earth and environmental science, and physics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Biotechnologists may perform the following tasks:
Biotechnologists are employed in federal, state, territory and local government organisations, including research organisations. They are also employed in private industry, hospitals, educational institutions, primary production and fisheries. Entry to some jobs is highly competitive. With appropriate qualifications and experience, biotechnologists may progress to running their own laboratory or move into a career in government relations, regulation, quality assurance or allied business services such as clinical trial development. Senior positions in the industry often require an honours, masters or doctoral degree, demonstrating a high level of competence in the laboratory.