What is the Biotech Industry?
Traditional biotechnology was (and still is) the use of living organisms to solve problems and make useful products. Domesticating crop plants and farm animals through selective breeding, and using yeast to make bread rise and produce wine are examples of traditional biotechnology.
New biotechnology is based on scientific advances over the last 50 years that have enabled us to understand how living organisms work—and how they can work for us. The key knowledge is an understanding of cells, the basic units of life, and—at a still deeper level—the molecules that make up cells.
Skills/Traits for a Career in Biotech:
- Problem Solvers
High School: Cabarrus County Schools offers the Academy of Biotechnology and Health Sciences to students who are interested in a career in those fields. Click here to learn more.
Two-year College: Rowan-Cabarrus Community College offers the associate in applied science degree in biotechnology. Students can take all of the courses required for this degree at the college’s building on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC). If you like science and math, have an interest in different kinds of scientific research and think you would enjoy working in a lab and applying research to new products and processes, a career in biotechnology might be for you.
Four-year College: UNC Charlotte offers a biotechnology minor. Students interested in careers in Biotechnology, graduate school, or professional school will find this opportunity to be a very valuable experience. Interacting with scientists and other laboratory personnel as well as working closely with faculty members during the fulfillment of course requirements will afford students the opportunity to establish a network of professional contacts. These contacts could be sources of help for students as they complete their academic careers and even potential collaborators or employers upon their entrance into the scientific community.
Biotech Job Market:
In the Charlotte MSA, which includes Cabarrus County, biotech careers are trending upward. During the next five years, there will be approximately 3,700 job openings in the biotech industry with an average salary of $66,300.
Biotech Careers in Cabarrus County:
- Agricultural and food science technicians – Average salary of $39,000
- Biological technicians – Average salary of $42,300
- Chemical technicians – Average salary of $45,300
- Chemists – Average salary of $71,600
- Food Scientists and technologists – Average salary of $80,000
Sources: JobsEQ and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction