Biology vs Biotechnology: Career ROI

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Updated: February 22, 2024, Reading time: 9 minutes

Biology vs Biotechnology - featured image

Biotechnology and Biology are among the closely related programs. Well, since Biotechnology is a branch of Biology, it makes sense. Both programs involve living organisms; the difference is in their approach, focus, and career paths. 

Biology vs Biotechnology - fact

Biology studies the living organism’s structure, function, growth, and evolution, while Biotechnology applies biological knowledge. However, these two programs have many more in-depth differences, which we’ll briefly explore in this article.

What is Biology?

What is Biology - Image

Biology, derived from the Greek word ‘bio,’ which means life or a living organism, is one of the many subjects of natural science. It’s among the oldest fields of study that trace back to the ancient Greeks and Babylonians about 4000 years ago. 

Biology covers various topics, from chemical reactions and cell structure to physiological mechanisms and evolution, all emphasizing living things. It studies living things—their composition, activities, and interactions with their surroundings.

Specializations in Biology

Although Biology degree programs differ in coursework, they revolve around five main concepts: cell theory, evolution, homeostasis, genetics, and ecology.

The primary specializations in Biology are the following:

Career and Salary Outlook for Professions in Biology

Biology degrees are mainly for students who want to study humans, plants, animals, and their environments, conducting research at various levels. They specialize in specific areas, such as marine biologists, biochemists, and agricultural scientists.

Biologists work in ecologically diverse areas like the Brazilian Rain Forest, where nature produces biological compounds scientists cannot create on their own. They often dedicate long hours to their work beyond their job requirements.

Graduates can work in several settings, including research, healthcare, education, environmental conservation, Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and government agencies.

A Career in Biology is for you if:

A Career in Biology is not a great fit if:

According to PayScale, biologists make an average annual salary of $64,519

What is Biotechnology?

What is Biotechnology - Image

The vast field of Biotechnology draws upon Biology to create products and any technical application that uses living systems to develop processes or products for long-term, sustainable use.

Among the major developments in Biotechnology are genetically engineered foods. It’s a relatively new field that started around the 20th century, emerging as a distinct field in the food industry. Later, it gained traction in the medical and environmental sectors.

Modern Biotechnology degrees have come a long way. Several courses are involved in Biotechnology to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the field. 

Among the various courses offered, Genetic Engineering, Bioprocessing, and Biomanufacturing are the main areas of focus that stand out. Genetic Engineering involves modifying genetic elements in plants or organisms to achieve desired traits, with recombinant DNA being the cornerstone of this technique. 

Bioprocessing and Biomanufacturing courses, on the other hand, teach practical techniques for large-scale production of biological products, including pharmaceuticals, enzymes, biofuels, and bioplastics.

Specializations in Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a vast field on its own! To pursue a career in this field, choose the specialization that suits your interests and enhances your skill sets!

Career and Salary Outlook for Biolotechnology 

Biotechnology offers diverse career paths, including biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, bioprocess engineering, and biomedical science, focusing on areas like genetic engineering, drug development, agricultural biotechnology, and biomanufacturing.

Biotech firms welcome Biolotechnology undergrads to fill entry-level positions. However, it is at the graduate level that Biotechnology students gain the skills to take part in and launch biotech projects that aim to change the world!

Students can enroll in affordable Master’s in Biotechnology programs that produce experts and leaders in the field. The most competent Biotech professionals take on project management, laboratory management, and similar other roles in the industry.

A Career in Biotechnology is for you if:

A Career in Biotechnology is not a good fit if:

The average annual salary for Biotechnology jobs is $87,000 per year. Moreover, a research report projects that the Biotechnology market will reach $471,336.4 million in total size by 2025. 

Key Differences: Biology vs Biotechnology

Key Differences - Biology vs Biotechnology - Image
Historical BackgroundAn ancient field of study tracing back to the ancient Greeks and Babylonians.Emerged as a distinct field in the 20th century.
FocusStudying living organisms, their composition, behaviors, and interactions with their surroundings. Focus on developing products and technologies for healthcare, agriculture, environmental conservation, and pharmaceuticals.
SpecializationsBased on zoology and botany.Based on modern advancements in medical procedures and medicines.
ApplicationStudy fundamental principles and processes underlying life.Applies biological knowledge and technology advancements to develop practical solutions and products
Average Annual Salary$64,519$87,000

Biology and Biotechnology in Different Fields

Biology and Biotechnology in Different Fields - Image

Biotechnology uses biological principles to develop products and technologies. As two of the most heavily invested fields today, Biology and Biotech theories, principles, and applications are popularly used in these industries:

Medical Research

Biology is used in medical research to study the mechanisms of the human body and diseases. Biologists delve into the cellular, molecular, and genetic levels to uncover the underlying mechanisms of diseases. Their job is to investigate how different biological systems interact and how abnormalities in these systems can lead to illness.

Upon completion of the biologist’s research, Biotechnology will come into play. Biotechnologists will manipulate the living organisms and their components in the research to develop new drugs, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and biofuels.


Together, biologists and biotechnologists tackle global agricultural concerns and foster innovation through this cooperative endeavor.

Biologists are deeply interested in how plants and animals grow and thrive. Take crops, for example. They examine them closely to create varieties with specific traits, like producing more food, fighting diseases better, and surviving harsh environmental conditions.

Biotechnologists will then use the biologists’ data and knowledge to create better plant varieties with more yields and are more resistant to pests.

Environmental Science

Biologists monitor and preserve essential resources for life, testing air, water, and soil for pollutants and developing pollution mitigation strategies. They document plant and animal species within ecosystems. Biotechnology applications use biologists’ knowledge to address environmental challenges, such as:

Additional Resources:

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