Biotechnology vs Medical Technology: Career ROI

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Updated: February 29, 2024, Reading time: 10 minutes

Biotechnology vs Medical Technology - featured image

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Did you know that the healthcare industry is the fastest-growing industry looking for employees in the United States? So, if you’re choosing between a career in Biotechnology and Medical Technology, we guarantee that you will find plenty of well-paying jobs!

You can look forward to high returns on investment, too, whether you become a biotechnologist or a medical technologist, thanks to their excellent salaries and benefits and career advancement opportunities.

However, making an informed choice between the two occupations requires knowledge of their main responsibilities, required education, training and license, and salaries. Let’s start with the main similarities and differences between these two healthcare occupations: 

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these healthcare occupations.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

A Quick Look at Their Differences

While there are similarities between Biotechnology and Medical Technology as healthcare occupations, each one has its specific applications and effects on patients and society.

BiotechnologistMedical Technologist
Average Annual Salary$83,061$57,380
Projected Job Growth9% (2018-2028)5% (2022-2032)/24 average annual openings
Licenses/Certifications RequiredYesYes
Primary DutiesBiotechnologists focus on the research and development of gene therapies, vaccines and personalized medicines.Medical technologists focus on patient care and healthcare support for physicians by performing laboratory tests used in the diagnosis, treatment and management, and prevention of disorders and diseases.

What Does a Biotechnologist Do?

What Does a Biotechnologist Do - Image

Biotechnologists use their knowledge and skills in biology, engineering and technology in the development of new products and processes for society’s benefit. Biofuels, pest-resistant and nutrition-enhanced crops, and diagnostics tests for the detection of diseases are a few examples of their work. 

While their specific duties differ based on their specific workplace and job, biotechnologists perform the following main roles and responsibilities: 

Biotechnologists usually work with other STEM professionals, such as biologists, chemists and environmental specialists, in finding solutions for Biotechnology-related issues, too. As such, it’s important to network with professionals while in graduate school!

Being a successful biotechnologist requires a strong sense of scientific curiosity and passion for research. You must also have strong skills in using laboratory tools, technologies, and techniques as a result of your college education, internship and work experience. 

Biotechnologists must also possess strong skills in critical thinking, problem-solving and communication since their work involves finding solutions and working with others. Their work also demands attention to detail because of the precision required in their research work, adaptability to new technologies and techniques, and awareness of Biotechnology ethics and its issues.

You should also be persistent, creative and resilient because a biotechnologist’s work means multiple failures.

Biotechnologist Education and Career Paths

Keep in mind being a successful biotechnologist also requires strong STEM skills! During your high school years, you should do well in STEM subjects, including:

You will gain a deeper understanding of biological and biochemical processes, develop your quantitative skills, and gain knowledge about computational tools, which are crucial in Biotechnology. 

If it’s possible, you can also take International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) courses in chemistry, physics, biology and math. You will not only earn college credits, but your strong knowledge of STEM in graduate studies prepares you for a challenging and rewarding Biotechnology career. 

Your choice of a bachelor’s degree will depend on your preference, too, but the best disciplines for a Biotechnology career are Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, Biology, or Biochemistry. The common courses in these academic programs include:

Career advancement opportunities await biotechnologists with a Master’s in Biotechnology degree. In the case of college professors, Biotechnology researchers, and leaders in the Biotechnology industry, doctoral degrees are an advantage!

Of course, your work experience, continuing education, and lifelong learning courses can lead to professional certifications are valuable for promotions.

With your college degree, professional certification and work experience, you have many career paths to choose from, including: 

If you choose Biotechnology as a career path, you will find many job opportunities in the healthcare industry as well as in government agencies, colleges and universities, and manufacturing companies, to name a few examples. 

Biotechnologists can earn professional certifications granted by the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (ASBMB) or the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Laboratory and biosafety certifications may also be earned, like the Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certifications. These professional certifications demonstrate their commitment to excellence in their profession and to continuing education, which can also result in job promotions.  

A Career in Biotechnology Is for You If: 

A Career in Biotechnology Is Not a Great Fit If You: 

What Does a Medical Technologist Do?

What Does a Medical Technologist Do - Image

Also called clinical laboratory scientists, medical technologists perform a wide range of laboratory tests as requested by doctors and other healthcare professionals necessary in the diagnosis and detection, treatment and management, and prevention of disorders and diseases.

Medical technologists provide healthcare support; their work allow medical professionals to make informed decisions. 

Their specific responsibilities include: 

Due to the crucial importance of their healthcare support roles, medical technologists must possess analytical skills that are necessary for determining the presence of abnormalities in the samples collected.

Their work also requires them to be detail-oriented in following laboratory protocols, be careful when handling samples and laboratory equipment, and be physically and mentally healthy for the job.

Their dealings with patients, usually when collecting samples, also mean possessing good interpersonal skills or bedside manners, as these are called in the medical field.

Medical Technologist Education and Career Paths

As with Biotechnology, a career in Medical Technology means being proficient in math and science. Your academic performance in STEM subjects, including Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Math, must be above average. 

The most common bachelor’s degrees among successful medical technologists are: 

Many bachelor’s degree programs also offer specializations or concentrations, such as:

Among the major courses are:

With a background in undergraduate or graduate-level Medical Science or Medical Research, you can easily embark on the Medical Technology field! Students in these advanced-level academic programs are usually required to complete supervised clinical rotations in healthcare settings, such as hospital laboratories.

Their hands-on experiences complement their acquired knowledge and skills in addition to increasing their network and employment opportunities. 

If you choose to become a medical technologist, you can also pursue a specialization. Choices include:

You must undergo additional training and certification for specialization, meaning more time, effort and money spent after earning your bachelor’s degree. 

With a bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology or a related field, your most obvious career path is becoming a medical technologist. You can also become a: 

Aside from hospital and clinic laboratories, you can also work in research laboratories, public health laboratories, and the Biotechnology industry. With a master’s degree or a doctoral degree, you can also teach in K-12 schools colleges and universities. 

Many states require medical technologists to secure a license, such as California, Nevada and Montana. A state-issued license has specific requirements, such as professional certification, so it’s best to check with your state board for more information. 

Professional certifications can be earned from industry associations, such as the American Association of Bioanalysts, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Medical Technologists

 A Career in Medical Technology Is for You If: 

A Career in Medical Technology Is Not a Great Fit If You: 

When choosing between these occupations, you must consider your personal interests and professional goals, even your desired impact on society. You may, for example, choose Biotechnology because of its larger societal impact or Medical Technology because of its direct impact on patient care.

Either way, enroll in top graduate schools featuring innovative technology to get the best training or education!

Biotechnology vs Medical Technology - fact

Whatever your choice, you will find that being in the healthcare industry can be challenging, but it’s also a rewarding career!

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