Career OverviewAn animal biotechnologist is a specialized position that deals with the biotechnology of animal production and reproduction. Often animal biotechnologists are involved in genetic experiments or using biotechnology to increase dairy, meat or other products obtained from animals. Often animal biotechnologists also work to improve or enhance the various characteristics of different types of meat, egg and dairy producing animals.
Animal biotechnologists work both in the laboratory settings and in the research farms and production areas. The unique aspect of being an animal biotechnologist is that you are working with both the detailed picture as well as the big picture that affects both animals and humans.
Often an animal biotechnologist works with a particular aspect of animal production including increasing the muscle mass of dairy production for beef animals, egg laying potential of chickens, beef animals, sheep or pigs. Biogenetics, molecular genetics, biology, chemistry and organic chemistry are all key factors in the skills and knowledge set of an animal biotechnologist.
The animal biotechnologist is often the supervisor or lead person on the research team. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are critical for keeping the people working together and sticking to research deadlines.
Career RequirementsMost animal biotechnologist have at least a Master’s level education in one of the life sciences areas. These may include animal science, zoology, biology, genetics, or various combinations of the above. Masters level animal biotechnologists are not usually involved in the independent research projects but are very often employed as team members, possibly in mid level supervisory positions.
A PhD is required for independent researchers or tenure at most universities and research facilities.
Job OutlookWith the increasing emphasis on safe, effective and efficient production of meats, dairy and poultry products there is a steady demand for trained animal biotechnologists. The combination of both large animal work and research based lab work allows the animal biotechnologist to specialize in their area of study as well as the environment that they would like to work in.
Some of the animal biotechnologist positions are on a contract basis so the opportunity to move around a given area or even work internationally has great appeal to many animal biotechnologists. There is a great demand for researchers in many of the developing countries and animal biotechnologists are often some of the most in demand positions in advanced research.
Career TrackAs with most of the biotechnology jobs there is always possibilities for advancement into management positions in most small and large research facilities and production areas. In addition it is possible for animal biotechnologist to seek employment as professors and faculty in research universities and colleges.
Private sector companies also hire animal biotechnologists to work as project directors or research designers and consultants.
CompensationAnimal biotechnologist working in various aspects of the research and development of various products will have varying salaries for several factors. Those animal biotechnologists working for private research facilities often earn more per year but may have less job security or may not have as many benefits to their employment.
The average salary for a Masters level animal biotechnologist is approximately $38,000 to $43,000 per year with PhD level animal biotechnologists earning $65,000 to $80,000 per year average salary. Some contract positions may have increased rates of pay and may include travel and accommodations.