Biotechnologists study living organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and viruses and use this research to develop medical, industrial and agricultural products.

Biotechnologists may work on ‘basic’ science if they’re employed by universities, or some research institutions, but job opportunities are limited due to restricted funding for this kind of research. Your chances of getting a job as a biotechnologist are highest in applied research, such as in the health sector or in the food, dairy or brewing industries.

Pay rates depend on qualifications and experience:

  • Biotechnology technicians usually earn around $35-55,000
  • Biotechnologists with Master’s degrees can earn $55-75,000
  • A scientist with a PhD may earn $76-94,000
  • Scientists who manage to secure a permanent position and lead a research team may earn $130,000 or more

Key tertiary qualifications for biotechnologists include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Bio-engineering, Chemistry, Genetics or Molecular Biology
  • A Master’s degree or PhD is generally required for work in a research role

Recommended school subjects:

  • Maths
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Careers New Zealand: Biotechnologist
Careers New Zealand: Biochemist

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Biotechnologist: People who work in this role

  • Andrew Dare

    Scientist, Andrew Dare at work

    Ben Warren

    Research Technologist, Ben Warren at work

    Laura Ward

    Research Associate, Laura Ward at work

    Lara Brian

    Research Associate, Lara Brian at work
  • Jacob Monash

    PhD Student, Jacob Monash at work

    Andrea Bubendorfer

    Senior Research Scientist, Andrea Bubendorfer at work

    Joe Tizard

    Scientist, Joe Tizard at work

    Nicky (Supinya) Dejnoprat

    Research Associate, Nicky (Supinya) Dejnoprat at work
  • Alayna Burrett

    Research Associate, Alayna Burrett at work

    Marea Whalley

    Biotechnologist, Marea Whalley at work

Biotechnologist: Companies that employ people in this job role

  • Cawthron Institute
    Cawthron Institute
    Plant & Food Research
    Plant & Food Research
  • Callaghan Innovation
    Callaghan Innovation

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation