Do I need an MSc or a PhD to be taken seriously?
Biotechnology comes in use in many different fields, from environment conservation and agriculture, to medicine, pharmacology, healthcare and even food technology and engineering.
And there are plenty of jobs you can pursue in the broader sense of biotech. Specialists work in the private sector in research and development departments in biotech firms, in academic settings, in labs and research centres, and other corporate environments where they combine biotech knowledge with IT, law, market research, or scientific writing. So as you can see, there are plenty of job prospects when it comes to biotech, the hard part is to figure out what you actually want to do.
Let’s take them one by one.
If you want to go the research and development route in biotech companies, then yes, you need at least a master qualification, preferably a PhD. You can do it without, but it won’t get you far. So if you’re thinking this might be your preferred career choice, then it might be worth spending a few more years in school and getting your higher degrees.
Then, for remaining in academia, doing research and lecturing are your options. For research only, you can join a research institute or do lab only work within a department. A PhD is mandatory, and a post-doc is encouraged. In this type of job you also need to learn to apply for funding, and more often than not work in a team, and along the way also train students of your own. An academic environment is also a great career path for teaching and lecturing. It’s a rewarding career, you get to work with young minds, mentor them, see them grow.
Finally, a very large sector of jobs promises a type of career that’s interdisciplinary, that uses your knowledge in biotech but also your academic or professional background in other disciplines. You may find some career opportunities in law or IP (intellectual property) rights, in market research, journalism or scientific writing, and IT. There are generally jobs that do not require further education.
So as you can see, plenty to choose from. My advice is to find a good mentor to help you navigate this job market. It’s a growing industry so I’d say you’re in the right place.