What to expect from a career in Biotechnology

Biotechnology breakthroughs have been integral in advancing the way we live, through enhancing crops, creating new diagnostic tests and treatments for diseases, finding ways to deal with and decrease harmful waste, creating household products and much more. In biotechnology programs at Ontario colleges, students use leading-edge technology to continue this invaluable work.

If you’re scientific-minded, enjoy problem-solving and want a career in the field of biotechnology, here’s what you need to know.

Biotechnology Courses

Biotechnology programs combine multiple areas of science and technology with the research and development of numerous types of living organisms. Courses cover a wide range of scientific subjects, from microbiology, chemistry and molecular biology to genetic engineering, pharmacology and virology. Course subjects may include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Cloning
  • Fermentation
  • Tissue culture
  • Immunology

During lab time, students learn various techniques and processes for handling DNA, bacteria, plant cells and much more.

Biotechnology programs are offered as two- or three-year diplomas, as well as four-year applied degrees. All of these programs offer similar courses, with the difference being the depth of learning, length of work placements and the addition of specialized courses in longer programs.

General Biotechnology Program Requirements

Biotechnology programs typically require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including grade 12 English and grade 12 math credits. Additional science credits are usually required, but vary depending on the institution.

For applied degree programs, students usually need an OSSD or equivalent, with six grade 12 U or M courses, including English, math, biology and chemistry.

Biotechnology Jobs and Salaries

Graduates of Ontario college biotechnology programs will work as biotechnology technicians or technologists and research assistants in a wide variety of fields, including (but not limited to):

  • Bio-medicine and forensics
  • Quality control / assurance
  • Pharmaceutical development
  • Environmental protection
  • Agriculture and food production

Work environments will range from bioresearch facilities and plant nurseries to government and academic labs, manufacturing and production plants, and diagnostic laboratories.

The average starting salary for biotechnology technicians and technologists is around $28,000 per year, but should increase with experience. Graduates of applied degree programs have a higher average starting salary of around $37,000 per year.

Ontario Colleges Offering Biotechnology Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of biotechnology programs at Ontario colleges. 

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