Biotechnology salary in South Africa

In simple terms, biotechnology involves hacking the different elements of life. Doing this brings about new products that become the solution to many problems we face worldwide. This is a very interesting but tasking occupation which is why biotechnologists earn a lot monthly.

Do you want to become a biotechnologist in South Africa and you are worried about how much they earn? In this post, we will provide you information about how much biotechnologists earn in South Africa. Before we do that, let’s take a look at some very important and helpful pieces of information.

Biotechnology salary in South Africa

Biotechnology salary in South Africa

Who is a biotechnologist?

Many people confuse biotechnologists for microbiologists or some other jobs related to biology. There is a huge difference so let’s spill it, who is a biotechnologist? A biotechnologist is a research scientist who invests time in developing new or enhanced products to support natural or biological processes.

The results of their experiments are products that can be used on a daily basis to make our lives better. At this point, we should let you know that this field is quite broad. We might not be able to go into full details about the different aspects of this post since this is not the crux of the article.

Job description

Several disciplines are related to biotechnology such as biochemistry and microbiology. It is the job of the biotechnologist to study the characteristics and workings of biological organisms. They have to begin their studies from the gene level up to the molecular and cellular levels until they have covered the whole organism.

The more understanding about these organisms they gain, the easier it becomes to create new and enhanced products from them. A biotechnologist is saddled with the responsibility of making human life better by churning out new products from living organisms. Examples of such products include medicines, biofuels, disease-resistant crops, etc.

As a result of this, biotechnologists can work in a variety of industries. Regardless of the field, they find themselves, a lot of their work is carried out in the laboratory and is geared at performing extensive research.

Duties of biotechnologists

Like we mentioned above, biotechnologists work in so many fields. The field of work affects the duties of the individual to a large extent. For example, a biotechnologist who works in academics focuses more on carrying out research that will be published to benefit students. On the other hand, a biotechnologist working in an agro-allied company has a duty of developing disease-resistant crop strains.

However, there are certain duties of biotechnologists that cut across all the fields of work. Here are some of these duties:

  1. Working to synthesize chemicals in the laboratory.
  2. Carrying out research and submitting results to the industry they find themselves.
  3. Checking for the effects (positive or negative) of different chemicals on daily life and life processes.
  4. Overseeing complex experiments and projects on behalf of their employers.
  5. Overseeing the laboratory to ensure that all lab equipment is safe and in good working condition.
  6. Providing reports on project development life cycles.

Required education to become a biotechnologist

So many fields are linked to biotechnology and as a result, you can study several courses to end up as a biotechnologist. If you want to be a researcher, then it is important that you acquire a Ph.D. This is the requirement in many fields of science.

On the other hand, if you want to work in many other fields as a biotechnologist, a bachelor’s or master’s degree will suffice. However, you should note that usually, qualification levels determine how well you will be paid.

For undergraduate studies, you might want to consider the following courses as your majors:

  1. Biology
  2. Biomedical science
  3. Agricultural sciences
  4. Chemistry

In some universities, you have dedicated courses but they are mostly broken down into more specific content. It is very important for students who want to study biotechnology to be vast in mathematics, physical sciences, and life sciences.

Career options for biotechnologists

You probably have noticed that most biotechnologists don’t have a general title. The titles they carry are based on the different positions they hold in their different organizations. For example, you see biochemists (who focus on genetics and cell mechanisms) and biophysicists (who are more interested in physical processes).

Agricultural scientists devote their time to studying food crops with the aim of maximizing harvests. They also work on enhancing plants survival abilities which may involve making use of genetic engineering. Biomedical scientists research on different substances that help in combating diseases.

Finally, bioinformaticians study data presented by biotechnologists in different fields as well as significant trends.

Joining a professional society

After studying to become a biotechnologist, it is always advised that the individual joins a professional society. Such societies help to bring together biotechnologists from different industries. This helps the professionals to share the latest breakthroughs in the industry and also collaborate.

Many of these professional societies organize conferences and push for different levels of advocacy. They also foster professional networking and present the opportunity for furthering education at a more specialized level.

The truth is that it is not essential to be a part of a professional society. However, joining one puts one on a different platform with so many advantages, some of which we have mentioned above.

Biotechnology salary in South Africa

Back to the question, how much does a biotechnologist earn in South Africa? The usual amount per month is 33,400 ZAR. The range is between 4,250 ZAR (lowest amount possible) and 50,200 ZAR. It could be way higher depending on the organization, location, and the individual’s qualification.

The monthly salary includes transportation, housing, as well as other benefits. For you to earn more as a biotechnologist, you have to grow in the sector and gain a lot of experience and certifications.


There you have it, the information about how much a biotechnologist earns in South Africa. We have also shown you what you need to do to become a biotechnologist. If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments section.