Biotech business career or PT school?

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Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby EPG » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:45 pm

I am a recent graduate with a Bachelor's in Exercise Physiology and was accepted to the M.S. in Biotechnology program at Johns Hopkins.

I am VERY on the fence about whether to pursue a career in biotech/pharma through this Johns Hopkins route or whether to pursue a DPT and become a physical therapist.

From a different forum that I saw on the internet, some people said that this degree from Johns Hopkins may not be the best for someone trying to get their foot in the industry, but better for someone who is already in the field and looking to further their education or make the transition from the research laboratory side of things to the business side.

Also, people are speculating that the degree may be useless and somewhat of a scam since it is offered fully online, does not require GRE, accepts just about everyone, etc.

I know it is ultimately my decision, but I would really appreciate any insight and advice regarding either field.
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Re: Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby PG » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:51 pm

The career paths that you get from your two options are very different so I think that the first step for you is to decide what you actually want to do and not how you should get there. If you make the decision that you want to study biotechnology you can start thinking about different career paths in that area and how you can reach your goals.

Regarding the specific program. If almost any other school than Johns Hopkins had been giving the onine training that you are talking about I would have put the value of that training to very close to nothing. Everything online, no real restrictions on the number of people who can attend (as long as they pay) etc doesnt signal good value. Johns Hopkins is a well known Medical University which may change this value but our US posters will probably be better at giving advice on how much impact that would actually have.

Looking at the webpage of the program it seems that some of the courses are actually on site rather than online and contains for example laboratory training. This increases the value of the program but it is again difficult to say how much especially if you chose to do Everything online. I assume they have restrictions on the number of people who can attend the on site trainings.

The program also seems to have different paths, one of which is a more business oriented path that as you say often have a higher value once you already have experience from the field. This is similar to advice given in this forum about people aiming for a MBA.

Most people joining industry after attending a biotech program does that in some type of laboratory position which requires laboratory training and without Reading all the details it looks like that would also be possible within this program.
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Re: Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:58 pm

Hello EPG -- First off, thank you for allowing me to change your username because we definitely do not use "chat room" style names on this professional discussion forum. This is noted on the front page in the instructions for new posters. Welcome to the discussion!

Let me contrast these two opportunities -- and I wholeheartedly agree with our long-term poster and contributor, PG, who really hit the nail on the head when he said you need to look down the road and see which career track feels best to you (because the are indeed so different).

I would avoid an "MS in Biotechnology" if you can, because most of those programs are cash-cow's for the Universities that run them, and they don't really align you well with the job market. You learn very little that will get you an immediate admittance to biotech companies. I would ask any such program for their stats on the number of people placed, where they went, what kinds of jobs they are in, and so on. Biotechnology is a big, big word and it means so many different kinds of careers and businesses. Perhaps there's another program with more focus on one field. I'd take an MS in Microbiology, for example, over an "MS in Biotechnology." The focus allows you to actually go out and get a job in that niche.

Physical Therapy is a hot field right now. Plenty of gainful employment. . . If you go to one of the best schools, like Northern Arizona University for example, you'll get employed without much of a fuss. Searching for a job in biotech is much harder. So, I think the key is for you to figure out exactly what job you'd like to be in five years down the road and back up from there.

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Re: Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby F.Z. » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:13 pm

Agree with Dave, rather than going for the M$ in something you don't know if you like or have experience in. Try getting positions in either biotech or PT (later might be easier) and see what you like? It will be harder to break into biotech with your degree but not impossible, I would try a CRO nearby.
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Re: Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby Nate W. » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:51 am

The John Hopkins program is mostly for government employees who want to learn about the regulatory issues of biotech and/or bioterrorism. It is terribly expensive and offers no laboratory classes. You would be better off in a PhD or MS program with a thesis. If you were an employee of the FDA with a JD or MBA, I could see how this program would be helpful for your job. However, thinking a MS in bioterrorism is going to land a nice research position in biotech over an experienced a MS or PhD in Immunology with a thesis is foolish. It is not the same education.

If you are truly interested in PT, go to PT school because there are many more job opportunities in a clinical field than in the life sciences. When you go the research or non-clinical route, you limit your opportunities due to specialization. This is why I advocate that MS/PhD should get another degree to broaden their training and/or go clinical. This will increase the job opportunities.

Sadly in the US we respect MDs more than scientists
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Re: Biotech business career or PT school?

Postby D.X. » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:39 pm


Sorry late - just want to emphasize Dave's point, that both paths are very different. In one path, PT, you are trained in an very specialized Allied Heatlh Profession involving direct patient care. It would be an add on to your undergrad and allow your to be licensed practioner - PT has been a historically hot area as are most Allied Heath Professions. You work in a clinic - and as you grow you can get in to the business admistration and aspects of PT. All centered on direct patient care.

The other path is business which is nothing to do with patient care in terms of direct patient contact and clinical practice. Biotech as Dave mentioned is a big word and so is business. You will work in an office and live in a corporate environment - be it a start up or established firm. You will be doing business things. To the extent a MS in Biotechnology will help you in business is debatable as noted by others or say any advanced education or investment in education - contrast using what you have to get into business.

if you do want to get into business and in biotech, i recommend you first determne what jobs exactly you want, then plot a plan. Do informational interviewing with those holding careers and jobs you are intrested in. I doubt you will find that a MS in Biotechnology is of any value. Rather you might find other eductional investments are.

Hope this helps more, it comes down to you figuring what it is you want. Do think also about your personal life ambitions outside of career and cross check your gut and heart to understand where your passions are and where you can find most satisfaction.


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