Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the program students will be able to:
- Demonstrate the ability to use sound ethical reasoning when discussing biological science and the use of biotechnological techniques.
- Apply the knowledge of biological science to distinguish between observations, inferences, relationships, and testimonials under investigation.
- Employ the appropriate techniques effectively and safely, including the appropriate use of equipment and tools to produce an acceptable outcome when performing a technical laboratory task.
Biotechnology programs prepare people to work in the bioscience industry in the areas of research and development, quality systems, production, clinical testing, and diagnostic work. Potential employers include biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as clinical laboratories in hospitals, universities, government, and independent settings. As the biotechnology industry expands more people will be needed to train new workers and manage bioscience facilities.
Persons with specialized graduate level training in the biological sciences and/or chemistry may choose careers as genetic engineers, biochemists, microbiologists, immunologists, enzymologists, and bioprocess engineers. Persons with a bachelor's degree or associate's degree in biotechnology may work in a variety of technical positions such as laboratory technicians, research technicians, manufacturing technicians, plant technicians and operators, assay analysts, and quality control and quality assurance assistants.
Graduates of community college biotechnology programs may obtain entry level work in the bioscience industry and may advance rapidly with on-the-job experience and continued academic work.
Persons with graduate level training in the biosciences hold a variety of positions as researchers, bioprocess engineers, managers, and teachers. Using the principles of biotechnology, researchers conduct basic research to develop new processes and products that have application to medical or pharmaceutical areas or commercial applications in the agriculture, food, and chemical industries. Bioprocess engineers design and manage production processes to aid in production recovery, purification, and quality control. They may also isolate, screen, and select the microbes, the enzymes, and the environment best suited for each production process. Bioscientists with an aptitude for or training in management often assume supervisory and administrative positions in the biotechnology industry.
Biotechnology technicians perform experiments and assays, manufacture products, or assist with research using a variety of technical skills. Specific job functions may include responsibility for testing procedures, product manufacturing, material processing, monitoring and record keeping, equipment maintenance, inventory control, inspection techniques and use of standards for quality assurance, collection and evaluation of data, and assisting with research. Technicians also observe and document safe practices, communicate and document information, and assist in complying with government regulations.
Qualifications and Skills Needed
Most scientist, research, teaching, and administrative positions in biotechnology require graduate level training. Such positions require that applicants have a sound knowledge of the principles of biotechnology and the creativity, reasoning ability, and persistence to apply them to technical and practical issues. Applicants should also be able to work independently or as part of a team and be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
Persons with a bachelor's or associate's degree in biotechnology may work as technicians, assistants, and support personnel. In addition to specific industry-related knowledge, technical workers should have strong communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and organizational skills. They need to be alert, persistent, observant, and able to work independently or as part of a team under supervision.