Associate of Biotechnology: Degree Overview
Biotechnology is a combination of biology and technology that uses cells and molecules to find solutions to human and environmental problems. An associate's degree program in biotechnology can prepare students for entry-level careers in laboratories.
Associate Degree in Biotechnology
Students enrolled in associate's degree programs in biotechnology can learn how to perform a myriad of tasks in molecular biology laboratories. These duties include isolating proteins, analyzing data and completing lab experiments. These 2-year degree programs tend to be lab-intensive and prepare graduates for employment in a biotech laboratory.
Some schools offer two separate tracks for students to choose from, including a transfer track and a track for immediate employment. The transfer track is geared toward students who want to continue their education with a bachelor's degree or further, while the immediate employment track is ideal for those who want to find a job after graduation. Most programs are available at community colleges and technical schools.
To enroll in most associate's degree programs in biotechnology, students typically need a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges recommend that applicants complete specific biology, chemistry and algebra courses prior to enrollment.
In addition to general education courses, students typically complete courses in specialized areas of biology and chemistry. A student may also partake in an internship in order to work with a biotechnology company or assist university faculty members. Courses may include:
- Inorganic chemistry
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Associate's degree holders can seek immediate employment in laboratory settings where they can help researchers in a variety of subjects, such as pharmaceutical, medical research, governmental and legal issues. They may be able to work their way up in the ranks with experience or additional education. Some career options include:
- Research technician or assistant to biologists or chemists
- Agricultural research assistant
- Process technician
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for biological technicians are predicted to increase by 10% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). As estimated by the BLS in 2012, these technicians received an average annual salary of $42,600.
Continuing Education Information
If students opt to further their education, they can seek out bachelor's degree programs in biotechnology, and eventually master's and doctoral degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs typically expand upon associate's degree programs and offer students additional internship opportunities. The graduate degree programs prepare students for work as biological scientists or researchers, and can allow students to learn about bioengineering and biomedical science.
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