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Overview of Associate Degree Programs in Biotechnology

Majors Overview April 21, 2013

Biotechnology is a combination of technology and biology that uses molecules and cells to discover solutions to environmental and human problems. Students who want to prepare themselves for entry-level careers in laboratories should pursue an associate degree program in biotechnology.

Biotechnology Associate Degree Program

Associate degree programs in biotechnology are devised to make students adept in performing various tasks in molecular biology labs, including the isolation of proteins, analysis of data and completion of lab experiments. It takes students two years to complete these lab-intensive programs. Two separate tracks are offered at several schools including a track that leads to an immediate entry level job in the field, and another track that allow students to transfer credits to a bachelor degree program or further continued education. Technical schools and community colleges offer most programs.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria in most associate degree programs in biotechnology require students to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma. Applicants are required to complete specific algebra, chemistry, and biology courses at some colleges prior to enrollment.

Program Coursework

Typically, students will need to complete courses in specialized areas of chemistry and biology, as well as basic educational courses. In order for students to assist university faculty members or work with a biotechnology company, they are required to partake in an internship. Program course topics may include:

•Genetics
•Inorganic chemistry
•Bioinformatics
•Genetics
•Microbiology

Career Options

Individuals who hold an associate degree may seek immediate employment in laboratory environments where they can help researchers in various subjects, including legal issues, governmental, medical research, and pharmaceutical. Along with additional education and experience, individuals may move up in ranks within an organization. Possible career options may include:

•Process technician
•Agricultural research assistant
•Research assistant or technician to chemists or biologists
•Biotechnician

Information on Continuing Education

Students who want to further their education may pursue a bachelor degree program in biotechnology, and eventually master and doctoral degree programs. Typically, bachelor degree program in biotechnology expand upon associate degree program in biotechnology and provide students with additional internship opportunities. Students who want to work as a biological researchers or scientists should pursue the master degree program; the degree program will allow students to learn about biomedical science and bioengineering.

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