Some schools with biotechnology associate's degree programs 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.
Applicants to these 2-year programs need a GED or high school diploma, and some schools recommend completion of specific biology, chemistry and algebra coursework prior to enrollment. Once enrolled, students will participate in lab intensive courses, and internships may be offered with biotechnology companies.
Associate of Biotechnology
In addition to general education courses, students typically complete courses in specialized areas of biology and chemistry. Courses may include:
- Inorganic chemistry
Popular Career Options
Biotechnology is a combination of biology and technology that uses cells and molecules to find solutions to human and environmental problems. Associate's degree holders can seek entry-level employment in laboratory settings where they might 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
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for biological technicians are predicted to increase by 5% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As estimated by the BLS in May of 2015, these technicians received an average annual salary of $45,230.
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.
An associate's degree program in biotechnology gives students the background in biology and chemistry necessary to enter careers in laboratory settings as technicians. Graduates can expect positive job growth and may choose to earn a bachelor's degree in the field.