How to Choose a School for an Aspiring Biotechnology Lab Assistant

Community and vocational colleges around the nation offer associate degree and certificate programs for biotechnology lab assistants. Associate programs include science courses and learning basic laboratory skills. Certificate programs focus on advanced laboratory techniques and business skills to run a biotechnology lab.

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Associate degree programs in biotechnology lab assisting are available primarily at 2-year community colleges and vocational schools. Entry-level and post-baccalaureate certificate programs may be available at these schools as well.

Schools with Biotechnology Lab Assistant Programs

These schools offer undergraduate training for aspiring biotechnology lab assistants:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Madison Area Technical College Madison, WI 2-year, Public Associate degree, Post-baccalaureate Certificate $4,217
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 4-year, Public Associate degree $5,375
Butler Community College El Dorado, KS 2-year, Public Certificate $3,565
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh, PA 2-year, Public Associate degree, Post-baccalaureate Certificate $7,298
Santa Ana College Santa Ana, CA 2-year, Public Certificate $1,142
Solano Community College Fairfield, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate degree $1,416
Manhattan Area Technical College Manhattan, KS 2-year, Public Post-baccalaureate Certificate $4,900
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate degree $2,046
Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, KY 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate degree $3,704

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students interested in biotechnology lab assistant programs may want to keep these considerations in mind when selecting their program:

  • Find out if the school has industry ties with agricultural or pharmaceutical companies and can help students gain exposure to potential employers.
  • Choose a school that has class and lab session sizes that fit your learning style, class sizes can range from 8 to 35 students.
  • Get information about tuition, fees and financial assistance options.
  • Find out if the program has a transfer agreement with other schools, allowing students to apply the credits they earn toward a higher level program.

Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Associate Degree Program

These programs prepare students for entry-level positions at biotechnology labs. The program teaches fundamental laboratory skills, communication strategies and techniques for producing commercial products from biological systems.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

This program, geared toward students with bachelor's degrees in biological science, develops vocational skills by simulating the creative and technical tasks required in a biotechnology company. There is a strong focus on the business skills needed to run a successful biotechnology lab. The coursework delves into advanced laboratory techniques such as bioinformatics and microarrays.

Through either an associate degree or certificate program, students who want to become assistants in biotechnology labs can learn standard biological lab techniques and gain familiarity with the industry.

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