Laboratory and biological safety training programs are designed to cover the fundamentals and regulations of laboratory safety, along with biosafety levels 1-4, which are the severity levels of possible infection categorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov). Training may be offered online, as well as through classroom training. Specific programs in hazardous material shipping and animal handling are also available.
Some training or certificate programs require a formal educational background in science, such as a bachelor's degree in a related field. Training is usually designed for multiple scientific personnel, including researchers, laboratory technicians and laboratory technologists. Biosafety specialists might earn certifications by passing the examinations that are administered by the American Biological Safety Association.
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Graduate Certificate Programs in Laboratory and Biological Safety
Training prepares students to properly handle hazardous and harmful materials common in science labs and includes the proper response methods in the event of contamination. Safety materials, biological hazards, risk agents and precautionary measures are also studied. Courses cover topics such as:
- Biological safety fundamentals
- Laboratory safety and mechanics
- Toxin regulations
- Pathogen characteristics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a 16% job growth is expected for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians from 2014-2024. The median annual wage for these professionals, as of May 2015, was $50,550.
Depending on the school or organization, refresher courses may be needed every few years. Prospective biosafety professionals may seek certification through the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA), which can be earned by passing an examination (www.absa.gov). The ABSA requires an educational and professional background in microbiology and biosafety management for biosafety professional certification.
Because safety is paramount in laboratory environments, a comprehensive training in the field is essential for lab personnel. Most programs cover a wide range of biological risks as well as the corresponding safety responses in order to ensure that lab workers are prepared for any situation.