Schools for Aspiring Health Biotechnology Technicians: How to Choose

Students interested in biotechnology are likely to study biology, chemistry and laboratory techniques while enrolled in a biotech program. Biotechnology has a wide range of applications, from medicine to agriculture, so students can expect to find varied research environments. Accredited certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs are available in the field.

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Students who want to become biotechnology technicians can find training programs at community colleges, technical schools and 4-year colleges and universities. Areas of focus in these programs may include molecular biology, genetics and protein chemistry, and laboratory classes can involve cell and tissue culture, molecular diagnostics or bioinformatics.

Schools with Biotechnology Programs

Biotechnology programs are available at these schools:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Austin Community College District Austin, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $9,210 (In-state undergraduate); $11,340 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-year, Primarily associate's, Public Certificate $2,830 (In-state undergraduate); $9,944 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $4,115 (In-state undergraduate); $7,992 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Lone Star College System Montgomery, TX 2-year, Public Associate's $3,184 (In-state undergraduate); $3,544 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $2,046 (In-state undergraduate); $7,830 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's $5,138 (In-state undergraduate); $11,055 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA 4-year, Public Master's $19,328 (In-state graduate); $33,142 (Out-of-state graduate)
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT 2-year, Public Associate's $3,569 (In-state undergraduate); $11,337 (Out-of-state undergraduate)
St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 4-year, Primarily associate's, Public Certificate $3,352 (In-state undergraduate); $11,607 (Out-of-state undergraduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Biotechnology Lab Technician
  • Science Technologies

School Selection Criteria

There are a number of things to think about before selecting a biotechnology program:

  • Look for schools with on-campus laboratories that offer the latest industry technology, such as cell culture facilities, DNA sequencers and cytology screening devices.
  • Search for programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
  • Some programs are available through online study, which may appeal to students who are employed or may have difficulty relocating.
  • Certain schools may offer transfer programs so that studies in biotechnology can be applied to a bachelor's degree in biology or another discipline.

Certificate

Certificate programs can be completed in less than a year, although some require general chemistry and biology courses before admittance. Students may need to take a human relations or communications course. An internship may also be required.

Associate's Degree

An associate's degree in biotechnology meets entry-level education requirements to work as a biotechnology technician in various industries. Some degree programs share similar courses with other laboratory science programs. Usually, a core science curriculum is needed before a student can advance to the biotechnology major track. Because technicians must be able to convert data and enter it into computers, basic computer and statistics courses are also needed. Internships are commonly required for graduation.

Bachelor's Degree

Freshmen or current biotechnology technicians who wish to earn a bachelor's degree in this field can select programs based on their educational experience. These programs require the completion of multiple laboratory courses, as well as core courses. Common laboratory courses focus on safety, experimental techniques and quality control. Internship opportunities may be available.

Prospective biotechnology students can pursue a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree, with graduate studies also available. Some schools may allow students to pursue biotechnology training online.

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