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What is Biotechnology?
  Biotechnology Programs      
Biotech Programs
 Community Colleges I Four-year Universities I Continuing Education 
'Where do I go to get trained and how much education do I need for a job in the biotechnology industry?'
Some entry-level jobs exist for people who have only a high school diploma. However, most jobs require more education and training and in general, the better an individual is educated or trained, the more job opportunities will be available to them. San Diego students can choose to go to a community college, a four-year university or a school of continuing education for education and/or training. Education and training are both important; education is theoretical background and training is hands-on or practical experience.

Community Colleges
A student at one of San Diego's community colleges can earn a two-year associate degree (A.A. or A.S.), which gives them a general educational background and/or a certificate of completion in biotechnology. Community colleges have open enrollment; however some courses may have prerequisites. Certificate programs, which vary in focus and length, offer hands-on training in the specialized techniques used in biotechnology. Students in certificate program include high-school graduates, students with degrees, or working professionals who want practical experience in a biotechnology laboratory or manufacturing environment. Such experience is helpful to those who want to enter the field, incumbent workers who want career advancement, as well as those who want to transition from another career into biotechnology. Many students begin their education at a community college and then transfer to a four-year university. However, in many cases, an A.A. or an A.S. or a certificate can qualify someone for certain entry-level jobs in the industry.

San Diego Miramar College

Four-year Universities
San Diego is home to premier four-year universities. A student at a university can earn his or her bachelors degree (B.A. or B.S.), or further their education and training by earning graduate degrees (M.S., Ph.D.). Universities require that students fulfill certain admission requirements. Graduates with a bachelors or a graduate science degree and training are prepared for a variety of job opportunities in the biotechnology industry. Graduates of bachelor degree programs often find jobs as research assistants and research associates, especially if they have a combination of theoretical knowledge and hands-on laboratory training. Graduates of M.S. degree programs typically have more experience and hands-on training and are employed above entry level as research associates and research scientists. Graduates of Ph.D. programs are usually qualified to be research scientists and take on more management responsibility.

San Diego State University

Continuing Education
Schools of continuing education, or extension programs, are sometimes associated with a four- year university or can be free-standing organizations. In either case, these schools do not have the rigorous admission application required by the four-year universities. Schools of continuing education provide post-baccalaureate courses, specialized training programs, certificates, and workshops to the community. In general, these schools offer classes to those who want to improve their existing job situation, transition into different jobs, or gain personal enrichment. Students and professionals in the biotechnology field can benefit in many ways from these programs.



The San Diego Biotechnology Education Consortium (SDBEC) is a forum for the life sciences education community whose goal is to more closely align curriculum with industry need.  SDBEC is part of the California Community Colleges “Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy” program.

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