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Biotechnology at a Glance (Discontinued pending SACS-COC approval)

image of a clinical lab technician working on an experiment

What does a biological or clinical lab technician do?

  • Uses the tools of biotechnology in tests and experiments that can make medical diagnoses, create genetically altered agricultural strains, develop pollution-fighting microbes for environmental and industrial applications and use DNA fingerprinting in forensic investigations.
  • A biological technician, often requiring a bachelor’s degree, helps laboratory scientists set up, operate and maintain laboratory instruments; monitor experiments; calculate and record results; and analyze organic substances such as blood, food and drugs
  • A clinical laboratory technician, for which an associate degree usually qualifies, performs routine laboratory tests under supervision of lab professionals
  • Almost all biotechnology-related positions work in a lab setting and require communication with scientists and medical staff, often for the benefit of patients but with no hands-on patient contact

What is the career outlook?

  • Extremely diverse job opportunities, especially when combined with additional training; employers include agricultural companies, colleges and universities, food processing industries, industrial companies, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies and large research institutions, both public and private
  • Job settings are in a laboratory setting with a standard 40-hour workweek typical
  • Biological technicians: expected job growth in Texas 22 percent through 2018, with median salaries $16.02 per hour or $33,300 annually* 
    Dallas County: median salaries $21.59 per hour or $44,000 annually*
  • Clinical laboratory technicians: expected job growth in Texas 23 percent through 2018, with median salaries $16.03 per hour or $33,300 annually*
    Dallas County: median salaries $16.45 per hour or $34,200 annually*

Statistics are included only as guidelines and will vary with fluctuations in the economy and job market. More specific local hiring and salary information can be obtained at college information sessions.

Awards and coursework El Centro Credit hours Continuing Education contact hours
Biotechnology Associate in Applied Sciences DegreeX71-72 
Biotechnology CertificateX29-30 
Although licensure is not required to work as a laboratory technician in the state of Texas, almost all lab tech employers require the appropriate level of education from an accredited institution and certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).  For more information, visit the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science website

Measures of effectiveness El Centro
Employment rates for graduates**85.71%

Who can help me decide which health science career is right for me?

Contact the Health Careers Resource Center.

What more do I need to know?

  • Acceptance to the Biotechnology program is by acceptance to El Centro or other DCCCD college and completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Learn more about Biotechnology

*America’s Career Infonet 2011 data for biological technicians and medical and clinical laboratory technicians
**Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Perkins 2009-2010