In response to local industry needs, St. Petersburg College announces two newly accredited associate in science degrees: Biotechnology Laboratory Technology and Biomedical Engineering Technology. The programs, which recently received Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) accreditation, began at the beginning of the Summer and Fall 2016 semester.
“The biotechnology program at St. Petersburg College was specifically tailored and designed from the very beginning so that students get the exact skills that employees want,” said Michael Shamblott, a member of SPC’s Biotechnology Laboratory Technology Advisory Committee and associate professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine. “I know that if I hire graduates of SPC’s program, they will be able to perform in a lab and help me be productive.”
The Biotechnology Laboratory Technology A.S. Degree prepares graduates to work as a biological technician, a job that paid $34,500 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs can be found in clinical research, the pharmaceutical industry or for biotechnology and biomanufacturing firms.
Program Director Kathy Siegler says students are ready for the technical requirements of laboratory jobs because they get hands-on skills.
“They will be very well prepared to jump right into a biotechnology laboratory and be a productive employee,” Siegler said. “They will be better prepared to work in a biotechnology laboratory than a student with a four-year science degree.”
The Biomedical Engineering Technology A.S. Degree prepares graduates to work as a medical equipment repairer, a job with a median salary in the Tampa MSA of $40,560, as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graduates can find job opportunities at health care facilities, companies that manufacture, install, manage and service medical equipment and public health and government agencies.
Program Director Lara Sharp said that the training biomedical students receive in the program is a direct reflection of what they will see in a job, and the jobs are good.
“Biomedical Engineering Technology is an opportunity to enter a growing field with good pay that allows a student to work with technology that can make a person’s life better,” Sharp said.
“For someone who is interested in working in a medical device field, I would definitely recommend St. Petersburg College because their program is very applicable to what you’re actually going to do in the industry,” said James Moore, Director of Operations at CardioCommand, a certified medical device manufacturer based in Tampa. “Nationwide, there is a skills gap in regards to technical skills. The programs that St. Petersburg College have put in place are right on target with regards to what we need for biomedical technicians.”