Looking to Launch a Biotech Career? Start Here.

July 9, 2019

Many of the top companies in the BioHealth Capital Region (BHCR) understand that workforce development and talent planning is critical to their success.  As a region, it is also a critical component to becoming a top three bio hub by 2023. Federal agencies, state governments, top research universities, regional community colleges and a host of other public and private organizations have made the BHCR into an important resource for biotech education and professional development in the Mid Atlantic. 

The BHCR is growing rapidly with thousands of new jobs expected to come online across the next few years. Developing the workforce talent needed to sustain this growth is consistently cited by prominent industry thought leaders as an ongoing challenge, particularly for new, entry-level talent.  The good news is that the demand for talent has created tremendous job stability and growth for smart, motivated new workers.

If you live in the BHCR, or are looking to relocate here, it’s a great time to start your life science career or get the training needed to advance your skills to the next level. Check out these outstanding professional development programs, all of which are great places to start and/or advance your biotechnology career.  

Biotech Research and Education Program (BREP) at The University of Maryland

Housed within the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (MTECH), BREP is the BHCR region’s premier biotechnology, biopharmaceutical and biofuel research center. BREP has two core facilities—the Bioprocessing Scale-Up Facility (BSF) and the Biopharmaceutical Advancement Facility (BAF)—that have a long history of supporting spinoffs and startups that have become regional biotech industry anchors like MedImmune, Martek, BioFactura and Paragon Bioservices.

In addition to providing startups with less costly research and development resources, BREP offers a comprehensive certificate program in the latest bioprocessing technologies and techniques in conjunction with the University of Maryland, industry experts and additional university partners. These certificate workshops are intended for biotechnology professionals, faculty members, research scientists and students looking to enter the field or advance their careers. 

Each workshop features classroom instruction from leading faculty and hands-on experience using state-of-the-art equipment in the BSF. Attendees can choose from tracks in:

  • Cell Culture or Fermentation
  • Downstream Processing
  • Analytical Sciences Training 

BREP also maintains strong links to the Clark School of Engineering’s Fischell Department of Bioengineering which offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. The Clark School also offers a graduate certification in bioengineering.

To learn more, contact Ben Woodard, Director, Biotechnology Research and Education Program, at [email protected]

Montgomery College (MC)

Montgomery College, which has various campuses in Rockville, Germantown and Takoma Park, Maryland, offers many educational, professional development and workforce training opportunities to both new and experienced life science professionals.

The anchor of MC’s biotech programs is the Bioscience Education Center located within the Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology (PIC MC) on its Germantown, Maryland campus. 

MC offers aspiring and incumbent biotech professionals the opportunity to work in its state-of-the-art campus facilities to learn the skills and thought processes critical for success in a laboratory environment. Courses are developed with input from the local biotechnology industry in Montgomery County and integrate the theory taught in lecture with hands-on practical skills.

Programs offered include:

  • Biotechnology Associates Degree in Applied Science, which emphasizes applied laboratory skills relevant to the biotechnology industry, beginning with introductory coursework in biotechnology, biology, chemistry, and mathematics. These background courses prepare students for more rigorous upper-level applied coursework in biotechnology, biology, and chemistry taken during the second year. 
  • A Biotechnology Certificate, which prepares individuals for immediate employment in the biotechnology field. This curriculum is suitable for students currently working in the biotechnology or medical technology field who want to upgrade or update their skills or for those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in the life sciences and want additional training.
  • A Biomanufacturing Certificate, which prepares individuals for immediate employment in biomanufacturing. This certificate is suitable for students who have completed high school and desire fast entry into the biotechnology industry, for people who want to update or upgrade their skills, or for those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in the life sciences and want additional training.
  • BioTrain, offers free programs that enhance your professional skills, basic work skills, industry-relevant skills or specialized technical skills. Choose from topics designed to enhance industry-relevant knowledge for incumbent workers in biotechnology. All programs are designed with biotechnology guidance and taught by industry experts.  And, BIOTrain workshops are offered at no charge to registrants who meet the qualifications to enter the program.
  • Bio-Trac, offers advanced biotechnology training for research scientists. Bio-Trac’s hands-on workshops offer graduate/post-graduate research scientists training on the most cutting edge technologies and research methodologies, team-taught by active research scientists and innovators from leading research institutes ( NIH, JHU,  Georgetown LCRC,  EVMS,  USDA, and the FDA) and private industry.  Workshops held at the Bioscience Education Center’s state-of-the-art facility include: Gene Editing with CRISPR; Single Cell RNA-seq; Exosomes; 3D Cell Culture; R programming for Research Scientists; Flow Cytometry; Gene Editing iPSCs with CRISPR/Cas9; Generating Neural Lineage from iPSCs. For a complete list of workshop topics, dates, and costs visit the Bio-Trac calendar. Learn More!

To learn more, contact professor Lori Kelman at [email protected].

UMBC’s Translational Life Science Technology (TLST) Degree Program at USG

The TLST program is a new first of its kind bachelor’s degree program that offers students a direct career path into the industry by preparing them with industry-relevant training and skills.  The program launched through a partnership between the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and Montgomery College (MC) in Fall of 2018 with classes in the Bioscience Education Center Building at MC-Germantown and is lead by Annica Wayman, Associate Dean for Shady Grove Affairs, UMBC College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

Together, these two institutions have jointly developed a new biotech industry-driven degree program that will be offered at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) this fall.  This new degree, the Bachelor of Science in Translational Life Science Technology (TLST), is designed to prepare students for the exhilarating biotech opportunities of today and tomorrow by combining general learning with real-world applications used by scientists in academic and industry research.  

This Fall (2019) TLST will welcome a new cohort of students into the program at USG after having completed their first two years of their coursework at MC. TLST will also be one of the first programs offered in USG’s new Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility.

This degree program combines the theory of a traditional life science degree with hands-on, real-world applications of the process for turning scientific discoveries into life-saving solutions. Students who complete this degree will have a comprehensive understanding of the following areas as they apply to the design and development of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines, and other biotechnology products answering current and emerging health and environment risks:

  • cell biology
  • lab instrumentation
  • bioinformatics
  • biostatistics
  • epidemiology
  • biochemical engineering

For more information on the UMBC TLST Program at USG, visit http://shadygrove.umbc.edu/tlst.

Frederick Community College (FCC)

The Biotechnology Program at Frederick Community College, formerly known as the Bioprocessing Program, is another outstanding biotechnology training and development program in the BHCR. The program had a 100% job placement rate in 2018.

The program has partnerships with the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), a new cell culture lab, strong relationships with government, access to paid internships and a deep regional industry network, FCC’s biotechnology program is an invaluable resource for individuals seeking a career in biotech.

The program offers three primary learning pathways:

  • The Biotechnology Associates in Applied Science program provides students with a strong basic science foundation and enables them to develop a sound understanding of the major technologies employed in the industry. Students will develop collaborative and disciplined work ethics while consistently practicing problem-solving skills. Upon successful completion of the program, students will possess the necessary skills to qualify for employment in a variety of biotechnology industries.
  • The Biotechnology Certificate program prepares students to work as process operators in biological products manufacturing facilities. Students will combine basic science and communication skills, manufacturing technologies, and good manufacturing practices in the course of study.
  • The Biotechnology Letter of Recognition provides an introductory level of training to prepare individuals to work as process operators in biological products manufacturing. Students will be introduced to concepts related to bioprocessing technology, and will learn basic laboratory skills, workplace safety, and general regulations that apply to the bioprocessing industry. 

To learn more, visit the FCC Biotech Program website

Biotechnical Institute of Maryland (BTI)

BTI was founded in 1998 to fill a need for specialty scientific training of entry-level biotechnicians for employment in Maryland’s rapidly expanding biotechnology industry. The BTI Laboratory Associates Program provides tuition-free training in basic laboratory skills to bright, ambitious, unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents. A combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job work experience enables BTI’s successful graduates to realize employment options, while employers benefit from a stream of ready-for-hire, well-qualified lab technicians.

Hear From BTI Graduates working at Emergent BioSolutions

Participants in the program get hands-on internships at local biotech companies and research labs.  Employers participating in the program to hire students include Emergent BioSolutions, Johns Hopkins, BD Biosciences, McCormick, Osiris Therapeutics, Paragon BioServices, and many more.

BTI’s programs include:

  • The BioSTART to Lab Associates program, which is a 12-week professional development program focused on strengthening academics (math and reading) and an overview of the bioscience industry. Upon completion of the program participants move directly into BTI’s Laboratory Associates 9-week program.that includes lecture and laboratory exercises and a 100 hour internship.
  • BioSciConcepts Workshops, which provides a variety of fee-based workshops to professionals currently employed in the biotechnical industry.  Workshop participants represent a variety of employers and occupations within the industry and come to BioSciConcepts to augment and update their skills. Participants will learn basic and advanced laboratory theory and gain hands-on experience in lab procedures.

To learn more about these programs, and BTI’s high school summer program, you can contact BTI here

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