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What is Biotechnology?


  • HEALS through the development of medicines, vaccines, rapid diagnostic tests and personalized medicine.
  • FUELS the economy through the development of renewable biofuels and innovative products like energy-saving low temperature detergents, pollution-eating bacteria and biodegradable plastics.
  • FEEDS the growing population by creating alternative food sources, making crops resistant to pests and diseases, increasing yields, decreasing spoilage and making food more nutritious.

Biotechnology involves harnessing biological materials (such as cells, DNA, or proteins) to solve problems and to improve our quality of life: insulin saves lives; smallpox has been eradicated; and altered microbes produce biofuel and clean up pollution. SLCC Biotechnology helps students acquire training and valuable hands-on skill, that can help them gain a meaningful career, build their education or both.

How does this program differ from other programs?

SLCC's biotechnology program prepares students for entry- and mid-level positions in Utah's fast-growing life science industry. In Utah, life science employers offer good pay, benefits and opportunities for advancement. With several credentials available, students can find a meaningful career in this fast-growing industry with as little as one year of training. The curriculum is driven and supported by the local biotechnology industry and focuses on using innovative practical activities to deliver the hands-on experience students require to land a job. Most SLCC biotech students get an industry job well before or soon after they earn their AS degree, and most biotech employers offer tuition reimbursement as a benefit.

Classes are taught by faculty with extensive experience in research settings. Our one-year certificate is designed to help students get the skills they need to join the workforce: we provide unparalleled opportunities for hands-on laboratory work at the associate’s level. Most courses include very little lecture, and a great deal of experimentation. Our AS degree transfers to the Utah Valley University (UVU) baccalaureate program in biotechnology, earning students a BS in Biotechnology. All UVU Classes are taught at the SLCC Jordan campus in the evening to accommodate working students, in addition to classes taught at UVU's home campus in Orem, Utah, offering more choice and flexibility.

Program Format

Biotechnology courses are offered for credit in a competency-based education (CBE) format. Classes are not scheduled in the traditional way; instead, students work online and attend the open learning lab as their schedules permit. Students work at their own pace, and have the opportunity to accelerate completion. Students must achieve a B or better in all aspects of biotechnology courses in order to move on to the next course. The lab has evening and weekend hours to accommodate working students. There are no textbooks to buy for biotech courses.


In addition to gaining a degree or a certificate, biotechnology students gain technical skills such as:

  • DNA manipulation and analysis
  • Expression and purification of proteins
  • Cell culture
  • Enzyme and antibody assays
  • Biomanufacturing
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication
  • Teamwork


There are many career opportunities in biotechnology, which continues to grow with the industry. A Biotechnology degree may lead to employment in a variety of areas including:

  • Medicine
  • Agriculture
  • Forensics
  • Medical devices
  • Environmental science
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biomanufacturing
  • Business

Life, Physical and Social Science Technicians
Annual median salary in the Salt Lake metro area: $55,720


The Biotechnology Program is located in the Jordan Applied Technology Center and in the Health Sciences Building on the SLCC Jordan Campus.