Programs »


photo of plant specimen in growth medium

Are you fascinated by biology and how living organisms work? Have you always dreamed of working in a laboratory? Would you like to be on the cutting edge of scientific advancement in a field that touches almost every part of our lives?

Biotechnology may not be a career field that you’ve considered — but it’s time to think now about the exciting and challenging jobs that are possible with today’s rapidly expanding technologies.

Biotechnology at a Glance

Looking for a quick overview of the Biotechnology program? Take a look at Biotechnology at a Glance for a summary of what a biological or clinical lab technician does and the degrees and certificates the colleges of DCCCD offers.

What is Biotechnology?

Although it encompasses a group of technologies, biotechnology by its simplest definition is using living things to make products or processes.

Traditional biotechnology techniques — which have been used for centuries — include using microorganisms to:

  • Make bread (yeast is a microorganism)
  • Produce food and beverages such as beer, wine and cheese through fermentation
  • Selectively breed plants and animals to improve their genetic qualities
Recently, the word has come to refer to the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or the manufacture of products from genetically modified microorganisms. Current applications include:
  • Genetically engineering crops for higher and better food production
  • Using biopesticides to improve food plants and reduce dependence on conventional chemical pesticides
  • Creating medical diagnostic tests, such as home pregnancy test kits and tests to keep the blood supply free of HIV and other diseases
  • DNA fingerprinting for criminal investigation and forensic medicine
  • Using microbes and genetically engineered plants to clean up environmental pollution

Growth of the Biotechnology Industry

According to the Biotechnology Institute’s industry facts, the biotechnology industry generates nearly $40 billion a year in the United States. The industry is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Biotechnology Degree and Certificate Options

El Centro College’s program in Biotechnology includes:

Many students who earn an associate degree in Biotechnology double-major in Medical Laboratory Technology at El Centro College.

For details about graduation rates, program costs and other important information, view the gainful employment disclosure.