One of the fastest growing industries in the United States, bioprocess technology has taken root in North Carolina and is providing thousands of people with good jobs in an industry dedicated to helping others.
While job opportunities are concentrated in central North Carolina, positions are also available on the NC coast as well as in the mountains. Many bioprocess industries are located in NC where they manufacture medicines such as vaccines and antibiotics, agricultural products, and biological agents to help protect and clean our environment, improve nutrition, and increase shelf life of a variety of foods and medicines.
The bioprocess technology program at CCCC is a unique instructional program focusing on manufacturing biological products. It is a growing industry where jobs are expected to increase by a rate of about ten percent each year. There are many opportunities for employment and advancement. Employees in this field work in a clean environment where quality and precision are required.
With a two-year associate in applied science degree, graduates of this program can expect to be employed in entry-level positions at an annual salary range of $28,000 to $30,000. Students have the option to begin with a one-year certificate program that will also prepare them for jobs in this growing industry.
Graduates of the CCCC program are employed by industries located throughout the state, but are concentrated in Sanford, Pittsboro, Research Triangle Park, Greensboro, Clayton, Durham, and Wilmington.
Bioprocess technology is a science based program where students study how the sciences, biology and chemistry, relate to the industrial bioprocess manufacturing environment. While enrolled, students study basic math skills, simple equations, and calculations. They learn how these skills are put to use in making biological products.
During lab activities students become proficient at many basic lab techniques involving the growth and identification of microorganisms. They learn the importance of controlling contamination through the practice of proper aseptic techniques. Students are also exposed to various product purification methods and become aware of the necessity of following good manufacturing practices. They learn from guest speakers how the products they may someday manufacture save or improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.
The bioprocess technology program is offered during the day at the Lee County Campus in Sanford. In addition, several of the classes are offered during the evening on the campuses in Chatham and Harnett Counties. The certificate program is offered in its entirety via distance education.
Bioprocess technology is a great career choice in that it allows graduates to become directly involved in an industry that impacts the daily life and health of many people in the community and around the world. Graduates can look forward to a challenging career that rewards employees with a good salary and great fringe benefits.
What Students Learn
Students successfully completing the Bioprocess Technology Program will be able to:
- Explain the concept of quality and how it is integrated into the manufacturing process by the use of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), following of procedures and record keeping. Be able to follow company procedures and FDA regulations to work safely and efficiently in the manufacturing environment.
- Describe or explain the operation of plant utility systems including water, steam, gases, cooling, cleaning-in-place systems etc. Understand their importance in producing a quality product.
- Measure process variables involved in manufacturing including pH, temperature, pressure, flow rate, conductivity etc. Demonstrate the ability to use the instruments needed to make these measurements
- Analyze the process variables so as to make any necessary adjustments to the manufacturing process.
- Use the proper judgments to make adjustments by the use of process equipment such as tanks, pumps, valves, seals and the piping that connects them to maintain the integrity of the product.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the fermentation theory. Understand the principles of cell growth and provide the growing cells with the materials that they need to survive and manufacture product.
- Support the fermentation process with the use of aseptic techniques, contamination control, environmental monitoring and the use of clean rooms so as to maintain the integrity of the product.
- Demonstrate recovery of the product using techniques in cell harvesting, centrifugation, extraction, precipitation, filtration, purification and chromatography so as to produce the final product ready for any final steps.
- Effectively communicate technical ideas, procedures, and results with others in written, oral, and graphical formats.