Opportunities in Emerging Technologies Tour, Nov. 9

Are you interested in medical science but would rather work behind the scenes rather than directly with patients?

Explore a career in Emerging Technologies. On Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., the Perry Center for Emerging Technologies in Alachua, Fla. will present the event “Opportunities in Emerging Technologies,” an information session and tour about its three degree options: Biotechnology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering (Electrical).

“In these fields you really get to see a new frontier in career training,” said Scott Fortner, advising specialist for Santa Fe’s Health Sciences programs. “These are careers that have been so obscure in the past that people didn’t even know about them, but they are in such high demand now.” 

The tour will be lead by Kelly Gridley, dean of emerging technologies, and the Perry Center faculty, who will answer any questions prospective students may have. This hands-on tour will allow visitors to peak through the microscopes to view cellular change in the biotechnology laboratories and see the equipment used to repair MRI machinery and other sophisticated medical devices.

Who is attracted to the biotechnology field?

“It takes a unique personality to go into these sciences. You have to be detail-oriented and highly organized, and you really need a strong interest in science and a strong math foundation,” said Fortner. “People in this field love to problem-solve through science itself rather than patient interaction. It’s about problem-solving through a microscope.”

Prospective students with these personality traits will likely benefit from the strong job market in the health services industry, especially as the American population ages. Fortner estimates the entry level salary is $45,000 for clinical laboratory technologists, $40,000 for biiomedical engineering technologists, and $35,000 for biotechnologists.

“The job market is outstanding for all three of these professions, especially the four-year degree in clinical laboratory sciences,” said Fortner. “That profession in particular has a really high retirement rate, and not many programs of training are offered, so there’s a desperate need for medical lab technologists.”

BAS, AAS, AS degree opportunities

The Medical, or Clinical, Laboratory Sciences track is a four-year program to achieve a Bachelor’s in Applied Sciences (BAS). Degree holders can run clinical tests on bodily fluids or tissue samples to identify diseases, so they are ideal laboratory leaders in hospitals, clinics, and research facilities.

The two-year Associate in Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Science Degrees (AS) in Biomedical Engineering Technology (Electronics) teaches students the inner workings of advanced medical equipment, so students emerge from the program with the knowledge to design, manufacture, and fix these high-tech devices.

Offered through a partnership with the University of Florida and industry partners, an AS or an AA in Biotechnology can prepare students for anything from culturing cells to analyzing DNA to preparing samples. Funded agencies often hire biotechnologists to research cures to diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s, and biotechnologists have previously created “golden” rice fortified with nutrients for developing countries and oil-eating bacteria to combat the effects of the Gulf oil spill.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to be a lab geek or some stereotype like that, but actually you can do so many different things with laboratory sciences,” said Fortner. “The main thing is that you have to be really passionate about science and about details. Many aspiring physicians use it as a platform towards their profession. These are options for people who want a challenge without wanting patient care at that point in their career.”

For more information about these programs, please contact Scott Fortner, 352-395-5733.

Biotechnology website (with directions)

This press release was written by Allison Griner, Communication Specialist, College Relations

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