BioWork Frequently Asked Questions

What is the BioWork Certificate course?

The BioWork Certificate course, a 140-credit hour introductory course, brings together the basics of manufacturing technology and the fundamentals of science — two essential needs for competent, entry-level technicians working in biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing. The course includes nine modules such as Quality, Measurements, Transforming Matter, Growing Living Cells, Safety, Sterile Processes, Process Control, and Nuts and Bolts. There are exams at the end of each module. Additionally, this course covers all aspects of a job search in the Biotechnology arena, including a job market overview, job search tools and strategies, résumé preparation, and interviewing practice. The time frame for course completion is one semester.

What will the BioWork Certificate course prepare me to do?

Certified completers enter the workforce ready to learn company operations and tasks. Students are prepared as follows: 

  • Understand the importance of safety and safety awareness;
  • Follow chemical safety guidelines;
  • Use and convert in the metric system.
  • Assist with fermentation and downstream processing;
  • Conduct industrial measurements;
  • Prepare growth media and grow cells;
  • Comply with cGMP and FDA regulations of pharmaceutical manufacturing;
  • Know the foundations of various quality systems;
  • Follow an SOP;
  • Complete a batch record properly;
  • Read and understand MSDS and NFPA;
  • Identify process equipment;
  • Understand the principles of working in a cleanroom and how to prevent contamination;
  • Demonstrate proper aseptic techniques;
  • Describe the basic separation methods used in pharmaceutical manufacturing;
  • Explain basic feedback control; and
  • Read process diagrams and P&IDs

Students complete the course with a safety mindset. They understand a quality product depends on the strict attention process technicians give to standards and procedures for every task. BioWork offers students many opportunities to develop and practice effective communication, teamwork, and problem solving to prepare for an entry-level position in biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing.

The BioWork Certificate course has ten units:

Unit 1 – Your New Job Orientation Unit 6 – Learning the Nuts and Bolts
Unit 2 – Working Safely Basic Unit 7 – Controlling the Process
Unit 3 – Building Quality into the Product Unit 8 – Maintaining Sterile Processes
Unit 4 – Measuring Process Variables Unit 9 – Growing Living Cells
Unit 5 – Transforming Matter Basic Chemistry Unit 10 – Career Readiness

Students complete an exam after each unit.

Will there be lab time during the BioWork Certificate course?

Yes, the BioWork Certificate course offers approximately 50 hours of math, chemistry, and biology lab time.

What is the admission and registration process for the BioWork Certificate course?

Prerequisites:

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older;
  2. Must have a high school diploma or GED;
  3. Demonstrate appropriate reading level (COMPASS 54 or ASSET 35) and math level (COMPASS 27 or ASSET 36). Placement tests are offered in the Durham Tech Placement Testing Center; OR
  4. Provide a copy of a transcript of any completed college degree (two-year or above).

Registration information and policies are located on the Continuing Education Procedures web page.

What do the costs for BioWork Certificate course cover?

The BioWork Certificate course registration fee includes registration, supplies, materials, and rental of lab coat and safety glasses. The fee must be paid on the day of registration.

Is financial aid available for students?

Yes, financial aid is available for the BioWork course. We also offer special scholarships for unemployed students. For more information regarding our continuing education financial aid, attend an information session or visit Durham ConnectFunds.

Is there a certification for the BioWork Certificate program?

Yes, the Process Technician State Certification examination is available to individuals who have successfully completed the BioWork process technician training program. Durham Tech offers the certification exam twice a year. Your instructor will provide you with information on registering for the state exam, testing fees, testing dates, and testing sites.

When is the class offered?

In the fall and spring semesters, the class is offered in the morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 10 p.m. In the summer, the BioWork class is taught in the morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday class 8:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Where is the BioWork Certificate course offered?

The BioWork program is offered at the Northern Durham Center, located at 2401 Snow Hill Road.

What is the salary range for an entry-level BioWork process technician?

North Carolina ranks number three in the nation in the number of biotechnology companies. According to a report by the NC Biotechnology Center, jobs in the pharmaceutical industry are among the highest paid manufacturing jobs in the state. Earnings vary based on skill and experience, but the average salary is $15 per hour.

Job titles include:

  • Bioprocess Manufacturing Technician;
  • Aseptic Manufacturing Technician;
  • Manufacturing Preparation Technician;
  • Formulation and Fill Technician;
  • Packaging Technician;
  • Process Technician;
  • Manufacturing Associate;
  • Chemical Equipment Operator; and
  • Chemical Plant and System Operator.