Entering the Field of Biotechnology

Orientation & FAQs



City College
San Francisco
Bridge to Biotech

Biomanufacturing Certificate Programs


50 Phelan Avenue
Science Building 254
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 239-3627





Please attend one of our orientations to learn more. Assessment Testing follows the Orientations. Please allow an additional 1.5 hours for testing after orientation.


If you would like to start your biotech training this spring, please make time to come to our next orientation.


Orientation sesssions are followed by assessment testing (which runs an additional 90 minutes).

Regular Monthly Orientation Schedule:

  • Every 1st Wednesday (1/4)
    12:00-1:00 PM
    One Stop/Career Center
    801 Turk Street
  • Every 2nd Wednesday (Cancelled)
    2:30-3:30 PM
    CCSF-SE Campus
    1800 Oakdale Avenue, Room 418
  • Every 3rd Wednesday (1/18)
    12:00 noon-1:00 PM
    One Stop/Career Center
    3120 Mission Street
  • Every 4th Wednesday (1/25)
    12:0-1:00 PM
    CCSF-Mission Campus
    1125 Valencia Street, Room 259

Frequently Asked Questions:


What is Biotechnology?
Biotechnology is the manipulation of biological organisms to make products that benefit human beings, including cures for diseases, sustainable crops, effective waste disposal, etc. Biotechnology contributes to such diverse areas as food production, waste disposal, mining, and medicine.


What will I learn in the Bridge to Biotech/Lab Assistant Certificate Program?

The Bridge to Biotech provides a rigorous and engaging introduction to biotechnology. Bridge students learn essential laboratory skills while at the same time strengthening the math and language skills needed for further study in the biotechnology certificate program. Bridge to Biotech students get an overview of the biotech training offered at CCSF and they learn how to market and promote the work-related skills acquired through this biotech training.   The goal of the program is to prepare students for entry level jobs as lab assistants in the biotech field.


What prerequisites are there for the Bridges to Biotech programs? Other than a high school diploma, there are no prerequisites for the program.

Note, however, that persons with drug felonies could face considerable difficulty in finding jobs in the industry, since many companies screen out persons with drug (and other) felonies.


What do I need to do to enroll?

You do not need to have any prior experience in the field to enter the program.

We highly recommend that you take our diagnostic test before entering the program, however.

If the results of your assessment test show that you are ready for the Bridge program, you will be asked to attend an enrollment session one week before classes start to register for classes.

The Bridge runs every semester at CCSF. The next semester begins August 16th.


What does the training involve? The Bridge courses consist of 3 integrated classes (you must take all 3 classes) totaling 12 hours per week, which are offered during the day (at the Southeast campus - 1800 Oakdale Ave.) or evenings (at the renovated Mission Campus-1125 Valencia Street @ 22nd Street)

Bridge classes are given 4 hours a day, 3 days a week.

If you participate in the Bridge's Internship and Job Preparation Program, you will be attending an extra day, for four more hours of laboratory experience. So, instead of 3 days, you will attend 4 days. the fourth day will take place at the same time as your other classes either in the morning or the evening, depending in which section you are taking.


Are these credit courses? The Bridge to Biotech/Lab Assistant Certificate Program is taken over two semesters for 14.0 units of credit along and generally includes a 180-hour internship.
Is it possible to work full- or part-time while I am enrolled in the biotech training? The Bridge to Biotech program is offered either during the day or during evenings; it was developed to accommodate working adults.

CCSF's biotech certificate programs similarly offer classes aimed at accommodating the scheduling needs of working adults. Classes are offered days and evenings, and many of the short-courses that offer opportunities to acquire valuable skills desired by the industry, are offered over a few Saturdays.


Do I have to take all of the classes, or are some of them optional? All the classes are fully integrated. Each part of the program builds on the others, so you will need to attend them all in order to understand class material and participate successfully in the program.


How long is the program?

The Bridge to Biotech/Lab Assistant Certificate program is two semesters.

CCSF's biotech training is designed to be a flexible program for working adults coming back to school part-time. Most people are work ready within a year and a half to two years. The more training that a student gets, more opportunities that student will have when looking for work.


Can I get financial aid? We encourage students to apply for financial aid. Fee waivers are available only to those who have submitted a FAFSA application. Your application will be good for as long as you continue studying at City College.


Can the biotechnology courses be used for credit to get a college degree? Yes, in the biotech certificate program, BIO 11 and CHEM 101A are transferable credit courses. Additionally, CCSF has an articulation agreement with CSU, East Bay that will allow you to transfer much of your credit coursework for a college degree there.


Does this program provide internships? Yes, for people who have successfully completed the Bridge and BIJP programs. In the semester following the Bridge , these participant will be placed in internship at a Bay Area lab for 10-15 hours per week (180 hours total).


Does this program provide job placement? For BIJP participant who have finished their internship successfully, job placement assistance will be provided. While in the Bridges to Biotech Program you will prepare a resume and learn how to search for a job in the Biotech field.


What types of jobs will I qualify for at the conclusion of the Bridge program? Participants who complete the Bridge to Biotech program should qualify for positions as bio-processors, glassware technicians, lab assistants, animal care technicians, environmental health and safety techs, media prep technician, depending on internship experience. Job salaries in the industry usually begin in the upper $20,000 to lower $30,000 and usually include full benefits, rapid career growth, and tuition reimbursements that will enable you to continue your educational training.


What kinds of jobs are in biotechnology besides research? Besides research, there are also sales jobs, administration jobs, and manufacturing jobs.


What does the Bay Area biotechnology job market look like? As the birthplace of biotechnology, the San Francisco Bay Area hosts over 800 bioscience companies, providing more than 85,000 jobs - a figure which is expected to grow by almost 30 percent by 2010. In San Francisco, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is the largest employer, and has recently expanded to the southeast sector at Mission Bay. In addition, there are many companies located in South City, Emeryville, Richmond, Hercules, Vacaville, Redwood City and other cities in the Bay.

Program graduates have gotten jobs at UCSF, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Chiron, and Genentech earning between $28,000 - $50,000. The odds of landing more senior and well-paying jobs increase substantially as you continue to build your skills in CCSF's biotech certificate program.


Am I guaranteed a job at the end of the Bridge to Biotech program? No. While a key goal of the program is to help all graduates secure jobs, we cannot guarantee job placement. The program provides individuals with the training, networking, job search assistance and other supports needed to successfully land a job in the bioscience or related industries. In addition to working, a majority of program graduates have elected to continue with full- or part-time coursework in CCSF's one- and two-year biotech certificate programs (Biomanufacturing and Biotechnician Certifications, respectively).