What is a process technician?
Process technicians are involved in every step in the process of manufacturing a biotechnology product and work in many different environments.
A process technician may operate, monitor and control biotechnology manufacturing equipment or equipment that packages and labels a finished product; clean and sterilize production equipment and glassware, mix solutions and prepare media; and mix active drug ingredients with other agents to make finished drug tablets, capsules, liquids, syrups or ointments.
Targeted job: Entry-level process technician
Targeted industries: Chemical, traditional pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing
Targeted workforce: Those with at least a high school diploma or equivalency who are unemployed, transitioning – especially from other manufacturing sectors – or starting a new career.
In the Research Triangle area, a BioWork Certificate is often required or preferred within posted job descriptions for process technicians within the pharmaceutical industry.
Tasks of process technicians: Is the job right for you?
- Operating, monitoring and controlling biotechnology manufacturing equipment or equipment that packages and labels the finished product
- Cleaning and sterilizing production equipment and glassware
- Mixing active drug ingredients with other agents to make finished drug tablets, capsules, liquids, syrups or ointments
- If you like an active job, are good with your hands and enjoy problem solving, this job may be right for you.
Job-seeking and career planning
- Wake Tech's Career Services Office offers a range of classes to support job seekers. These classes include topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills and social media such as LinkedIn. All students and job seekers are eligible to take classes for a nominal fee. Those unemployed or underemployed and those who have received notice of pending layoff may have the fees waived.
- Career Pathways in Biotechnology, a booklet for students interested in a career in biotechnology, can be found on the North Carolina Biotechnology Center website. The booklet includes a description of the job skills, duties and education required for a variety of biotech jobs, including process technicians.
- Job postings in the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical field, as well as a list of biotech companies by region, can be found on the N.C. Biotechnology Center website.
Frequently asked questions
BioWork was developed under the direction of the pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industry and is often preferred or required for entry-level process technician jobs.
In-person: $330 (including textbooks)
There are eight units in BioWork, as well as sessions to help you search for a job. About 25% of the class takes place in the lab. The following objectives will be covered in the course.
- Your New Job is an orientation to the process-manufacturing industries.
- Working Safely covers basic safety attitudes and approaches.
- Building Quality into the Product emphasizes the importance of making quality products.
- Measuring Process Variables provides an introduction to the metric system and the measurement of variables critical to controlling processes.
- Transforming Matter covers a review of the basic chemistry needed by process technicians.
- Learning the Nuts and Bolts provides information about biomanufacturing equipment, systems and plant utilities.
- Controlling the Process covers the basic principles of process control systems.
- Maintaining Sterile Processes introduces the basics of microorganisms, contamination and the concept of working in aseptic manufacturing environments.
- Growing Living Cells covers bioprocess manufacturing principles and operations.
- Job-seeking skills, including resume development, searching for jobs and interview practice
In addition to learning material in the textbook, students conduct laboratory experiments and practice teamwork, which is an essential part of the biomanufacturing industry. BioWork graduates enter the workforce ready to learn company operations and tasks. Their classroom and laboratory experience exposes them to a basic knowledge of the following:
- An awareness of the importance of safety, both for the workers and product
- Complying with cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices)
- Following an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
- Reading an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)
- Completing a batch record
- Using the metric system
- Using common pumps and valves
- Reading gauges
- Reading a process diagram
- Making chemical solutions
- Preparing growth media
- Adjusting pH
The hybrid-distance students access the Wake Tech website to receive their assignments (Moodle).
The hybrid-distance class is designed for a task-oriented, self-motivated person with excellent reading skills and high-speed internet access.
Wake Tech does not offer a job-placement service. However, the Career Services Office of Wake Tech does offer a variety of job-seeking skills courses. These courses emphasize the importance of networking, industry-specific resumes, interviewing skills, searching for jobs online and the use of LinkedIn. In addition, BioWork graduates are provided with a directory of staffing agencies and useful industry information. Within the course, students are helped to prepare industry-specific resumes, learn job-seeking skills and practice for interviews.
Wake Tech has two additional programs of interest to the BioWork graduate.
The BioNetwork Capstone Center on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University offers short courses that provide hands-on training in biomanufacturing (bioprocessing and analytical lab skills) in an environment that mirrors industry. These courses are available to BioWork students and are deemed as equivalent to industry experience by some companies. Several certificates are available, including one in biomanufacturing. For additional information, call 919-515-0232.
Wake Tech also offers an Associate Applied Sciences in Biopharmaceutical Technology degree. Major emphasis is placed on manufacturing processes and quality assurance.