Associate degrees are primarily needed in biopharma and clinical research roles related to all things process and lab assistance. Oftentimes, associate degrees can be easily transferred to four-year programs. Otherwise, associate degrees are specifically tailored to career pathways in biopharma and clinical research.

Some of these programs related to contract research and diagnostic testing include:

  • Quality assurance
  • Lab technician
  • Research associate

Other programs related to biopharma include:

  • Quality assurance
  • Manufacturing technician
  • Maintenance scheduler

Many universities, colleges, and community colleges across North Carolina have associate degrees for biopharma or clinical research roles. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in biotech or clinical research should narrow down their field of interest, then consult the list of schools located on the resource guide map.

Associate Degrees in Contract Research & Development

Durham Technical Community College is home to the only Clinical Trials Research AAS Degree in the nation that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

The Medical Laboratory Technology curriculum prepares students for careers in medical labs. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Certification MLT examination. Currently offered at:

  • Alamance Community College
  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
  • Beaufort County Community College
  • Central Piedmont Community College
  • Coastal Carolina Community College
  • College of The Albemarle
  • Fayetteville Technical Community College
  • Halifax Community College
  • Mitchell Community College
  • Sandhills Community College
  • Southeastern Community College
  • Southwestern Community College
  • Stanly Community College
  • Wake Technical Community College
  • Wayne Community College
  • Western Piedmont Community College
  • Davidson-Davie Community College

NC BioNetwork’s Biotechnology program prepares graduates to serve in three distinct capacities: laboratory or instrumentation technician, research assistant to a biologist or chemist, or a quality control/quality assurance technician. Currently offered at:

  • Alamance Community College
  • Cleveland Community College
  • Craven Community College
  • Forsyth Technical Community College
  • Gaston College
  • Guilford Technical Community College
  • James Sprunt Community College
  • Martin Community College
  • Nash Community College
  • Pitt Community College
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
  • Surry Community College
  • Wake Technical Community College
  • Wilson Community College

Jobs Requiring an Associate Degree

Manufacturing Associate

Manufacturing Associate

Process technicians plan both the big picture and the details, keeping all systems running as they should by planning, evaluating, and analyzing workflows.
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Maintenance and/or Instrumentation Technician

Maintenance and/or Instrumentation Technician

Both maintenance and instrumentation technicians are responsible for all things equipment, including calibrating, maintaining, installing, repairing, and more.
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Laboratory Technician

Laboratory Technician

A lab technician gathers and chemically analyzes samples, preparing solutions and aiding in all things related to lab equipment upkeep and maintenance in order to do so.
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Process Development Scientist

Process Development Scientist

Process development scientists use problem-solving and creativity to come up with the processes used in research, then use technology to monitor production.
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Header image photo credit: GRAIL