Do you know anything about City College of San Francisco's biotech/computer skills certificates?
March 8, 2012 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone completed the "Genomics Technology," and "Computer Skills for Scientists" certificate programs at the City College in San Francisco? My plan is to take these classes while finishing up pre-med requirements at the City College. Then I want to find a job in genetics research while I decide between medical school/finishing my biochem education at Berkeley. Is this feasible? Is this a good plan?

Here are the certificates:
Computer Skills For Scientists Certificate
Genomics Technology Certificate
And I'm aware of Berkeley's transfer requirements.

Also, do people really get accepted to medical school after completing their premed requirements at City College? Where I'm from, this would be considered inadequately rigorous. All I need to finish is the second semester of organic chemistry and the second semester of physics, but still.
posted by sunnichka to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Er, "insufficiently rigorous" might be a better way to say that.
posted by sunnichka at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2012

I'm a little puzzled about your plan -- do you have an undergraduate degree already? Are you already accepted into Berkeley?
posted by brainmouse at 9:16 AM on March 8, 2012

Response by poster: I have a bachelor's degree in linguistics already. I'm not accepted into Berkeley yet, but it is the only school near San Francisco that I've found that accepts chemistry transfer students who already have an undergraduate degree.
posted by sunnichka at 9:22 AM on March 8, 2012

Your raw grades and MCAT scores, demonstrating your mastery of the material covered in the pre-med requirements, will count for more than the fact that you took those requirements at City College.
posted by deanc at 9:24 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Then I want to find a job in genetics research

This will probably be exceedingly difficult. I know more than a few people with advanced biology degrees who have years of experience in biotech research and still can't find jobs to save their lives right now. I would make sure to have a backup plan if you can't find such a position.
posted by dialetheia at 10:31 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Are your friends in the Bay Area? That surprises me, I've seen a lot of postings for biotech lab assistant positions recently just on craigslist. Do you have more information?
posted by sunnichka at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2012

Best answer: I'm not in the Bay Area, so your mileage may vary. This is also just a bunch of anecdata & gossip, so who knows. My friends mostly have experience in southern California. A couple of friends with BS's in bio have told me that the entry-level basic PCR lab tech positions were mostly being filled by people with Masters degrees now, in their experience. A friend with an MS said that the biotech jobs he used to compete for were mostly filled by postdocs these days, and I've heard the same from a postdoc friend.

The impression they give me is that there's a bit of an educational-attainment arms race going on in the biotech field right now because there's a glut of postdocs who can't find teaching positions, so everyone is kind of being pushed one rung down the ladder (so to speak). Even if the entry-level positions aren't being filled exclusively by MS-holders, there's also a ton of people with a bachelors in biology who would be thrilled to get those entry-level jobs.

I guess I would just really investigate whether the certificate program would allow me to compete with those candidates before investing in it with the expectation of a genetics job. If you think you might want to go to med school anyway, finding a job that would be a stepping stone to that sort of career might be a better bet (and potentially a lot easier to do - health care seems to be one of the last growth sectors around anymore). I hope this helps, and I don't mean to discourage you! If the genomics tech certificate program has a great placement rate, you can safely ignore everything I said.
posted by dialetheia at 3:21 PM on March 8, 2012

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