New applications of biologic mechanisms develop on what seems to be a daily basis. Biotechnology has thus become one of the world's fastest growing industries. Completing an internship at a job in biotechnology is an opportunity to see if this industry is an appropriate career choice. An internship is also an opportunity to make contacts that may prove to be valuable when seeking future employment.
- Skill level:
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Explore what industries make up the general category of biotechnology. Realize that this field is very broad and runs the gamut from Genentech that uses genomics to create anticancer drugs to Gallo Wines that researches enzymes that ferment sugars.
Explore what individual careers are like within the industry. Read what people like Maxine Singer, Ph.D. and James Watson, Ph.D. have to say about the future of biotechnology. Try to interview employees of local biotechnological firms.
Explore how much education is required for various internships. Some internships require no post-high school education and are of a general nature, offering exposure to the industry but not a specific, job related experience. Others are highly specific and require varying levels of education in order to qualify for participation.
Go to the web page of the National Health Museum that links to specific biotechnology jobs. Read what specialists in bio-organic chemistry, pharmaceutical formulation, and environmental health and safety have to say about their jobs and its requirements.
Decide if you are willing to relocate for the internship. If you are not, check into what biotechnology firms are in your local area. Often the best source of information is a local college or university. Check the web page of Washington State University for an example of such a source.
Check websites of companies that are in your area of interest if you are willing to relocate for the internship. Relocating offers the opportunity to find a position anywhere in the U.S. For example, you might live in New Jersey, but you could still contact the Gallo Wine Company for an internship in fermentation processes.
Give yourself at least nine months to secure your position.
Tips and warnings
- Your own interest, willingness to relocate, and level of education are all variables that may change over time. This means a degree of flexibility is crucial for the process of finding an internship.
- Often, the best source of information about local biotechnology internships is a local college or university.
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