College Introduces New Certificate Programs in Emerging STEM Disciplines

by Alana J. Mauger

Montgomery County Community College’s  Board of Trustees took action Jan. 29 to approve two new certificate programs in the emerging STEM disciplines of Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing and Cloud Computing.

“Both programs affirm Montgomery County Community College’s commitment to revitalizing our STEM programs and to building a pipeline of skilled science and technology professionals that will help shape the future of our region’s workforce,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.

The 16-credit Certificate of Completion in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing is designed to provide hands-on, industry-relevant training to students who already hold associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in science and who want to join the biotechnology workforce. It also provides an opportunity for individuals with degrees in other disciplines to retrain for careers in biotechnology and biomanufacturing.

“Biopharmaceuticals are the fastest growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry, and there is a growing need for trained technicians to manufacture these drugs, especially as generic versions start to be produced,” explained Dr. Margaret Bryans, assistant professor of Biotechnology at MCCC. “In addition to the four major pharmaceutical companies in Southeastern Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 small biotechnology companies in the Greater Philadelphia Region.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median salary for biological technicians ranged from $33,630-$45,380 in 2012, depending on the area of specialization. Overall, jobs in this field are projected to grow by10 percent through 2022.

The new 39-credit Certificate in Cloud Computing will train students in computer networking, cloud services, virtualization and data storage. Program graduates will qualify to take nine industry certification exams to validate their skillsets. The program is designed for Information Technology (IT) professionals, but interested students without an IT background may enroll.

“We’re seeing a massive movement to the cloud for both personal and business use, which means that IT professionals will be dealing with this technology in some manner daily,” explained Anil Datta, director of Information Technology programs at MCCC. “A recent Forbes study shows that, nationally, seven million cloud computing jobs will be introduced by 2015.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, computer occupations are expected to grow by 18 percent overall through 2022, with higher growth occurring in industries that provide cloud computing technology. In 2012, the median salary for all computer occupations was $76,270.

Both the Certificate of Completion in Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing and the Certificate in Cloud Computing are slated to begin in fall 2014.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s STEM programs, visit

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