These are entry-level positions for people with a high school diploma. Other titles for this position are aseptic fill assistant, cell culture and fermentation assistant, cell lab operator, manufacturing operator, media preparation assistant, packaging and filling inspector, production assistant, and purification assistant. With a two year degree, an individual can advance to a manufacturing technician position. Biotechnology manufacturing jobs are usually divided into “upstream” processes, where the protein products are produced by the cells, and “downstream” processes where these proteins are harvested, and packaged. An assistant can work in both areas. In upstream, the assistant is responsible for preparing media. Monitoring the upstream process, cleaning the equipment and performing routine maintenance to ensure that equipment remains in good working order. The person working in downstream may be responsible for preparing and monitor the equipment that separates the protein away from other components in the media or in the cell; harvest and concentrate the protein; and finally, package the protein. Again this person would also be responsible for cleaning up the laboratory. Since manufacturing is done in batches on a rotating schedule, the work is done in shifts over a 24-hour period seven days a week.
$19 - $24 per hour