Life Science Degree


The study in life sciences examines and assesses the place of various organisms in the natural world. The Associate in Science in Life Science courses examine evolutionary principles for a comprehensive model for understanding the origins of organisms and the changes they undergo.

Science technicians use the principles and theories of science and mathematics to solve problems in research and development and to help invent and improve products and processes. However, their jobs are more practically oriented than those of scientists. Technicians set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments, monitor experiments, make observations, calculate, and record results, and often develop conclusions. They must keep detailed logs of all of their work. Those who perform production work monitor manufacturing processes and may ensure quality by testing products for proper proportions of ingredients, for purity, or for strength and durability.

As laboratory instrumentation and procedures have become more complex, the role of science technicians in research and development has expanded. In addition to performing routine tasks, many technicians, under the direction of scientists, now develop and adapt laboratory procedures to achieve the best results, interpret data, and devise solutions to problems.

Technicians must develop expert knowledge of laboratory equipment so that they can adjust settings when necessary and recognize when equipment is malfunctioning. Most science technicians specialize, learning their skills and working in the same disciplines in which scientists work.

Earnings Potential

An associate degree in life science offers you the salary potential of $28,958 two years after graduation from Taft College, with expected increases to $57,175 by five years, based on five-year studies of graduates by California Community Colleges. These do not reflect salaries with a four-year degree.1

Careers in the life sciences are diverse and can apply to many industries, including agriculture and food science, conservation and environmental advocacy, or medicine and bioengineering. This degree can lead to careers as technicians, researchers, and scientists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage is $47,370 for environmental science and protection technicians; and $77,400 for agricultural and food science technicians. Some careers require a minimum of a four-year degree, including researchers and scientists, with a median annual wage of $74,160 for agricultural and food scientists and $76,530 for environmental scientists and specialists.

1 California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Salary Surfer. 2021. Accessed 19 April 2023.

2 “Occupational Outlook Handbook.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 8 Sept. 2022. Accessed 19 April 2023.

Program Requirements

To earn an Associate in Science in Life Science, students must complete: (1) all course requirements with a minimum grade of “C” in each course; and (2) complete General Education Graduation Requirements with an overall GPA of 2.0 or better.

See the degree requirements in the Taft College Catalog. Please note: This links to an external website.

Program Learning Outcomes

After completing the Life Sciences courses, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the definitive characteristics of living organisms in a clear and concise manner.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of evolution and its relationship to the unity and diversity of living organisms.
  3. Employ the scientific method by proposing hypotheses based on observations, testing the hypotheses, critically analyzing experimental data, and formulating conclusions based on the experimental data.
  4. Find, select, and evaluate various types of scientific information including research articles, mass media sources, and web information.
  5. Demonstrate the safe and correct operating procedures in the use and treatment of common lab equipment and materials.

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