Careers in Genetics

Explore the always evolving field of genetics...

Genetics is the study of genes and their effects. A geneticist is a scientist who specializes in heredity, in particular the mechanism of hereditary transmission. If you are fascinated by science and technology and eager to contribute to the field that will likely have the most influence on 21st century science and medicine, consider studying to become a geneticist.

Become a Geneticist

Genetics Resources...

What does a geneticist do? A Job Description...

As a geneticist, you could work in academics, in industry, in medicine, or in research. A career in genetics can mean many different jobs. Genetics counselors specialize in providing information as well as support to families who struggle with genetic disorders. They educate, provide referrals, and advocate for the patients. In the field of medicine, you could study how genetic diseases are inherited. In agriculture, you could employ genetics for the purposes of breeding new crops or even livestock. Biotechnology is also an option to help in the production of pharmaceuticals.

You could also pursue nontraditional careers in journalism or in law as a geneticist. There are job options for trained geneticists in science writing, medical writing, textbook writing, and in law and policy. Most researcher or medical geneticist positions require a Ph.D. in a specialized field of genetics, or a medical degree. However, you could become a counselor with a master’s degree, or work as a genetics lab technician with a bachelor’s degree in genetics of another biological science.

What should I study to become a geneticist?

The student of genetics will need to have a solid background in math, physics, chemistry, and biology in high school and college. You could major in genetics, which is slightly less common, or you could earn a bachelor’s degree of science in biology or another physical science and study genetics at the graduate level. Most graduates enter a doctoral program. Doctoral programs would consist of advanced coursework in genetics as well as research projects.

Earning an undergraduate degree in genetics, if possible, would prepare for many options in the field immediately upon graduation. With this degree, you could pursue medical school, pharmacy school, veterinary school, law school (to work as a patent attorney) in addition of course to the possibility of graduate school for genetics or a related field. Some even enter forensic technology or bioinformatics.

Earning potential for geneticists

The average salary for a geneticist is $57,000, according to Your salary could vary greatly, however, based on your qualifications and job description. A professor of genetics could expect to make around the same, while a medical geneticist with an MD could make $90,000 to $125,000.

Those working in industry will have the potential to earn more than those working in academics or research, although researching and educating could have its own benefits if you are on the forefront of cutting edge research. If you are strong in science and interested in the study of genetics, consider earning a bachelor of science in some area of science with an eye on graduate study in genetics. Your career path options would be varied, with plenty of chances to make a good living in an intellectually stimulating, dynamic field.

To learn more about becoming a geneticist, you can contact schools that offer genetics or related programs. Another option is to take some time to explore additional careers in health care that may peak your interest.

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