How to Become a

Geneticist

The complete career guide to be a Geneticist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $77,190
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -0.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute
  • Investigative
    Career Attribute

A geneticist evaluates, diagnoses, and treats patients that are suffering from genetic disorders or medical issues. In terms of bio medicine or agricultural science, geneticists are responsible for developing advanced pharmaceuticals and products that tackle industry challenges.


What is a Geneticist?

Duties

A successful geneticist usually specializes in the following duties:

  • Oversee measures that create accountability, quality control and enhance the standardization of data across projects to prevent security breaches.
  • Conduct data analysis and develop graphs representing latest findings from a study, store results in organized databases, and translate them into written documentation like research papers, reports, etc.
  • Explore ways to tackle a variety of problems faced by the organization and its employees, in alignment with established best practices.
  • Fulfill scientific goals by submitting original research to peer-reviewed journal publications, and interact with other professionals at national or state meetings.
  • Identify opportunities for inter-disciplinary coordination to develop and design research proposals and take part in new projects.

Day In The Life

Typically, geneticists can be categorized into two specializations – the research geneticist and the genetic counselor. Across different specialties, geneticists have overlapping tasks in this field. For instance, examining different life forms and their genetic makeup for evolution is a central part of this job. To do this in an organized manner, geneticists have to maintain detailed notes on the techniques used for research and the corresponding results. Findings are analysed using a range of mathematical and statistical procedures to observe how succeeding generations have defining traits like resistance to disease, variation in size and colour. In addition, you have to keep track of new technological advances occurring in the field to better inform your own scientific efforts.

If you are in an academic position, you will need to occasionally apply for funding and grants to support the type of research projects you undertake, and participate at fundraising meetings. Finally, the scientific community thrives on knowledge exchange, which requires sharing your research results at professional conferences and workshops, along with publishing your findings in a reputed academic journal. In the private sector, you may run experiments to generate or alter existing genetic traits by using radiation or chemicals in order to maximize crop yield or control a hereditary condition.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

Your work schedule as a geneticist will vary depending on the type of field you work in. For instance, medical geneticists working in healthcare facilities have more structured work hours, but have to occasionally work longer than 40 hours per week. Professors doing genetic research at learning institutions will have regular teaching hours and continue their lab work through the week. Experiments sometimes take days to complete, leading to extensive research in a lab environment.

Growth Of The Job

According to the US government, the growth of jobs in genetics will see very little change, but there will continue to be fierce competition for such roles. The rapid development of big data and advanced software applications that crunch large amounts of data sets will give an advantage to this field. Further, there is more scrutiny of the environment and how to enhance or modify genetics to improve sustainability, resulting in better opportunities for those working as environmental geneticists.

Typical Employers

Geneticists work with law enforcement organizations, academic institutions, private research facilities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, bio technical research companies, agricultural production companies and university laboratories.


How To Become a Geneticist

You must hold a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree in order to join entry-level positions as a geneticist. The few positions there are typically available with a college degree provide very low chances of career advancement and have functions similar to laboratory assistant roles.

Academic institutions that have research and faculty positions will need you to hold a doctoral degree. If you are committed to making a strong career as a geneticist, you should pursue a major in relevant areas like molecular biology, zoology, biochemistry, environmental science, computer science and genetics. You can focus on science and math courses straight from high school, to develop foundation skills.

Geneticists need to have a natural curiosity for solving problems and an investigative focus on exploring the genetic expression and function of life forms. You should also be comfortable with working as a part of multidisciplinary teams and translating research findings for non-technical partners, clinicians and colleagues. If it’s a teaching role, you need to have adequate competence for conducting classes with students.


Geneticist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$57,160

Average

$77,190

High Range

$112,820

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$27/hr

Average

$37/hr

High Range

$54/hr

How do Geneticist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Geneticist's can make an average annual salary of $77,190, or $37 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,160 or $27 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #156 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Geneticist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Geneticists

  • 19.6%   Doctorate
  • 32%   Masters
  • 43.8%   Bachelors
  • 2.2%   Associates
  • 2.1%   College
  • 0.2%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

36,400

2024 Est. Jobs

36,200

Job Growth Rate

-0.5%

Est. New Jobs

-200

How does Geneticist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -200 jobs for a total of 36,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -0.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #626 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally


What Companies Employ The Most Geneticists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Federal government, excluding postal service 17,600 -1,700 -2%
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 5,800 400 0%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 5,300 200 0%

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