Embryologist: Job Description & Career Requirements

Embryologists require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and average salary to see if this is the right career for you.

Embryologists can work with doctors to aid patients needing reproductive help or they can work in research. They start their career path with an undergraduate degree in a biological science field before moving into a master's degree. program Successful embryologists need to be able to combine clinical work and research.

Essential Information

Embryologists study the beginning of life and the science of reproduction. They typically have at least a master's degree, though some may have either a doctoral or medical degree. Those trained in embryology can pursue careers as fertility researchers, senior embryologists, professors and andrologists.

Required Education Master's degree in clinical science; some students also earn an M.D. or Ph.D. degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% for all medical scientists*
Median Annual Wages (May 2015) $82,240 for all medical scientists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Definition: Embryologist

Embryologists most commonly work with physicians to assist their patients with reproductive health issues and clinical research. Clinical embryologists are responsible for retrieving eggs, assisting with in vitro fertilization, maintaining clinical records and running tests on eggs. They often work in hospitals and fertility clinics, but may also perform laboratory work or seek posts in academia.

Education Requirements

Embryologists need a bachelor's degree in biology or biomedicine and a master's degree in reproductive science or clinical science, though some embryologists earn a Ph.D. or M.D. as well. A few such scientists possess both a doctorate and medical degree. Courses specific to this field include biochemistry, molecular biology, endocrinology, infertility, genetics and in vitro fertilization. A bachelor's degree typically takes 4-5 years to achieve, while a master's takes an additional two years of study and a Ph.D. is another three years. Students pursuing a medical doctorate need to also complete residency and internship programs.

Skill Requirements

Embryologists often work in positions involving either clinical practice or research. Regardless of the type of position, most embryologists need skills for both positions. Thus, they need to be able to conduct academic research and write papers, understand advances in medical science and counsel those who seek reproductive help.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical scientists will see job growth of 8% for the decade from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes that those working in the medical sciences will have better job prospects if they have an advanced degree, like an M.S. or Ph.D.

An embryologist's work may include fertility medical procedures, research, writing, or patient consultations. A master's degree is the minimum, while some embryologists may continue into medical degrees or doctorates. Embryologists can find employment in hospitals or clinics specializing in fertility and reproduction or they can choose to work in a more academic or research type setting.

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