How to Become a Vector Construction Molecular Biologist

Learn how to become a vector construction molecular biologist. Research the education and experience requirements needed to start a career in this area of molecular biology. View article »

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Video Transcript

Vector Molecular Biologists

Vector construction molecular biologists examine genetic codes in humans, animals, and microorganisms. By focusing on specific vectors, which are parts of the genetic chain in DNA, biologists can construct a different genetic sequence, allowing them to make living creatures more resilient to certain diseases.

Biologists, including vector construction molecular biologists, usually split their time between office and laboratory settings. Those who interact with potentially dangerous materials must wear protective gear. Almost all biologists work in teams, collaborating across science disciplines.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
Degree Field Microbiology, molecular or cellular biology, immunology, biotechnology, biochemistry or related fields
Experience Varies by employer and education level; typical requirements range from 1-5 years
Key Skills Multi-tasking; working independently; organizational, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills; strong verbal and written communication abilities; knowledge of analytical software, such as Geospiza GeneSifter and NetPrimer; familiar with cloning kits, fluorimeters, thermocyclers, and other lab equipment
Salary (2016) $56,195 (Median annual salary for molecular biologists, which include vector construction molecular biologists)*


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Be a Molecular Vector Biologist

What steps do I need to take to be a vector construction molecular biologist?

Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree

Information from O*Net Online indicates that molecular biologists usually hold an advanced degree, but some positions only require an undergraduate degree. Aspiring molecular biologists can earn a bachelor's degree in areas like cell biology or biochemistry for a broader knowledge base. Specializations in molecular biology are also available. Common coursework for these programs includes genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, and physics.

You may want to consider an undergraduate program with a focus on genetics. These programs allow you to take on a more in-depth study of topics related to vector construction, including human genetics and genetic evolution. Most programs also offer non-human genetics coursework for students interested in animal and plant molecular biology.

Step 2: Gain Research Experience

Whether seeking employment or admission to a graduate program, practical research experience is essential. In fact, bachelor's degree program graduates often need 2-5 years of experience to qualify for many vector construction research positions. Summer jobs at genetic research and development facilities, as well as internships at gene therapy laboratories, could help prospective molecular biologists develop their familiarity with common lab techniques or improve their ability to analyze, experiment, and test results.

Recent graduates could also gain experience through entry-level laboratory technician positions with biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies, or research organizations. Almost any type of microbiology lab experience can be useful, even if it's only slightly related to vector construction.

Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

Completing one of these graduate programs can help molecular biologists qualify for advanced vector construction research positions with only 3-5 years of work experience, as opposed to the 5-8 years required for applicants with only a bachelor's degree.

Students can study molecular biology in a Master of Science program. Some programs offer a combined molecular and cellular biology concentration, while others incorporate the study of genetics. These programs teach students how to conduct advanced research in order to develop a master's thesis.

Step 4: Obtain a Doctoral Degree

Molecular biologists with a doctoral degree can pursue fellowships and research associate positions with universities. They might also take the lead on vector construction research projects for pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, and scientific research and development groups.

A Ph.D. curriculum in molecular biology includes courses in genetic analysis and bioinformatics, and students perform research before writing dissertations. Most programs provide multiple electives that allow students to choose an area of concentration. For example, a student who wants to work in vector construction could choose genetics-based electives, such as genome sciences, genetic analysis, cloning, and gene regulation.

Vector construction molecular biologists focus on parts of DNA to make living creatures more resilient to certain diseases. They generally have advanced college degrees, high-level critical thinking skills, and proficiency with industry software and equipment. And they earn a median annual salary of $56,195.

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