Molecular Biology Supervisor: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a molecular biology supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

Typically working within a clinical lab, private firm, or academic setting, molecular biology supervisors are in charge of training, directing, and advising a team of researchers. They ensure a lab and its personnel are safe and comply with regulations, and that all research and testing protocols are met. A master's degree is recommended for this role; however, in some cases a bachelor's degree may suffice for lower-level positions.

Essential Information

Molecular biology supervisors oversee the research activities of laboratory personnel. They also perform experiments, conduct research, acquire funding, and procure laboratory equipment and supplies. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree in a related field for entry level positions, and graduate degrees may be required for advancement.

Required Education A bachelor's degree in a related field, a graduate degree is recommended
Other Requirements On the job experience and leadership skills
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (natural sciences managers)*
Mean Salary (2015) $136,570 annually (natural sciences managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Molecular Biology Supervisor

Molecular biology supervisors work for a wide variety of laboratory settings, including academic institutions, hospital or clinical settings, non-profit organizations, private research firms, research and development for corporations, and government organizations. Depending on the type of laboratory at which they are employed, molecular biology supervisors may conduct basic research to further subject matter knowledge, or they may work in applied research to develop new products, processes, and applications for various industries. Often, these scientists work as part of research teams on one or more concurrent projects, or they supervise the work of such teams.

Molecular Biology Supervisor Duties

A position as a molecular biology supervisor requires an individual who has both laboratory and leadership experience, as the job requires extensive scientific knowledge as well as decision-making skills to direct the research of groups of scientists or entire research staffs. Supervisors staff the laboratory by hiring, training, and assigning technicians, technologists, and scientists to research projects. They also oversee the safety of laboratory activities, making sure staff members adhere to established protocols, procedures, and regulations.

A molecular biology supervisor must report to other managers or executives to assure them that research goals are being met. They also set and manage budgets and apply for funding or grants through government initiatives, academic institutions, or private donors. Additional responsibilities may include attending meetings with executives to guide the scientific or research goals of the company and presenting findings in public or industry forums.

Molecular Biology Supervisor Salary Information

Compensation for molecular biology supervisors varies depending on where they are hired and the extent of their supervisory duties. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a medical or clinical laboratory technologist, who may specialize in molecular biology processes, might supervise technicians or train less experienced laboratory staff; average salaries for clinical laboratory technologists were $61,860 per year in 2015, with those who work in management, technical and scientific consulting services commanding an average yearly salary of $69,990 (

Further, the BLS noted that natural sciences managers, a group that includes molecular biology supervisors, reported average annual wages of $136,570 in 2015. Among the highest paid were natural science managers in semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing industries, with mean annual earnings of $204,340; those in management of companies or enterprises averaged $175,080 per year.

Not only does a molecular biology supervisor need excellent leadership skills, but they must also demonstrate a solid scientific knowledge in order to manage experiments and guide research. They are often responsible for the team's budget and also for securing project funding through various initiatives, such as grant writing or finding a private donor. The 2015 salaries reported by the BLS for similar positions indicate that industry can play an important role in terms of earning potential.

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