Reproductive Biology Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Reproductive biology is generally offered as a collegiate-level degree program with subsequent graduate program options offered. Continue reading for an overview of the specialization programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Reproductive biology careers can involve research or treatment related to the reproductive systems of animals or people. Reproductive endocrinologists, medical researchers, animal breeders, animal scientists and veterinary theriogenologists are all reproductive biology professionals, and all but animal breeders are expected to complete graduate degrees in their field to prepare for their career.

Essential Information

Reproductive biology is the study of the reproductive systems and processes of humans and animals for the purpose of improving health and quality of life. Careers are available in the fields of medicine, research, and animal science for all degree and education levels.

Career Titles Reproductive Endocrinologist Medical Researcher Animal Breeder Animal Scientist Veterinary Theriogenologist
Education Requirements Medical degree Graduate degree Varies by employer Graduate degree Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all Medical Scientists 8% -2% 7% 9%
Median Salary (2015)* $82,240 for all Medical Scientists $82,240 $39,380 $60,390 $88,490

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

There are a multitude of career options in the field of reproductive biology, many of which could require any level of education or degree, depending on the employer. A few of a graduate's potential job options are Reproductive Endocrinologist, medical researcher, animal breeder, animal scientist, and Theriogenologist.

Keep reading for information on these careers.

Reproductive Endocrinologists

Reproductive endocrinologists identify fertility issues in men and women and determine the best treatment methods for those conditions. They offer Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, which often include the surgical retrieval of eggs from a woman's ovaries. Reproductive endocrinologists also might preserve eggs or sperm for women and men who are about to undergo medical treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Requirements

Reproductive technologists must complete medical school and earn state licensure to practice medicine. They also must complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, followed by a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers subspecialty certification in reproductive endocrinology to board certified OB/GYNs who have completed a 3-year fellowship program and passed written and oral exams.

Medical Researchers

Examples of reproductive biology research areas include infertility, prevention of disease transmission and developmental genetics. Researchers who work for universities might teach classes, supervise graduate students and write grant proposals in addition to doing research. Reproductive biologists who work in private industry perform research with commercial applications.

Requirements

Private industry careers in medical research are usually open to those with a minimum of a master's degree. For faculty positions, medical schools and universities usually require a medical degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or both.

Animal Breeders

Animal breeders create physical or genetic characteristics in the offspring of two sets of parent DNA. They manage animal genealogies or pedigrees and use the information to create new generations that preserve or enhance genetic lines. They can work with large or small animals intended for racing or show.

Requirements

Requirements for animal breeders vary by employer. Some breeders learn through work experience and have no college degree, while others may have a Ph.D. in Animal Science or a related field.

Animal Scientists

Animal scientists work at research universities and private companies to deplete strains of inheritable diseases from genetic lines of livestock and pets. One goal is to improve breeding and fertility.

Requirements

Animal research scientists generally need a graduate degree in animal science, biology or a related field to find employment at a university or similar academic setting. Private companies may only require job candidates to have a bachelor's or master's degree. Animal scientists who work at veterinary schools typically have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, but they may have a Ph.D. as well.

Theriogenologists

Veterinarians can become board certified in theriogenology, or the study of animal reproduction. These specialists treat diseases of the reproductive system and manage breeding for large or small animals.

Requirements

Becoming a board-certified theriogenologist requires earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and state licensure to practice veterinary medicine. Once licensed, candidates must complete a residency program in theriogenology and pass a certification exam offered by the American College of Theriogenologists.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the most accurate source for employment and salary information, does not provide information for all of the careers covered in this article. However, the BLS does offer employment and salary information on medical scientists, who conduct medical research, and veterinarians, as well as salary information for animal breeders and animal scientists.

The employment of medical scientists is expected to rise 8%, or faster than average compared to most occupations, while job opportunities for all veterinarians are reported to increase by 9% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS lists the median salary of medical scientists as $82,240, and that of veterinarians as $88,490 per year.

The number of employed animal scientists was expected to increase 7% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average, while the number of working animal breeders was projected to decline about 2%. The median annual salary of animal breeders is reported to be $39,380, while animal scientists are listed as earning $60,390, as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).

Careers in reproductive biology include animal breeders, animal scientists and veterinary theriogenologists, who all work with animal reproductive systems. Medical researchers and reproductive endocrinologists investigate reproductive issues with people and treat infertility. With the exception of a career as an animal breeder, all of these professions require graduate degrees.


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