Career Options for Jobs that Involve Genetics
All living organisms have a genetic code. This can be identified through DNA testing. Dog owners can submit a sample of their dog's saliva to discover their dog's breed. People can send their DNA sample to labs that will use it to determine where their ancestors came from. More commonly, we associate DNA testing with something done during criminal investigations to identify suspects, or medical tests related to genetic disorders.
|Job Title||Median Salary* (2016)||Job Growth* (2014-2024)|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$82,180||8%|
|Forensic Science Technicians||$56,750||27%|
|Agricultural and Food Scientists||$62,920||5%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Information for Jobs that Involve Genetics
Genetic counselors must have a master's degree and certification to work in their field. They are healthcare professionals who focus on genetics; their work involves determining if a patient or family is at risk of having or passing on a genetic condition. They evaluate the patient's DNA and family history to identify genetic risk factors and produce reports for other medical professionals. They also provide information to the patient about any genetic health risks identified.
Biomedical engineers are responsible for the medical equipment healthcare professionals use. They must have a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering or a comparable discipline. Their work involves designing medical equipment and repairing existing equipment. Those who are working on equipment that's used for genetic testing may also consult with medical scientists to ensure that the equipment is designed as effectively as possible and performs as intended.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
Biochemists and biophysicists are highly trained professionals with a doctoral degree in their field. Their work involves a lot of research, and it includes exploring hereditary conditions that affect people. Since hereditary illnesses are genetic, biochemists and biophysicists study DNA and work to determine how to identify genetic disorders.
Forensic Science Technicians
Forensic science technicians are scientists who apply their skills in the field of law enforcement. They need a bachelor's degree and they use their knowledge of forensic science to identify and analyze potential evidence from a crime scene. They may use specialized equipment to identify DNA from crime scenes. Through processing relevant genetic data, forensic science technicians help identify suspects.
Medical scientists are required to have a doctoral or medical degree. Their focus is on scientific research related to medical issues. They perform studies to learn more about diseases, and those that focus on hereditary conditions would be involved in studying genetics to determine how genetic disorders can be passed on and may try to identify how to treat genetic conditions.
Agricultural and Food Scientists
A Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is a term used when a plant or animal has been changed through genetic engineering. Agricultural and food scientists may be involved in determining how to improve food production. Animal scientists may determine genetic factors affecting livestock, while food scientists and technologists apply genetic research to plants. A bachelor's degree may be sufficient to work in this field, although it's common for animal scientists to earn a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine.