A master's degree program in molecular biology will give graduates the necessary background in biology and laboratory skills to work in several different careers in the field of science. Depending on a graduate's interests, they could work in areas of science dealing with the environment, public health, research and more. Below we discuss a handful of the careers available to those with a master's degree in molecular biology.
Related Careers for a Master's in Molecular Biology
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$119,850||3%|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$82,180||8%|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists (Including Health)||$68,910||11%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Microbiologists generally need an advanced degree, such as a master's or doctorate, for more advanced or research-related positions. A background in molecular biology would help prepare microbiologists to work in a laboratory setting to study various characteristics of microorganisms through observations and research projects. These scientists may study parasites, algae, bacteria, viruses and more to learn how they interact with and affect the environments they are in, which may even have implications to human health. Microbiologists typically report their findings in detailed research papers and technical reports.
Natural Sciences Managers
Natural sciences managers usually work their way up to their position after years of experience as a scientist in the natural sciences. A master's degree qualifies these managers to lead teams of scientists on various research projects that may be looking at creating and/or testing new products. They are responsible for coordinating the work of biologists, chemists and other natural scientists, as well as updating their clients on the progress of the project and any important findings. Natural sciences managers are also expected to ensure that all safety guidelines in the lab are followed and that scientists are following the proper procedures in their work.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
A master's degree is sufficient for an entry-level position as a biochemist or biophysicist. These scientists focus their research on living things and biological processes and investigate the chemical factors behind these processes. They may focus their studies in further understanding diseases, cell development and more through complex projects, which they then present their findings in reports and scientific papers. Biochemists and biophysicists may also look at the effect of drugs, hormones and other factors on these biological processes, which could have impact in the field of medicine.
Epidemiologists need a master's degree and extensive background in biology and other sciences to study the patterns of human diseases and injuries. They use data to try to determine the cause and factors in the spread of these conditions in order to prevent further dispersion. Epidemiologists need to work closely with other health officials and policymakers to help make decisions and inform the public about various situations and potential threats. Many of these professionals choose to specialize in a particular area, such as infectious diseases, injuries, chronic diseases, maternal and child health, occupational health and more.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
A master's degree in a natural science is typically needed for advancement as an environmental scientist or specialist. These professionals work to protect the environment, which in turn protects human health, by examining environmental data and samples. They may work in the field to collect air, water, soil or other biological samples to analyze in the lab for pollution and contaminants. Once they determine what problems or issues a particular location has, they work to correct these issues and help cleanup any damage that has already occurred, as well as work to try to prevent any future damage.
A master's degree in molecular biology can be applied to several different careers that utilize the natural sciences and laboratory skills. Most of these careers had a median salary of well over $60,000 for 2016, as well as positive expected job growth.