Embryologists are biologists that study fetal development. They may work with the embryos of many species, including humans.
Embryologists study the early growth of living organisms. These workers examine the stages of animal and plant pregnancies in order to observe the development of unborn progeny. At least a bachelor's degree is needed to enter this field, but graduate education is also available.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||0.4% decline (biological scientists, all other)|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$75,150 (biological scientists, all other)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Embryologist Education Requirements
Students interested in entry-level embryology research assistant positions should obtain a Bachelor of Science in Embryology. Alternate fields of study include microbiology or biochemistry. A 4-year degree is the minimum level of education needed to work in the field. Master's and doctoral degree programs focusing on embryology are available; this is the desired education level for those looking to attain research positions. A minor in genetics is extremely beneficial for those entering this field.
Embryology coursework at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is a mixture of classroom lectures and hands-on laboratory work. Primary courses focus on biomedical science, andrology, cell biology and clinical embryology. Other classes may cover ethics, genetics, cryopreservation and laboratory technology. Master's degree and doctorate programs emphasize the development of writing skills for scientific proposals and journal publications. Many courses involve learning about male and female fertility and infertility, allowing students to develop a clear understanding of the field.
Those with a bachelor's degree in embryology can obtain employment as laboratory technicians or research assistants, working under close supervision and providing assistance to senior staff. Advanced positions are generally reserved for employees with at least master's degree. Doctorate-holders often become the managers and leaders of group research projects. Embryologists with a graduate degree can also enter educational positions, working as professors and teaching students about the field. Potential employers include fertility clinics, universities, hospitals, embryology laboratories, biotechnology firms, government organizations and commercial industries.
Embryology tasks vary greatly depending on career position. However, there are common skills shared by all embryologists. Conducting research on the function and genetic make-up of embryos is a very important job duty for this career. Studies are performed in order to classify, identify and observe embryos for a multitude of scientific and medical goals, such as assisting with problems associated with pregnancy and birth. Most embryologists must have a high-level grasp of computers to speed up research and accurately record logs of research data.
Embryologists conduct research to understand how embryos develop and what may cause development problems and conditions. A firm grasp of genetics, biology, and fetal development is crucial in this field.