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What are the Different Genetics Careers?

Dana Hinders
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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If you're fascinated by DNA, mutation, cell growth, and concepts of heredity, genetics careers can be quite satisfying. Genetics careers make use of information obtained from many different science courses, including biology, chemistry, and physics. However, people interested in genetics careers should note that a graduate degree is required for almost all job opportunities.

The majority of people interested in genetics careers choose to work as researchers. Some of the many areas in which genetic researchers may specialize include genomics, molecular genetics, ecological genetics, transmission genetics, population genetics, and quantitative genetics. Researchers are employed by hospitals, government agencies, universities, agricultural firms, pharmaceutical companies, and biotechnology industries. Those who work for universities may also be expected to teach as part of their employment, although specific requirements can vary.

Since genetic research has the potential to help us understand how to eliminate many serious illnesses, careers in genetics can directly impact the quality of life for millions of individuals. Genetic counselors are geneticists who provide information and support to individuals or families struggling with inherited genetic disorders. This may include people who have already been diagnosed with a particular condition as well as couples who wish to know the chance a child they conceive will have a specific genetic disorder. Genetic counselors can have educational backgrounds in a number of different areas, including biology, nursing, psychology, public health, and social work. Some may engage in research activities in addition to their role as educators and patient advocates.

Forensics is becoming an increasingly popular area of specialization for people interested in careers in genetics, due to the phenomenal success of crime solving television programs like Law & Order and CSI. Genetics training can be useful for identifying unknown crime victims or working with DNA evidence to help build a case against a particular suspect. If you are interested in this type of career opportunity in the United States, keep in mind that the FBI has certain requirements you must be able to meet before you are eligible for employment at an accredited DNA testing laboratory.

In some cases, a geneticist can use his training to pursue a career in an administrative capacity. This could include managing a lab or supervising other researchers. Geneticists with strong communications skills may find that they enjoy technical writing for companies in the agricultural, pharmaceutical, or biotechnology fields. A number of geneticists also work as consultants for governmental agencies to earn extra income.

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Dana Hinders
By Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to her work as a freelance writer. After discovering her passion for freelance writing following the birth of her son, Dana has been a vital part of the Practical Adult Insights team. She also showcases her versatility by creating sales copy and content for e-courses and blogs.
Discussion Comments
By browncoat — On Jul 12, 2011

You know, if you are fascinated by genetics but not necessarily by science in general, or you simply aren't very good at things like chemistry, you have other options.

You could breed animals or birds, or even plants, for example. Most people only do this for a hobby, rather than as a full time job, but they take it very seriously and try their best to follow the genetic pattern of whatever species they are breeding.

You might also consider working on a farm, or in some other animal husbandry capacity.

Most breeding on farms now is done with as much attention to genetics as possible, but probably doesn't need a full degree in genetics.

By lluviaporos — On Jul 10, 2011

I would also suggest taking a few genetics papers if you are planning to protest against genetic engineering, or maybe go into politics or agricultural planning, or something similar.

Often people become scared of genetic manipulation because of something they have read in science fiction, or seen on TV, without understanding what the real process is.

I'm not saying there are no dangers, but more informed people are needed to make the decisions on this kind of research.

At least if you take a course, you'll be qualified to decide what is worth protesting.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa, Dana Hinders brings a strong foundation to...
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