Research and study the inheritance of traits at the molecular, organism or population level. May evaluate or treat patients with genetic disorders.
Sample of reported job titles: Cardiovascular Geneticist, Medical Geneticist, Research Scientist, Scientist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Supervise or direct the work of other geneticists, biologists, technicians, or biometricians working on genetics research projects.
- Plan or conduct basic genomic and biological research related to areas such as regulation of gene expression, protein interactions, metabolic networks, and nucleic acid or protein complexes.
- Prepare results of experimental findings for presentation at professional conferences or in scientific journals.
- Maintain laboratory notebooks that record research methods, procedures, and results.
- Write grants and papers or attend fundraising events to seek research funds.
- Search scientific literature to select and modify methods and procedures most appropriate for genetic research goals.
- Review, approve, or interpret genetic laboratory results.
- Attend clinical and research conferences and read scientific literature to keep abreast of technological advances and current genetic research findings.
- Evaluate genetic data by performing appropriate mathematical or statistical calculations and analyses.
- Analyze determinants responsible for specific inherited traits, and devise methods for altering traits or producing new traits.
- Extract deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or perform diagnostic tests involving processes such as gel electrophoresis, Southern blot analysis, and polymerase chain reaction analysis.
- Collaborate with biologists and other professionals to conduct appropriate genetic and biochemical analyses.
- Instruct medical students, graduate students, or others in methods or procedures for diagnosis and management of genetic disorders.
- Create or use statistical models for the analysis of genetic data.
- Maintain laboratory safety programs and train personnel in laboratory safety techniques.
- Verify that cytogenetic, molecular genetic, and related equipment and instrumentation is maintained in working condition to ensure accuracy and quality of experimental results.
- Develop protocols to improve existing genetic techniques or to incorporate new diagnostic procedures.
- Confer with information technology specialists to develop computer applications for genetic data analysis.
- Design sampling plans or coordinate the field collection of samples such as tissue specimens.
- Evaluate, diagnose, or treat genetic diseases.
- Conduct family medical studies to evaluate the genetic basis for traits or diseases.
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- Analytical or scientific software — RTI International SUDAAN; SAS JMP; SAS/Genetics; Ward Systems Group GeneHunter (see all 12 examples)
- Application server software — GitHub
- Data base user interface and query software — Bioinformatics databases; Database software ; Microsoft Access ; Structured query language SQL (see all 5 examples)
- Data mining software — Golden Helix HelixTree
- Development environment software — Formula translation/translator FORTRAN
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- File versioning software — Git
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Plate reader software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Oracle Java ; Perl ; R (see all 6 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
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- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Research genetic characteristics or expression.
- Plan biological research.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Prepare proposal documents or grant applications.
- Record research or operational data.
- Interpret research or operational data.
- Attend conferences or workshops to maintain professional knowledge.
- Analyze biological samples.
- Research diseases or parasites.
- Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
- Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
- Collaborate with technical specialists to resolve design or development problems.
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
- Establish standards for medical care.
- Develop technical or scientific databases.
- Plan natural resources conservation or restoration programs.
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- Electronic Mail — 96% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 92% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 84% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 64% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 72% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 64% responded “Some freedom.”
- Level of Competition — 52% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Very important.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 40% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 56% responded “About half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 38% responded “Important results.”
- Telephone — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 36% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 33% responded “Important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 28% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 32% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: IAR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
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- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
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- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
Employment data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
Industry data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
|Median wages (2020)||$41.00 hourly, $85,290 annual|
|Employment (2020)||46,200 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Slower than average (1% to 5%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||4,200|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association for Cancer Research
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Association of Anthropological Genetics
- American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics
- American Genetic Association
- American Medical Association
- American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- American Society for Cell Biology
- American Society for Microbiology
- Botanical Society of America
- Genetics Society of America
- International Genetic Epidemiology Society
- Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
- Society for Developmental Biology
- Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders
- Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
- Society for the Study of Evolution
- The American Society of Human Genetics
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