Science, Technology & Environment
Geneticists analyse and study study genes, heredity and the variation of living things.
What does a Geneticist do?
Geneticists analyse and study study genes, heredity and the variation of living things. Genes contain information that control the appearance of a living organism, and how it survives and behaves in its environment.
As a geneticist, you might:
- use laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse samples of genetic tissue
- record and interpret the results of experiments and tests
- use data and statistics to develop computer models of genes
- report and publish your findings in scientific papers
- plan lectures and teach students in a university setting
- supervise, train and mentor other laboratory staff.
Key skills and interests
To become a geneticist, you would need:
- an enquiring mind
- practical scientific knowledge and skills
- good IT skills
- the ability to think clearly and logically
- to work well as part of a team
- good problem-solving skills.
Working hours and conditions
In a lab or teaching role, you would usually work standard hours, Monday to Friday. In healthcare or industry, you may work shifts which can include evenings and weekends.
Geneticists work in research, teaching, or commercial organisations. You might work in a lab, and spend a lot of time at a computer. In a laboratory you would wear wear protective clothing.
If you work at a university, you would spend time in the lab, and also in lecture theatres and classrooms.
How to become an Geneticist?
Entry Level Education
To become a geneticist you would need to complete a bachelor’s degree in science, usually biology. To get into these courses usually requires a senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, biology, chemistry or physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
You may also need a post-graduate qualification, such as a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Master’s Degree.
Employment of geneticists is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. However, because this is a specialised occupation, the overall number of available jobs is not high.
The aging baby-boom population and the demand for lifesaving new drugs and procedures will likely drive demand for new medicines and treatments that are used to fight genetic disorders and diseases such as cancer. There will also be demand to develop new tests used to detect diseases and other illnesses.
A growing population and rising food prices are expected to fuel the development of genetically engineered crops and livestock that provide greater yields and require fewer resources. This should increase demand for geneticists involved in animal and plant research.