Cellular Biology

If you'd enjoy working on a cure for cancer or other deadly disease or would like to be a veterinarian or pharmacist, a degree program in cellular biology may be a good place to start. Read on to learn more about fields of study and career options for students of cellular biology.

Is Cellular Biology for Me?

Career Overview

Cellular biology is a biological science that examines life processes at the microscopic level. As a cellular biologist, you'll study DNA and the components of the cell. You may work on answering challenging questions related to disease processes and help discover new drug treatments. Degree programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and interdisciplinary areas of study can include cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.

Career Options

Areas of potential research might include biotechnology, molecular parasitology, microbiology, genetics and immunology. Opportunities for jobs may be found in the pharmaceutical industry, government and academia. Additionally, you may decide to pursue a more advanced or specialized degree that can lead to a career as a doctor (M.D.), veterinarian (DVM) or pharmacist (Pharm.D.).

Employment and Salary Information

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report salary statistics specifically for cellular biologists, it has projected a 7%, or slower-than-average, growth in employment for microbiologists nationwide from 2012-2022. In spite of the demand for knowledgeable microbiologists, opportunities for employment may be affected by federal budgets and funding, as well as the availability of venture capital (www.bls.gov). According to Payscale.com in June 2014, cell biologists earned a median annual salary of $51,606.

How Can I Work in Cellular Biology?

Undergraduate Programs

A bachelor's degree program in cellular biology may prepare you for an entry-level job in pharmaceutical sales or publishing. In a bachelor's degree program, you may take classes in mathematics and statistics, as well as biology, chemistry and genetics. In addition to classroom work, you'll have the chance to spend time in the laboratory.

Graduate Programs

Master's degree programs in cellular biology are rigorous and can prepare you for a position as a product developer, applied researcher or natural science manager. In a master's program, you may study research techniques, molecular cell biology, immunology and developmental biology. You might also write a thesis paper based on your own research.

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program typically includes coursework in cell organization, cell division and gene regulation. Laboratory research and successful completion of a qualifying exam are also required. As a doctoral candidate, you'll conduct original research and write and defend a dissertation. A Ph.D. program can prepare you for advanced research positions and teaching at the college level.

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