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Bioethicist Using Genomics



Bioethicists deal with the philosophical and ethical issues that confront healthcare providers, researchers, policy makers, and society. New genetic information from the Human Genome Project has raised questions regarding concepts of race, ethnicity, identity, health, and disease. Bioethicists conduct research into the effects new knowledge has on modern medicine and how society will change in response.

Methods developed from new genomic insights have sometimes been controversial. Bioethicists explore how emerging knowledge and associated technology relate to society's established systems of values. They participate in an ongoing dialogue among medical professionals, politicians, religious figures, and others to address the roles of new technology in redefining cultural standards and healthcare methods.

Career Outlook

Continuing genetic research raises the need for bioethicists who can interpret medical advances, consider them in the context of modern society, and constructively educate the public.

Working Conditions & Context

Bioethicists most commonly work in offices, libraries, universities, think tanks, healthcare institutions, government agencies, and other private and non-profit organizations. They interact with a wide variety of individuals, ranging from scientists to historians, religious leaders to students.

Research is common, as is interaction with the public. Bioethicists are often concerned with abstracted intellectual matters, though extensive study in biological fields is necessary too. They must always be willing to engage in dialogue, debate, and the free exchange of ideas.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $40,720 - $122,130 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $68,570 annually.

Education Information


Ethics is a branch of philosophy, and bioethicists must be well-educated in related schools of philosophical thought. Bioethicists should also understand biological, medical, and other scientific disciplines. A successful bioethicist will combine a scientific point of view with a well-rounded education in sociology, anthropology, psychology, theology, and cultural history.

Given the volume of studies necessary, aspiring bioethicists should expect to earn at least a Master's degree before taking on significant professional responsibilities.

Certification & Licensing:


Other Resources

Related Careers

Clinical Ethicist, Genetic Counselor, Policy Maker/Analyst

More Information

The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities

The American Journal of Bioethics

The Center for Practical Bioethics

The University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics

Bioethical Programs Evolve as They Grow

ELSI Research Program

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Greenwall Fellowship Program in Bioethics

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* Information regarding income is cited from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.