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Environmental Geneticist



Environmental geneticists study the interaction between genes and their environments. They may identify and test genetic characteristics of microorganisms to understand their role in causing and preventing diseases. They also study human susceptibility to environmental agents. The goal is to develop new ways to use genetics in environmentally positive ways, including how to defend against harmful bacteria and viruses.

Career Outlook

The expanded medical focus on genetics has prompted an increased demand for those with specialized experience and training in related fields. It should be noted, however, that as more individuals focus on this field, competition for basic research positions will increase.

Working Conditions & Context

Environmental geneticists commonly work a 40-hour week, most often in laboratories and offices. Attention to detail is a must, as is communication. Geneticists may coordinate efforts and share data as part of a team.

Employment opportunities are available nationwide, most often in university research laboratories, governmental agencies, and hospitals. Employment by private corporations is less common.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $34,590 - $94,760 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $58,660 annually.

Education Information


Students interested in environmental genetics can pursue a major in environmental sciences, genetics, or related fields. Coursework should focus on science fundamentals along with mathematics. General studies courses such as sociology and the humanities should be included as well.

Entry-level jobs are available with a Bachelor's degree, but anyone interested in positions with authority and autonomy should pursue higher degrees and prepare to engage in continuing education throughout their career.

Certification & Licensing:


Other Resources

Related Careers

Bacterial Geneticist/Genomicist, Molecular Geneticist, Population Geneticist

More Information

The Association of American Medical Colleges

The National Human Genome Research Institute

The American Society of Human Genetics

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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