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.
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.
A typical Salary Range for this career is $34,590 - $94,760 annually.
The Median Income for this career is about $58,660 annually.
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:
The Association of American Medical Colleges
The National Human Genome Research Institute
The American Society of Human Genetics
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.