What kind of training does a cell biologist need?
Cell biologists usually need a doctoral degree in cell biology or related field. A master degree may be sufficient for some applied research positions. Prospective cell biologists typically complete courses in biology, chemistry, trigonometry, physics, as well as extensive courses about cells. Many aspiring cell biologists complete internships or obtain part-time jobs as research assistants to gain practical experience in the field. Cell biologists often take temporary postdoctoral positions to gain specialized research experience. Cell biologists must complete regular continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills current stay up to date with advancements in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a cell biologist?
Employment of cell biologists is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 21% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in biotechnological research and development will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be good with strong competition for research positions. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace cell biologists that retire, transfer, or leave the field from other reasons.
How much do cell biologists make?
As of March 2010, cell biologists with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $29,479 and $57,532. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $43,513 and $72,111 (2).
A career as a cell biologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in cell biology and performing a variety of research tasks. Cell biologists must have a solid understanding of the concepts, principles, and procedures of biology and chemistry as well as knowledge of a variety of research methods. Patience, determination, self-discipline, good problem solving skills, and detail orientation are necessary characteristics. Cell biologists must have good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.