Molecular and Cellular Biologists

Overview
Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Experience

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

Education

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Job Training

Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Examples

These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.

Research and study cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

Salary Salary

Salary at 10th Percentile: $49K
Salary at 25th Percentile: $64K
Median Salary: $85K
Salary at 75th Percentile: $105K
Salary at 90th Percentile: $137K

Demand
Career Demand by State Career Demand by State Legend
Core Tasks

Maintain accurate laboratory records and data.

Design molecular or cellular laboratory experiments, oversee their execution, and interpret results.

Write grant applications to obtain funding.

Perform laboratory procedures following protocols including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, cloning and extraction, ribonucleic acid (RNA) purification, or gel electrophoresis.

Conduct research on cell organization and function, including mechanisms of gene expression, cellular bioinformatics, cell signaling, or cell differentiation.

Prepare or review reports, manuscripts, or meeting presentations.

Instruct undergraduate and graduate students within the areas of cellular or molecular biology.

Compile and analyze molecular or cellular experimental data and adjust experimental designs as necessary.

Direct, coordinate, organize, or prioritize biological laboratory activities.

Evaluate new technologies to enhance or complement current research.

Provide scientific direction for project teams regarding the evaluation or handling of devices, drugs, or cells for in vitro and in vivo disease models.

Supervise technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows.

Monitor or operate specialized equipment, such as gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters, and phosphorimagers.

Conduct applied research aimed at improvements in areas such as disease testing, crop quality, pharmaceuticals, and the harnessing of microbes to recycle waste.

Develop guidelines for procedures such as the management of viruses.

Develop assays that monitor cell characteristics.

Coordinate molecular or cellular research activities with scientists specializing in other fields.

Verify all financial, physical, and human resources assigned to research or development projects are used as planned.

Participate in all levels of bioproduct development, including proposing new products, performing market analyses, designing and performing experiments, and collaborating with operations and quality control teams during product launches.

Evaluate new supplies and equipment to ensure operability in specific laboratory settings.

Confer with vendors to evaluate new equipment or reagents or to discuss the customization of product lines to meet user requirements.

Design databases, such as mutagenesis libraries.

Technology Skills
Technology
Example
Hot Technology
Analytical or scientific software
The MathWorks MATLAB
Computer aided design CAD software
Mathsoft Mathcad
Data base user interface and query software
Microsoft Access
Data mining software
Data mining software
File versioning software
Git
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
Internet browser software
Web browser software
Object or component oriented development software
Python
Office suite software
Microsoft Office
Presentation software
Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software
Microsoft Excel
Word processing software
Microsoft Word
Tools Used
Tool
Example
Computer Equipment and Accessories
Desktop computers
Laboratory and scientific equipment
Laboratory floor centrifuges
Laboratory supplies and fixtures
Multichannel micropipettes
Measuring and observing and testing instruments
High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
Medical diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine products
Magnetic resonance imaging MRI systems
Medical sterilization products
Laboratory chemical autoclaves
Personal safety and protection
Safety gloves
Top 10 Knowledge Required
Biology
97%
Importance

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

English Language
89%
Importance

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Chemistry
83%
Importance

Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Mathematics
77%
Importance

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Education and Training
72%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Computers and Electronics
68%
Importance

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Medicine and Dentistry
62%
Importance

Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

Administration and Management
57%
Importance

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Communications and Media
56%
Importance

Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Clerical
55%
Importance

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Top 10 Skills
Science
95%
Importance

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension
88%
Importance

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing
85%
Importance

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking
83%
Importance

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening
80%
Importance

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Complex Problem Solving
80%
Importance

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making
80%
Importance

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Speaking
80%
Importance

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Learning
78%
Importance

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Learning Strategies
78%
Importance

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Top 10 Abilities
Written Comprehension
93%
Importance

The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Oral Comprehension
85%
Importance

The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Inductive Reasoning
83%
Importance

The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Oral Expression
83%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Written Expression
83%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Category Flexibility
80%
Importance

The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Deductive Reasoning
80%
Importance

The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Problem Sensitivity
80%
Importance

The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Fluency of Ideas
78%
Importance

The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).

Information Ordering
78%
Importance

The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Top 10 Work Activities
Analyzing Data or Information
91%
Importance

Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Documenting/Recording Information
90%
Importance

Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Getting Information
90%
Importance

Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interacting With Computers
88%
Importance

Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Processing Information
88%
Importance

Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
88%
Importance

Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
87%
Importance

Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
86%
Importance

Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Thinking Creatively
86%
Importance

Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
84%
Importance

Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Detailed Work Activities

Manage scientific or technical project resources.

Develop new or advanced products or production methods.

Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.

Establish standards for medical care.

Coordinate cross-disciplinary research programs.

Supervise scientific or technical personnel.

Direct medical science or healthcare programs.

Analyze biological samples.

Operate laboratory or field equipment.

Record research or operational data.

Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.

Evaluate new technologies or methods.

Direct scientific activities.

Develop biological research methods.

Develop technical or scientific databases.

Plan biological research.

Research microbiological or chemical processes or structures.

Research crop management methods.

Write grant proposals.

Prepare proposals or grant applications to obtain project funding.

Read documents to gather technical information.

Proofread documents, records, or other files to ensure accuracy.

Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.

Work Context
Electronic Mail

How often do you use electronic mail in this job?

Indoors, Environmentally Controlled

How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?

Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets

How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?

Face-to-Face Discussions

How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?

Importance of Being Exact or Accurate

How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?

Level of Competition

To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?

Work With Work Group or Team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Responsible for Others' Health and Safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

Contact With Others

How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?

Freedom to Make Decisions

How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

Education
Majors   based on the broader career Biological Scientists, All Other
Major
Biology, General
Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology
Botany/Plant Biology
Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
Microbiological Sciences and Immunology
Zoology/Animal Biology
Genetics
Physiology, Pathology and Related Sciences
Pharmacology and Toxicology
Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology
Biotechnology
Ecology, Evolution, Systematics, and Population Biology
Neurobiology and Neurosciences
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
Applied Mathematics
Nutrition Sciences
Human Biology
Marine Sciences
Research and Experimental Psychology
Interests
Investigative
100%
Importance

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Realistic
77%
Importance

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Artistic
67%
Importance

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Conventional
43%
Importance

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Social
19%
Importance

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Enterprising
15%
Importance

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Top 10 Work Styles
Attention to Detail
92%
Importance

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Persistence
92%
Importance

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Analytical Thinking
91%
Importance

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Integrity
91%
Importance

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Cooperation
89%
Importance

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Dependability
88%
Importance

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Achievement/Effort
87%
Importance

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Initiative
86%
Importance

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Stress Tolerance
84%
Importance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility
80%
Importance

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Work Values
Independence
86%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Working Conditions
84%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Achievement
81%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Recognition
81%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Support
62%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Relationships
43%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.