According to The Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment, Molecular and Cell Biologists fall into the Realistic Theme Code Category. This assessment has been used since its release in 1927 to measure individuals’ various preferences and interests and use them to identify careers that they will find both interesting and enjoyable. Careers in the Realistic Theme Code Category tend to involve working with tools and using specific skills or expertise to accomplish very specific end goals. People who tend to prefer The Strong Interest Inventory® Realistic Careers also tend to enjoy working with their hands and having defined problems to solve, rather than complex or abstract tasks.

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Discover the Strong Interest Inventory® career as a Molecular and Cell Biologist. Learn about this career in this data rich write-up including information such as income, daily tasks, required education and more.

Molecular and Cell Biologists research and study cellular molecules and organelles to increase the understanding of how cells are organized and how they function. Many Molecular and Cell Biologists are professors or university-affiliated, so much of their responsibility includes managing undergraduate and graduate students, instructing them in cell biology, and managing a research lab. They also supervise technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows in performing laboratory procedures, including DNA sequencing, cloning, and extraction, RNA purification, and gel electrophoresis. They not only maintain accurate laboratory records and data, but also design experiments, oversee their execution, and interpret results and data. They adjust experimental designs in order to yield more significant results or slightly different findings. After data analysis, Biologists compile their data to prepare reports, manuscripts, and presentations for grant committees, students, faculty, and conferences.

In addition to the operations of the lab itself, Molecular and Cell Biologists are responsible for coordinating with other research scientists in conducting joint projects, as well as evaluating new technologies that enhance or complement current research. In addition, they coordinate with scientists in other fields, and verify the financial, physical, and human resources assigned to different development projects. Funding can be very limited, so ensuring that funds are allocated appropriately is of the utmost importance.

Most biological laboratories use a wide range of tools and technologies. These may include centrifuges and tubes, compound microscopes, sterilizers, DNA synthesizers, RNA and DNA sequencing equipment, heating blocks, electron guns, electrophoresis system accessories, eye washers, fume hoods, and cloning kits. Furthermore, equipment cleaners, and heating and drying equipment are necessary for ensuring that the area is kept sanitary at all times. Additionally, standard chemistry equipment, including microbalances, beakers, laboratory petri dishes, serology kits, incubators, mass spectrometers, pipettes, hotplates, pH meters, and automatic cell counters enable basic procedures to be completed quickly and accurately. More sophisticated and automated equipment, such as automated liquid handling or rapid amplification or complementary DNA ends RACE technology products, like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment, may vary from lab to lab. In addition to these tools, specialized analytical scientific software, like TextCo, MasMol, NetPrimer, and others are highly important, as are Mathsoft Mathcad, datamining software, imaging software, and more.

Most Cell and Molecular Biologists hold graduate degrees, at least a Master’s Degree if not a Ph.D. or M.D. This level of education is essential for Biologists to gain the depth and breadth of knowledge of biology, chemistry, mathematics, and the computing that they need to be successful researchers and professors. In addition, they should be confident communicators in English, both in literacy and oral skills and it is necessary to have an attention to detail and the ability to think critically about highly complex problems and processes. Systems analysis and evaluation (determining how a system works and how it can be improved) as well as the ability to effectively and efficiently allocate resources are both vital as well.

The nationwide average for Molecular and Cell Biologist’s salary ranges from $40,000 for new hires to $112,000 for the most experienced professionals, though there is some variation by state. For instance, the best paid Biologists in California may earn nearly $120,000 annually, while their counterparts in Texas and New York may earn closer to $90,000.  The average salary for Biologists in New York is $77,000, while in Texas it is closer to $66,000. However, national employment of Molecular and Cell Biologists is projected to fall 0.4% before 2024. The greatest increases are projected in California and Kentucky.

Below are some employment trends for Molecular and Cell Biologists:

  • Median Salary: $39.53 hourly, $82,220 annually
  • Employment: 47,100 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Average (4% to 6%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 4,700
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections]

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections