This post provides exhaustive information on the molecular genetics technologist education and career pathway, including the requirements and certification needed to become a molecular genetics technologist and advance your career.
Please, read on:
Who is a Molecular Genetics Technologist?
A molecular genetics technologist is a person who works with the molecular genetic techniques used to identify genes associated with inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, or Tay-Sachs disease.
Why Choose Molecular Genetics Technologist Career?
A number of reasons exist for choosing this career pathway. These include:
- First, the field of medicine has been revolutionized by the use of molecular biology.
The ability to analyze DNA in order to diagnose and treat illnesses has become commonplace.
As more people are diagnosed with these conditions, there is a need for more professionals to work in the field of molecular genetics.
- Second, the field of molecular genetics is highly technical and requires extensive training.
It is not uncommon for individuals to spend several years obtaining their degree before they can enter into the workforce.
- Third, it is possible to make good money working in this field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a molecular biologist was $54,000.
In addition, the BLS reported that employment opportunities were expected to grow at a rate faster than average through 2020.
- Fourth, many employers have expressed interest in hiring individuals trained in molecular genetics.
- Fifth, the demand for molecular biologists is increasing because of the growing number of medical advancements made using molecular technology.
- Sixth, this career path provides students with the opportunity to learn about a variety of different fields within science.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Education Requirements
The minimum education requirements for a molecular genetics technologist are as follows:
- Associate’s Degree in Science or Biology from an accredited college or university.
- High school diploma or GED equivalent
- Minimum two years of laboratory experience
- A Bachelor’s degree in a related field may be required depending on specific job duties.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Continuing Education
Continuing education courses offered by industry associations and professional organizations are available to help you meet your continuing education needs.
These courses are designed to provide you with new knowledge and skills that enhance your current position or prepare you for advancement in your career.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Certification/License
There are various certifications and licenses that molecular genetics technologists must obtain in order to practice their profession.
Some of them include:
- Certified Genetic Counselor – CGC
This certification is awarded after successful completion of a comprehensive examination.
Candidates must pass both written and practical components of the exam.
2. Registered Clinical Laboratory Scientist – RCLS
This is a national credential that is granted after passing a rigorous examination.
3. American Society of Human Genetics – ASHG
This is a non-profit organization that offers educational programs and services to human geneticists.
This program includes a series of workshops and seminars throughout the year.
4. American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics – ABMG
This is a board that certifies physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with genetic disorders.
5. National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences – NACLS
This accreditation agency has set standards for clinical laboratories. The process involves peer review and evaluation of the quality control procedures used in testing.
6. American Association of Blood Banks – AABB
This accreditation agency sets standards for blood banks. It evaluates facilities and processes to ensure they comply with federal regulations.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Career Pathways
There are several career pathways for a molecular genetics technologist, these include:
- Forensic DNA Analyst
The forensic DNA analyst works in labs where samples have been collected from crime scenes.
They analyze evidence such as hair, fibers, saliva, semen, blood, skin cells, etc. to identify suspects.
2. Research Biochemist
A research biochemist analyzes biological specimens to determine if there is any disease causing agent present.
They also work with other scientists to develop drugs to treat diseases.
3. Medical Lab Technician
A medical lab technician performs tests on blood, urine, stool, tissue, and body fluids. They also assist doctors with drawing blood and preparing specimens for analysis.
4. Medical Microbiologist
Medical microbiologists are responsible for identifying microorganisms found in people’s bodies.
They use specialized equipment to test samples for bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and toxins.
5. Medical Histology Technologist
Medical histology technicians perform microscopic examinations of tissues and organs.
They may be involved in examining cancerous tumors, studying the effects of radiation therapy, or diagnosing infections.
6. Medical Toxicologist
Medical toxicologists study poisons and how they affect the body. They examine bodily fluids and tissues to detect harmful substances.
- Medical Physicist
- Medical Genetic Counselor
- Medical Informatics Specialist
- Medical Sonographer
- Medical Transcriptionist.
How to Advance your Molecular Genetics Technologist Career
Looking to advance your career as a molecular genetics technologist, here are some ideas you can practice:
- Attend conferences and courses.
Conferences and courses can help you learn about new techniques and technologies.
You will find out what is being done in the field and see what companies are hiring.
2. Take online classes.
Online classes allow you to take classes at home. There are many online schools which offer accredited programs.
These programs often cost less than traditional college degrees.
3. Join professional organizations.
Professional associations provide networking opportunities and keep you up-to-date on current trends in the industry.
Many molecular genetic technologists belong to one of these associations.
4. Network with professionals.
Networking allows you to meet people who share similar interests. You could even get hired by someone you know through social media sites like LinkedIn.
Volunteering gives you an opportunity to put your skills into practice while contributing to a cause that matters to you.
It can lead to job offers and career advancement.
6. Apply for scholarships.
Scholarships are available for students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Be sure to apply early so you don’t miss out on funding.
How to find a Good Molecular Genetics Technologist School
These are suggestions to help you find a good molecular genetics technologist school, they include:
- Check local listings.
Local listings show you where businesses are located. This information includes school websites as well as relevant contact details.
2. Search online directories.
Searching online directories shows you where businesses are located, including their website addresses.
3. Ask friends and family.
Friends and family members have likely studied at a specific institution. If you ask them, they might recommend it to you.
4. Research institutions.
Look for accredited schools that offer degree programs in molecular genetics.
Look for accreditation from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), Accrediting Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).
5. Use our directory.
Our directory contains accredited schools offering degree programs in molecular genetics, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy, optometry, medical laboratory sciences, health informatics, biomedical research, occupational therapy, speech pathology, veterinary medicine, physician assistant studies, and more.
What do Molecular Genetics Technologists Do?
Molecular genetics technologists perform tests to detect and identify mutations in genes associated with disease.
They also use DNA sequencing to determine if a person has inherited certain diseases.
When a mutation is found, molecular geneticists work closely with other healthcare providers to develop treatments.
Here are some of the typical tasks commonly performed by molecular genetics technologists:
- Analyze samples.
They analyze blood, tissue, urine, saliva, semen, hair follicles, bone marrow, skin cells, and other biological specimens.
- Prepare reagents.
They prepare chemicals used during testing procedures. These include dyes, stains, buffers, enzymes, and other substances.
- Perform experiments.
They run tests using various methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis, and fluorescence microscopy.
- Interpret results.
They interpret test results and report findings to physicians.
How to be Successful in your Molecular Genetics Technologist Career
If you are looking to be successful in your career as a molecular genetics technologist, then these tips should prove useful:
- Get good grades.
Good grades will help you get accepted to college and graduate school. You should strive for a GPA of at least 3.0.
- Take AP exams.
AP exams allow you to earn college credit before graduation. The Advanced Placement Program offers courses in biology, chemistry, English language, European history, government, literature, math, physics, psychology, Spanish, US History, and writing.
- Work hard.
You can learn all you need about molecular genetics by taking classes and doing labwork. But you’ll learn even more by working hard in labs and completing assignments.
- Be flexible.
You may not know what career path you want until after high school. That’s okay! Try different things out while you’re still young.
- Build relationships.
An important aspect of job hunting is networking. Start by joining professional organizations and attending conferences.
Find out who else works in your field and talk to them.
- Keep up-to-date.
The best way to stay current in this fast changing field is to read journals and magazines related to molecular genetics. Subscribe to newsletters from professional associations and trade groups.
What Does a Molecular Genetics Technologist Do?
Here are the types of activities carried out by the molecular genetics technologist, these include:
- Analyze biological materials.
Analyzing biological materials involves collecting and processing samples like blood, tissues, fluids, and cells.
This includes performing tests to find and diagnose diseases. It also includes looking for signs of cancer and other conditions.
- Prepare chemical solutions.
Preparing chemical solutions means preparing the right amounts of reagents needed for a particular experiment.
For example, it might mean adding dye or stain to a sample.
- Conduct experiments.
Experiments are tests that look for specific changes in molecules. Some experiments involve heating or cooling a sample.
Others involve exposing a sample to light, electricity, or chemicals.
- Observe results.
Observing results means looking at how well the sample reacts with the solution. For example, if there was no change in color, then the experiment worked.
If there were changes in color, then the sample reacted differently than expected.
- Report findings.
Reporting findings means reporting the results of the experiment to others. This could include doctors, nurses, researchers, or scientists.
Qualities of a Good Molecular Genetics Technologist
Here are the key qualities of a good molecular genetics technologist, they are:
A good molecular genetic technologist has knowledge in many areas including biology, chemistry, and medicine.
A good molecular genetics technologist is reliable. He/she doesn’t make mistakes on purpose.
A good molecular genetics technologist takes time to explain things to patients. He/she explains procedures so patients understand why they are being done.
A good molecular genetically technologist is responsible. He/she follows instructions carefully.
He/she completes tasks according to deadlines.
A good molecular genetically technologist uses his/her creativity to solve problems. He/she thinks of new ways to complete tasks.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Salary
The base compensation for a genetic/molecular technologist ranges from $66,900 to $81,300, with an average base income of $73,600, according to Salary.com.
Molecular Genetics Technologist Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of medical and clinical lab technologists, which includes molecular genetics technicians, will grow faster than the national average.
The genetics industry is likely to expand for many years, and the emphasis on individualized care will raise the demand for scientists capable of doing advanced genetic testing.