Would you enjoy working on a cure for cancer or other deadly disease? Perhaps you'd like to be a veterinarian or pharmacist. A degree in cellular biology can get you started in any of these careers. Read on to see if cellular biology is the field of study for you.
Cellular biology is a biological science in which you study life processes at the microscopic level. As a cellular biologist, you'll study DNA and the components of the cell. You may work on answering challenging questions related to disease processes and help discover new drug treatments.
Research areas you might work in include biotechnology, molecular parasitology, microbiology, genetics and immunology. Opportunities for jobs may be found in the pharmaceutical industry, government and academia. Additionally, you may decide to pursue a more advanced or specialized degree to work as a doctor (M.D.), veterinarian (DVM) or pharmacist (Pharm.D.).
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has information about biological scientists, although it does not report salary statistics specifically for cellular biologists (www.bls.gov). Payscale.com, however, reported that as of July 2012, cell biologists earned between $35,588 and $89,203 annually. Additionally, the BLS stated that for microbiologists, employment was predicted to grow 13% from 2010-2020. This growth is considered to be about as fast as the average growth for all occupations during this period, and the increase will likely be due to openings in pharmaceutical and biotech companies' research divisions.
Cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics are interdisciplinary studies that are overlapping in nature. In order to work in the cellular biology field, you can earn a degree in a number of different areas. However, cellular biology degrees are offered from the bachelor's through the doctoral levels. Moreover, numerous degree programs are offered in all of the biological sciences, including molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.
A bachelor's degree program in cellular biology may prepare you for an entry-level job related to biology in fields such as pharmaceutical sales and publishing. In a bachelor's degree program, you may expect to take classes in mathematics and statistics as well as biology, chemistry and genetics. In addition to the time you spend in classes such as these, you'll also spend time in the laboratory.
Master's degree programs in cellular biology are rigorous and prepare you for some jobs, such as a product developer, applied researcher or natural science manager. In a master's program, you may expect to take classes in research techniques, molecular cell biology, immunology and developmental biology. You'll typically be required to write a thesis paper based on your own research. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program will generally require coursework such as cell organization, cell division and gene regulation. Laboratory research experience and successful completion of a qualifying exam are required, as well as conducting original research and writing and defending a dissertation. A Ph.D. can prepare you for advanced research positions and teaching at the college level.