How do I Become a Cell Biologist?

N. Madison

Preparation to become a cell biologist typically requires a significant amount of education. A person interested in a career in this field typically starts by earning his high school diploma, though a General Educational Development (GED) diploma or its equivalent may be acceptable as well. He then goes on to complete four years of college, which may qualify him for an entry-level position in a science or research company. In order to have a fuller range of cell biology options available to him, however, a person usually has to attend graduate school and earn a master’s degree or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) as well.

Cell biologists often begin their education by taking courses in science and math.
Cell biologists often begin their education by taking courses in science and math.

A person who wants to become a cell biologist often starts preparing in high school by taking advanced courses in science and math. For example, a person interested in this field may take biology, anatomy, physics, algebra, and trigonometry. He may also take pre-calculus in order to prepare for the rigors of college and graduate school training in this complex field.

Cell biologists often study single-celled organisms.
Cell biologists often study single-celled organisms.

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While in college, a person who wants to become a cell biologist will study cells, including their behavior and longevity when they are by themselves. He will also study their behavior and function as part of a plant or animal. Likewise, he will learn about single-celled organisms as part of his studies. He will typically also cover how cells are interrelated and thoroughly explore cell anatomy. Among the science fields a person usually explores while pursing a cell biology degree include chemistry, microbiology, molecular and cellular biology, and genes.

After college, a person who wants to become a cell biologist may move on to advanced study of the subject, working toward a master’s degree in cell biology. Typically, the person will have to take an aptitude test to demonstrate his ability to pursue advanced coursework. Admission to a graduate school program in cell biology is often based on college grades, aptitude test scores, and the student’s participation in other activities.

Some people may choose to look for a job after completing college or graduate school, but many others go on to pursue a Ph.D. in cell biology. Earning a Ph.D. may help the student secure more advanced employment after he has completed his education. In fact, a person pursing this field may need a Ph.D. in order to secure some research positions. Additionally, he’ll likely need a doctoral degree if he wants to teach as a tenured professor at a college or university.

Cell biologists may study plant cells.
Cell biologists may study plant cells.

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