How Do I Become a Cryobiologist?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Someone wishing to become a cryobiologist requires a college education to prepare for employment in the field, and usually will need to obtain a minimum of a master's degree. This field involves the study of the effects of very low temperature on living organisms. It can be applied to a number of tasks from designing better storage for vaccines to looking at how organisms thrive in the Arctic. Researchers in this area may conduct lab or field work as part of their study, and can work for government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

A high school student who plans to become a cryobiologist may want to take extra math and science classes to prepare. Students can also pursue testing or extra credit classes to take care of some college prerequisites, which can help them focus on biology when they are preparing for their undergraduate degrees. It is advisable to seek out colleges and universities with strong science programs with on-staff researchers active in the field of cryobiology. Some schools may offer a major in this field, while in other cases, students will graduate as biologists with a focus in their studies on extreme cold.

In college, it is also a good idea to start thinking about specific areas of interest. These can include the therapeutic uses of very cold temperatures in surgery, the study of wildlife, and the use of freezing to prepare and store research specimens. These interests can influence which classes a student who wants to become a cryobiologist should take. Someone who wants to work in medicine, for example, should take some premedicine classes to develop knowledge and skills.

Some may enter the field with a bachelor's degree, but a post-graduate degree can provide more options. An individual who plans to become a cryobiologist can start applying into graduate schools in the final year of a bachelor's degree program. People who plan to work in cryosurgery and other fields of medicine may want to investigate dual MD/PhD programs to allow them to practice medicine and research.

In graduate school, a student who wants to become a cryobiologist has an opportunity to conduct research. In addition, students can interact with leading researchers and developers in the field to expand their interests and refine their research projects. Graduate research can become the grounds of future work in private industry, academic institutions, or nonprofit applications. Someone with an interest in better storage and transport for vaccines, for example, might find work with the World Health Organization.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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