How Do I Become a Cytogeneticist?

L.K. Blackburn

A cytogeneticist generally works in a laboratory at a research facility investigating chromosomal irregularities and differences. You can become a cytogeneticist by graduating from college with a degree in biology and finding a job working in genetics research that is focused on chromosomal change. Places that hire cytogeneticists include for-profit genetics research companies and university laboratories. Government groups and non-profit organizations may also have a need to hire individuals trained in cytogenetics. In some areas, you may be required to obtain certification before you can become a cytogeneticist.

A cytogeneticist working in a research laboratory.
A cytogeneticist working in a research laboratory.

Chromosomes can contain the key to discovering information about hereditary diseases and abnormalities in humans and animals. Research that focuses on how chromosomes affect genetic building blocks is conducted at many different organizations and companies. Individuals who work in cytogenetics seek to understand how chromosomes function and what specific types of changes cause certain issues to occur. Cytogeneticists are employed by universities and private companies to work in laboratories studying chromosomal material and publishing their findings.

Work completed by scientists working in genetics research involves isolating chromosomes and running experiments to test new theories and discover new information. Experienced geneticists manage lab technicians and plan new projects, while entry-level scientists manually test samples and record test results. To begin gaining lab experience and to become a cytogeneticist, you usually need to first earn an undergraduate degree in biology or another scientifically relevant field of study.

If you know you would like to become a cytogeneticist while you are still in high school, it may be advantageous to focus on math and science courses. You may want to apply to colleges that have a biology degree available that focuses on genetics. It may also be important to become a student an undergraduate university that has a substantial research focus as experience working in a laboratory can be crucial when searching for a job as a cytogeneticist.

While in college, laboratory experience can be gained during the semester working with professors whose research interests you or that you feel may be relevant to becoming a cytogeneticist. Typically, there are also summer internship positions available at laboratories on college campuses. You may be able to attend a program at another college to broaden your research base and experience what it is like working in different laboratory environments, which can be meaningful when you are working towards the credentials necessary to become a cytogeneticist. Upon graduation from college, it may be necessary to obtain certification from a regional professional organization to work in a laboratory as a research scientist. After this process is completed, you should be able to find a job working as a geneticist for a company or university.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?