What Factors Affect a Geneticist's Salary?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A geneticist’s salary can depend on level of education, position, and location. People with more education in senior roles living in regions with a high cost of living tend to have higher income levels. The specifics can also vary depending on current economic conditions; if the economy is depressed, wages and salaries may be generally down, for example. Some salaries are negotiable, especially for those in a strong position because of their qualifications.

Qualifications often influence a geneticist’s salary.
Qualifications often influence a geneticist’s salary.

One important factor is how much education a geneticist has received. Entry-level positions may be available to people with bachelor’s or associate’s degrees, but people with master’s or doctorate degrees can make substantially more. Advanced education indicates that someone has successfully completed research in the field and has more training and experience. This also typically comes with publication credits, which can be another factor in a geneticist’s salary; people with published papers tend to make more, especially if they keep publishing over time.

Another issue can be the nature of the position. Some geneticists work at colleges and universities, where they may teach in addition to conducting research. Others work for government agencies or private companies. People in leadership roles tend to have higher salaries, as do those working in private industry. The geneticist’s salary should be weighed against benefits; jobs at a university might not pay as well but could come with good health care, pensions, and access to grant monies.

Location is a critical factor in a geneticist’s salary. Regions with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher pay to make sure people can afford to live there. Jobs in many urban areas may come with better compensation and benefits, especially in areas where biotechnology is a major industry. In these locations, competition for skilled geneticists can be fierce, and people may be able to negotiate better pay if they have impressive resumes.

Qualifications may influence a geneticist’s salary. Beyond education and publication history, prospective employers may consider awards, memberships in professional organizations, and work history. People with distinguished careers tend to command higher salaries, particularly if they are well-known outside of genetics. The reputation of a star researcher can become an advertising point for a company, facility, or institution, in which case it may be willing to offer more pay to someone who will have broad appeal. People who have worked with noted geneticists may be able to stress this on their applications, establishing themselves as students or research partners with experience and connections.

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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