Growth Trends for Related Jobs
The study of DNA is an ever-emerging field of study that deals with human and animal DNA. Advances in DNA research is fueling growth in the biotechnology, medical and research sectors as scientific breakthroughs in DNA is happening more and more frequently. Job growth in this field is expected to be better than average compared to other occupations until 2018.
Biological scientists primarily deal with DNA research and studying living organisms in a number of different fields such as medicine, scientific research, microbiology and biochemistry. A geneticist is an example of a biological scientist. Biological scientists change the genetic material of animals and plants so scientists can better understand life processes on a cellular level and develop new products and processes, such as medications, treatments and even weapons. Most biological scientists spend a lot of time in laboratories, and many depend on grant money to fund their research. Generally, biological scientists work regular 40-hour work weeks; however, hours depend on the nature of the research. A Ph.D. is required for independent research but a bachelor's or master's degree will suffice for research technician jobs in applied research, product development, management and inspection. The U.S. Department of Labor projects employment in this field to increase much faster than average compared to other occupations, and the median yearly salary is about $82,000 for biochemists and biophysicists as of 2009.
Forensics is an area in criminology that attempts to solve crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Forensic scientists often consult DNA analysts to analyze DNA found at a crime scene. The DNA analyst performs testing on evidence such as weapons, substances and hair and skin tissues to determine if someone is guilty of a crime. Often, forensic scientists and DNA analysts are called upon to testify in court during criminal trials as expert witnesses. DNA analysts spend most of their time in laboratories doing testing. According to Indeed.com, the average yearly salary for DNA analysts in the United States is $47,000 as of 2010.
Due to emerging DNA research and technology, archeology and anthropology are becoming fields that are increasingly working with DNA. Biological anthropologist study and research the evolution of humans, prehistoric humans and early cultures. Physical anthropologists study human remains found at archaeological sites. Both of these jobs deal with DNA on some level, but physical anthropologists would more directly deal with DNA, as many times the DNA is studied from ancient human remains. DNA analysts are also prevalent in this field as they are sometimes used (if the physical anthropologist is not a DNA expert) to analyze the DNA. A master's degree in anthropology is needed in most cases, and a Ph.D. is required for high-level teaching positions and field research. The median yearly salary for anthropologists and archaeologists is about $53,000 a year as of 2009.