Cellular biologists go by a lot of different names on the job market: “cell biologist,” “molecular biologist, “biologist,” “senior scientist” and more. Despite the plurality of names, however, the essential work remains the same: leveraging the latest lab tools and techniques to uncover evidence-driven scientific breakthroughs. What does that look like in everyday practice?
Daily priorities for most cellular biologists include:
- recording, analyzing and interpreting data and findings
- testing samples and other materials
- collaborating daily with lab colleagues to develop and optimize equipment, technology, processes and procedures in support of key goals
- analyzing cell signaling
- conducting research in cell and molecular biology
- working closely with cross-functional colleagues to help advance research and development (R&D) timelines and support clinical trials
- preparing and delivering technical reports
- contributing to publications
- staying up to date on the latest research and techniques in microbiology as well as cell and molecular biology
- working with regulatory affairs teams
- adhering at all times to local, state, federal and other regulatory requirements
how do you become a cellular biologist?
The answer, in a single word, is “education.” Indeed, this is one role where there are relatively high barriers to entry. As you can see below, the core requirements for becoming a cellular biologist include some pretty extensive educational experience, including an advanced degree:
- Ph.D. in molecular or cellular biology (not always required)
- master’s degree in molecular or cellular biology
- bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences
- one or more years of previous experience in a clinical laboratory setting
Bear in mind, if you do already have some scientific training, then becoming a cellular biologist certainly isn’t out of the question — plus, there are some great resources you can access right now if you want to expand your knowledge base. Check out the top courses in cell biology available on Udemy, our learning partner and the world's largest online learning platform, if you aren’t sure where to get started.
what are the key skills of a cellular biologist?
Cellular biologists are highly trained lab science experts — but that doesn’t mean the only thing that counts, in the minds of employers, is technical knowledge. Soft skills matter a great deal as well. So if you want to stand out as a candidate, do your best to highlight the following on your resume:
- strategic thinking
- strategic planning
- problem solving
- organization and time management
- attentiveness to detail
- design thinking
- cross-functional collaboration
- written, verbal and presentation skills
- emotional intelligence (EQ)
Think you can convince a prospective employer that you've got all of these traits, plus the core technical background? If so, the job should be all yours.
what is the salary of a cellular biologist?
Looking at the latest data, average salaries for cellular biologists can be grouped into three tiers — low, middle and high — depending on a host of factors, such as your location, day-to-day responsibilities and previous professional experience.
Those tiers are as follows:
This is probably a good time to offer a quick recap of everything we’ve covered so far:
- what cellular biologists do
- background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
- key skills
- and much, much more!