Molecular and Cellular Biologists
SOC: 19-1029.02


Research and study cellular molecules and organelles to understand cell function and organization.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
36,400 employed

Projected (2024):
36,200 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Assistant Professor
  • Associate Professor
  • Biology Professor
  • Cell Biologist
  • Cell Biology Scientist
  • Cellular Biologist
  • DNA Sequencing Associate
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Life Science Research Assistant
  • Molecular Biologist
  • Molecular Biology Professor
  • Molecular Biology Scientist
  • Professor
  • Research Technician
  • Structural Biologist

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed


    Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.


    Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

    Job Training:

    Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media

  • Tasks:

  • Verify all financial, physical, and human resources assigned to research or development projects are used as planned.
  • Participate in all levels of bioproduct development, including proposing new products, performing market analyses, designing and performing experiments, and collaborating with operations and quality control teams during product launches.
  • Evaluate new supplies and equipment to ensure operability in specific laboratory settings.
  • Develop guidelines for procedures such as the management of viruses.
  • Coordinate molecular or cellular research activities with scientists specializing in other fields.
  • Confer with vendors to evaluate new equipment or reagents or to discuss the customization of product lines to meet user requirements.
  • Supervise technical personnel and postdoctoral research fellows.
  • Prepare reports, manuscripts, and meeting presentations.
  • Provide scientific direction for project teams regarding the evaluation or handling of devices, drugs, or cells for in vitro and in vivo disease models.
  • Perform laboratory procedures following protocols including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequencing, cloning and extraction, ribonucleic acid (RNA) purification, or gel electrophoresis.
  • Monitor or operate specialized equipment such as gas chromatographs and high pressure liquid chromatographs, electrophoresis units, thermocyclers, fluorescence activated cell sorters, and phosphorimagers.
  • Maintain accurate laboratory records and data.
  • Instruct undergraduate and graduate students within the areas of cellular or molecular biology.
  • Evaluate new technologies to enhance or complement current research.
  • Direct, coordinate, organize, or prioritize biological laboratory activities.
  • Develop assays that monitor cell characteristics.
  • Design databases such as mutagenesis libraries.
  • Design molecular or cellular laboratory experiments, oversee their execution, and interpret results.
  • Compile and analyze molecular or cellular experimental data and adjust experimental designs as necessary.
  • Conduct research on cell organization and function, including mechanisms of gene expression, cellular bioinformatics, cell signaling, or cell differentiation.
  • Conduct applied research aimed at improvements in areas such as disease testing, crop quality, pharmaceuticals, and the harnessing of microbes to recycle waste.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Automated cell counters
  • Automated DNA sequencing equipment
  • Automated microscopes
  • Automatic carbon dioxide CO2 incubators
  • Bacterial plate incubators
  • Centrifuge tubes
  • Charge-coupled device CCD cameras
  • Chemical hoods
  • Cloning cylinders
  • Cloning kits
  • Computerized axial tomography CAT scanners
  • Cooled benchtop centrifuges
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA synthesizers
  • Desktop computers
  • Dessicators
  • Dissecting microscopes
  • Electrophoresis cameras
  • Emergency eye wash stations
  • Flow cytometers
  • Fluorescence microscopes
  • Fluorimeters
  • Gas chromatography equipment
  • Gel electrophoresis equipment
  • Gel imaging apparatus
  • Glass beakers
  • Gradiant thermocyclers
  • Heat blocks
  • High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
  • Inverted binocular microscopes
  • Laboratory binocular optical microscopes
  • Laboratory chemical autoclaves
  • Laboratory floor centrifuges
  • Laboratory freezers
  • Laboratory orbital shakers
  • Laboratory transfer pipettes
  • Laboratory vacuum pumps
  • Laboratory water baths
  • Laminar flow hoods
  • Laptop computers
  • Magnetic resonance imaging MRI systems
  • Magnetic stirring hot plates
  • Manual single channel positive displacement pipettes
  • Manual single channel repeating pipetters
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Microbalances
  • Microcentrifuges
  • Microplate readers
  • Multichannel micropipettes
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectroscopes
  • Nucleic acid hybridization ovens
  • Personal computers
  • pH analyzers
  • Phosphorimagers
  • Polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment
  • Polymerase chain reaction PCR thermocyclers
  • Robotic fluidics stations
  • Safety gloves
  • Scanning laser confocal microscopes
  • Serological kits
  • Spectrophotometers
  • Tabletop centrifuges
  • Thermocyclers
  • Ultraviolet-Visible UV/VIS spectrophotometers
  • Variable volume pipettes
  • Vortex rotators
  • Water purification systems
  • Yeast culture incubators
  • AcaClone pDRAW32
  • Agilent CGH Analytics
  • Agilent Technologies GeneSpring GX
  • Basic Local Alignment Search Tool BLAST
  • Blast Output Browser BOB
  • ClustalW
  • Data mining software
  • Delila
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA libraries
  • EnzymeX
  • Gene Recognition and Assembly Internet Link GRAIL
  • Genotyping software
  • Geospiza GeneSifter
  • GraphPad Software GraphPad Prism
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS software
  • Magma
  • Mathsoft Mathcad
  • Mendel
  • Michigan State University MSU ProFlex
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Minitab software
  • Molecular Devices Corporation MetaMorph
  • NetPrimer
  • Primer3 software
  • RasMol
  • Textco BioSoftware Gene Inspector
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Web browser software
  • Wolfram Research Mathematica

  • life physical and social science

    industry stats

    SOC: 19-0000

    Total Employed: 1,146,110

    Average Annual Salary: $71,220