How to Become Genetic Engineer

How to Become Genetic Engineer

How to Become Genetic Engineer
Mahima Acharya

Genetic study is a part of biotechnology that modifies DNA by adding, deleting, or modifying genes using genetic engineering techniques. 

In other words, this field of science allows scientists to manipulate the characteristics of organisms by influencing their genomes. This can be done by taking genes from different species and combining them into one organism.

This biotechnical field, genetic engineering, is among the most challenging disciplines and demands a lot of student dedication and effort. However, if you have decided to take control of genes, a genetic engineering career would be equally rewarding and stable that will undoubtedly pay off for your hard work. 

Here we have listed some guiding steps on becoming a genetic engineer that you could review before you set out to find your true passion in the field. 

What Is a Genetic Engineer?

A genetic engineer works on the genetic makeup of organisms that can alter their traits. 

Genetic engineers use genetic engineering techniques to modify organisms (plants, animals, microorganisms) to produce beneficial traits not present in their parents. This may include modifying crops to make them resistant to pests or herbicides, improving livestock breeds, creating better pets, or developing medical treatments.

Genetic engineering is manipulating genetic material (DNA) through various techniques, including molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, and genomics. This can either be done naturally or artificially. 

In nature, this occurs when one species' DNA changes into another's. Artificial genetic engineering involves using tools such as transgenic technology and gene splicing to change an organism's genes.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of Genetic Engineers? 

  • To develop and produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are safe for human consumption and environmental sustainability
  • Apply genetic engineering techniques to improve crops and livestock.
  • Create new varieties of food products through genetic modification
  • Modify genes in humans to treat diseases or enhance their health
  • Use genetic engineering to control pests and weeds
  • Study how genes work to understand the processes of life
  • Conducting research into the genetic makeup and characteristics of organisms, including human beings
  • Developing methods to alter the traits of organisms through breeding, selection, or mutation
  • Defining the relationship between genes and phenotypes
  • Identifying the causes of inherited diseases
  • Studying the effects of environmental factors on gene expression
  • Analysing the impact of genetic engineering on other species
  • Evaluating the potential risks of genetically modified organisms

Qualifications Required to Be a Genetic Engineer

  1. Curiosity

The first quality needed to be a genetic engineer is curiosity. You have to have the will to learn more about biology and discover the secrets of life. Geneticists must continually seek out knowledge and understanding about the world around them. Once you start digging deeper into genetics, you will realise just how much is left to learn.

  1. Passion

Another quality necessary to be a genetic engineer is passion. As a genetic engineer, you will spend significant time working with DNA and manipulating it. You won't enjoy your job if you don’t love what you do. So if you feel your career choice isn’t the right fit, you may consider other options.

  1. A Firm Understanding of Genetics (DNA/RNA)

Genetics are the fundamental building blocks of life. They are responsible for how we look, what we can do, and even how we think. This is why they are called “the language of life”. 

Furthermore, genetics is about genes and chromosomes, DNA, RNA, and proteins. Understanding these concepts will help a genetic engineer internalise the basics behind DNA replication and its role in heredity.

  1. An Understanding of Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology is the study of molecules that make up cells and organisms. Molecules are composed of atoms, which are themselves composed of subatomic particles like protons, neutrons, electrons, and quarks. To create a molecule, you need to know its components, their properties, and how they interact.

  1. Knowledge of Biochemistry & Physiology

Biochemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with the chemical processes inside living things. Biochemists work with enzymes, hormones, antibodies, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and other compounds in biochemical reactions. 

Similarly, physiology involves studying the bodily functions and interactions of organs, tissues, and systems. Good knowledge of both biochemistry and physiology is necessary to design solutions for problems arising from deficiencies.

The Process to Become a Genetic Engineer

Get a Degree 

The best way to become a genetic engineer is to go to college and get a degree in biology or chemistry. After you’ve studied these subjects, you should focus on genetics and learn about DNA structure and function. If you want to get into research, look at graduate programs in molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics.

Degree Programs for Genetic Engineers

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Genetics

BSc in Molecular Genetics

BSc Genetics

Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Genomics

Bachelor of Science in Genomics

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Genetics and Plant Biology

Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Genomics

Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Genetics

BA (Moderatorship) (Honours) in Genetics: Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Bachelor of Science with a Major in Genetics

BS in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Master’s Degree Programs

Master of Science in Molecular Genetics

Master of Science in Medical Genetics

Master of Science Human Genetics

Master of Genetic Counselling

Social Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry MD(Res)/MPhil/PhD

MPhil in Genetics

MSc Applied Genomics

Genetic & Genomic Counselling MSc(Medsci)

MSc Evolutionary Genetics

Molecular Genetics and Diagnostics MSc

Molecular Bioscience MSc

  • Decide a Career

Once you’re done learning about genetics, you must find out what kind of career you want to pursue. Many people choose to work in biotech companies where they can use their knowledge to develop new drugs and treatments. Others start their own company and create products that improve our lives. Some people even combine both careers and create their own biotech companies.

  •  Do Internships

Like other disciplines, getting an internship will be helpful when competing in the professional sector. Besides that, if you are also in a dilemma about choosing the career path after your degree, between human or animal & plant actor, the exposure will allow you to discover your field of interest.

  • Get Higher Degrees

The genetic field is all about knowledge; the higher your academic achievements and degrees, the higher the recognition and payout ratio. If you have decided to build a career in the genetic field, choose to go beyond an undergraduate or graduate degree.

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Salary of Genetic Engineer

The average base salary for genetic engineers in the USA is $85,000 in a $48,000 - $142,000 margin. Unlike other disciplines in engineering, the specialization field and the number of experiences have high regard in the genetic field. You could generate high income with relevant years of expertise in the sector. 

Here are some of genetic engineers' base verge salary margins on a global scale. 


Average Annual Income of Genetic Engineer



United Kingdom













818,000 NPR 


12,40,840 ₽ 


57,560 €


1,29,478 PLN

Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming a Genetic Engineer


  • High-paying, lucrative job opportunities
  • You can create your genetic code
  • You will be helping a lot of people through your contribution to the field
  • Continuous opportunity to learn and grow in the professional sector
  • You can play god, literally
  • Control over modification to take the next leap
  • High-tech working facilities
  • Different specialisation fields with rewarding income
  • Opportunities to gain world recognition for the contributions


  • Stressful working environment
  • Long-working hours sometimes might require a few extra hours regardless of day or night.
  • You can't control what happens after you make your genetic modification
  • Can’t predict how your modified genes will affect other organisms
  • Can't control where the modified gene goes once it's released into the environment
  • You can't predict what effect your modified gene might have on future generations
  • Legal complications if your creation is harmful
  • There isn’t an undo button; your error will stick with you forever

Career as a Genetic Engineer

Many different types of careers can be pursued as a genetic engineer. Some of these include research scientists, agriculturalists, and molecular biologists. No matter the study is focus, genetic engineers are one of the highest-paid professionals regardless of their contribution sector. 

Here are some of the relative fields and job titles you could apply for after getting your genetic engineering degree. 


  • Agriculture
  • Medicine
  • Research
  • Biotechnology
  • Education
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Government Facilities
  • Science Author

Job Titles:

  • Biologist
  • Bioethicist
  • Clinical Research Associate
  • Clinical Scientist
  • Genetic Counsellor
  • Clinical Geneticist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Genome Curator
  • Molecular Geneticist
  • Bioinformatics Specialist
  • Public Health Researcher
  • Clinical Immunologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Plant Breeder/Geneticist
  • Life Sciences Researcher
  • Medical Researcher
  • Academic Researcher
  • Human Genetics Professor

How to Become Plant Biologist?

FAQ Related to ‘How to Become Genetic Engineer’?

  • Is Genetic Engineering in Demand?

Genetic engineering is one of the highest in-demand professions, with working opportunities in vast sectors from Agriculture, Medicine to Research, Biotechnology, and Education. 

  • Is Genetic Engineering a good career choice?

The average base salary for genetic engineers in the USA is $85,000 in a 

$48,000 - $142,000 margin. This figure keeps on expanding with experience and proficiency in specialisation. Therefore, genetic engineering is among the top stable and lucrative professions. 

  • How long does it take to become a Genetic Engineer?

This specialisation field of Biomedical Engineering requires 4 to 8 years to be a proficient genetic engineer. The undergraduate programs are usually 4 years long, and the graduate and post-graduate degree programs have a duration of 2-2 years, respectively. 

  • Is it hard to become a Genetic Engineer?

To become a highly trained specialist in the field, it is necessary to put in much effort and dedication. The sector of genetic engineering is comparatively tricky compared to other non-medical disciplines. 

Nonetheless, if you are passionate about the sector, you will enjoy the curriculum and won’t find it challenging to keep up with the course.

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