Gene Therapy Jobs: Career Options and Education Requirements

Gene therapy can be used to treat various medical ailments and may help diseased organs to function better. Continue reading for an overview of the majors as well as employment statistics and salary info related to some career options for graduates.

View Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Gene therapy is the technique of inserting genetic material into existing cells to correct a genetic problem, health issue, or deformity. This type of work is currently in the experimental stage and most gene therapists work on research projects or in academia. Due to the field's delicate and controversial nature, the scientific community recruits only highly-trained individuals with extensive educational backgrounds in their fields that culminate in doctoral degrees.

Career Title Medical Scientists Postsecondary Teachers
Education Requirements A Ph.D. or M.D. degree A Ph.D. degree in genetics or a related discipline
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 13% 19% for postsecondary biological science teachers
Median Annual Salary (2013)* $79,840 $75,740 for postsecondary biological science teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Individuals who want to work in the area of gene therapy and who have earned relevant doctoral degrees can create careers in the areas of research or teaching. More specifically, they might become medical scientists or postsecondary teachers.

Medical Scientists

Gene therapists are medical scientists who are primarily employed for research projects by universities, hospitals, and drug companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipated a 13% increase in medical scientist jobs between 2012-2022 due to the increasing interest in biomedical technology for a variety of diseases (www.bls.gov). Some health conditions being tested with gene therapy include HIV, numerous cancers, heart disease, and age-related illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Medical and pharmacological developments must be submitted to the FDA, which examines each proposal closely and weighs it against safety, benefit and ethical concerns before granting approval. The FDA hires gene therapy researchers to perform feasibility studies on proposed gene therapy projects. Scientists and medical professionals that conduct gene therapy trials on humans must be licensed doctors with a medical degree. The BLS reported the median salaries for medical scientists in 2013 was $79,840 annually.

Postsecondary Teachers

Gene therapy is still in a state of infancy, and professors are needed to train the next generation of researchers and practitioners. Though the overall growth rate for college professors projected by the BLS may not be as high as that for researchers, the expected 19% increase between 2012-2022 indicates a higher-than-average demand for postsecondary teachers, including those in the biological sciences. The reported that the median annual salaries earned by biological science professors were $75,740 in 2013, according to the BLS.

Gene Therapy Career Education Requirements

Gene therapists require a Ph.D. to conduct research. Those working directly with patients must also complete a Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree and become licensed through the state in which they practice. Specific degree programs in gene therapy exist, though other fields of study that incorporate gene therapy education include:

  • Molecular and cellular biology
  • Immunology
  • Biotechnology sciences
  • Genetics
  • Neuroscience

Post-doctoral research can be found in medical laboratories and academic facilities under the guidance of experienced researchers and scientists. Research opportunities, residency programs and fellowships offer practical experience in gene therapy and allow doctors and physicians the chance to specialize in a particular field of medicine.

Show me popular schools

Related to Gene Therapy Jobs: Career Options and Education Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Top Schools for Massage Therapy and Other Related Therapies

Read about top schools with accredited programs in massage therapy, which can help students prepare for national or state...

Top Schools for Massage Therapy

Learn about education programs in massage therapy. Find out about some top schools that offer programs in this field and...

Associate of Respiratory Therapy: Degree Overview

Get information about an associate's degree program in respiratory therapy. Check the admissions requirements and learn about...

Top Schools for Physical Therapy

Find out which top schools offer training in physical therapy, including the graduate program necessary to work as a physical...

Top Schools for Occupational Therapy

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Connecticut (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Connecticut include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Genetic Therapy
      • Nursing Professions
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Informatics and Illustration
      • Medical Residency Programs
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Radiation Protection Technology
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Medical Radiologic Therapist
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
        • Athletic Trainer
        • Physician Assistant
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics