United States Online Masters in Genetics Programs
Graduate students interested in biology, research, and mathematics might find that enrolling in an online masters in genetics program might prepare them for a variety of potential career paths. Broadly speaking, if you are hoping to work in genetics, as a genetics counselor, you need at least a Master’s degree in genetics or genetic counseling, although some go onto earn a PhD, so it could be in your favor to advance your studies[i]. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of genetic counselors is projected to grow 41% from 2012 to 2022 making this a potentially great time to earn your degree[ii]!
Genetics is considered one of the fields of biology. Students in online Masters in Genetics programs study genetics, which is broadly defined as the study of genes, heredity, and genetic variations in living organisms. This might include the application of genetics to other life sciences might include animal genetics, human and medical genetics as well as plant genetics. Geneticists study the inheritance of traits at the molecular, organism or population level, and may evaluate or treat patients with genetic disorders.
Some Genetics Masters programs offer specializations in Animal Science. Others may specialize in Genomics, which is a discipline in genetics that applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes[iii].
Potential Benefits to Earning a Genetics Masters Degree Online
For current professionals or busy adults, a distance-learning program might be the best way to balance work and earning a Genetics Master Degree. One of the potential benefits to online study is that it is convenient; students typically log into a course management system when their timetable allows. The latest digital technology keeps you connected to classmates and professors
and there are online research and study tools so that you could manage your time with flexibility.
Potential Coursework in an Online Masters in Genetics Program
Coursework in genetic counseling includes public health, epidemiology, psychology, and developmental biology. Classes emphasize genetics, public health, and patient empathy. Advanced courses focus on clinical observations, review of previous genetic research, and health communication strategies[i].
Students who are learning animal genetics might learn advanced research genetics, animal reproduction, statistical analysis and biotechnology[iv].
Potential Career Paths in Genetics
Earning an online masters in genetics degree might help prepare students to jumpstart a variety of potential career paths, as well as serve as a springboard to a PhD in genetics. Some of these paths might include:
- Genetic Counselors: Assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders, and birth defects. They provide information and advice to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families who may be concerned about the risk of inherited conditions[ii].
- Animal Scientists: Conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals[v].
- Agricultural and Food Scientists: Work to ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe. With a focus on food production, they explore animal genetics, nutrition, reproduction, diseases, growth, and development. They also work to develop efficient ways to produce and process meat, poultry, eggs, and milk[iv].
- Epidemiologists: Public health professionals who investigate patterns and causes of disease and injury in humans, in order to reduce the risk and occurrence of negative health outcomes through research, community education, and health policy[vi].
- Microbiologists: Study microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi, and some parasites to try to understand how these organisms live, grow, and interact with their environments[vii].
- Biochemists and Biophysicists: Study the chemical and physical principles of living things and of biological processes, such as cell development, growth and heredity[viii]
- Post Secondary Teachers: Conduct research, publish scholarly papers, books, and instruct in a wide variety of subjects including public and private universities and colleges, professional schools, and vocational schools[ix].
- Medical Scientists: Conduct research aimed at improving overall human health, and often use clinical trials and other methods of investigation to reach their findings[x].
Ready to pursue a Masters in Genetics?
Whether you are interested in human or animal genetics, earning an online Masters in Genetics degree might help prepare you to pursue a career as one of the next generation of lead researchers or innovators in the field. Why not use the search tools on GradSchools.com to find the degree program that may meet your professional and educational goals!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/genetic-counselors.htm#tab-4 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/genetic-counselors.htm | [iii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genomics | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/agricultural-and-food-scientists.htm#tab-4 | [v] bls.gov/oes/current/oes191011.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/epidemiologists.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/microbiologists.htm | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-1 | [x] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm