Geneticists treat and counsel patients with hereditary conditions, develop pharmaceutical and agricultural products and research inherited diseases. Earning at least a master's degree is common, although several leadership and clinical positions require additional education.

Research Geneticist

Research geneticists study the inherited characteristics of humans, animals and plants. Their experiments and analyses contribute to knowledge of human behavior, genetic diseases and the development of crops, among other topics.

Genetic laboratory directors lead development of new products, such as drug treatments, disease-resistant livestock and larger-growing crops. Additionally, those working for law enforcement organisations use DNA sampling to positively identify suspects.

Geneticists also work in academia and at private research institutes, where laboratory time must be supplemented with grant applications and other fundraising activities required to support projects. University researchers are typically faculty members who supervise the work of students in advanced degree programs.

Clinical Geneticist

In order to become a clinical geneticist, you must first obtain the proper certification. Training in clinical genetics in Australia is conducted under the auspices of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).

Clinical geneticists are physicians who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of genetic diseases. They deal with inherited diseases, such as hemophilia, or illnesses stemming from DNA alterations, such as leukemia and lymphoma. 

  • Clinical genetics
  • Clinical biochemical genetics
  • Clinical cytogenetics
  • Clinical molecular genetics

Unlike clinical genetics, the other three specialties are laboratory-based. Biochemical geneticists evaluate and diagnose inborn errors of metabolism. Cytogeneticists detect abnormalities in chromosomes. Molecular geneticists focus on DNA mutations.