Medical scientists essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $76,980
- 2012, number of jobs: 95,420
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 36 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
Medical scientists; what they do:
A medical scientist is literally a lifesaving profession. Medical scientists use clinical investigations to find answers and solutions to complex diseases. They conduct research to improve overall human health and wellbeing.
A medical scientist career appeals to people interested in understanding human diseases, intensive lab work, biochemistry, and human anatomy. A biomedical science career attracts some medical scientists.
Medical scientists work in different areas such as the federal government, research universities and private industries such as pharmaceutical companies.
A typical day for a medical scientist involves different types of research, clinical trials and investigative studies to find answers and solutions for various human diseases.
A medical scientist career includes researching and developing preventive measures to ward off diseases, following safety methods to avoid contamination, preparing and analyzing laboratory samples to pinpoint and identify microorganisms and cell structure, performing data analysis and formalizing and structuring drug dosages for medical drugs.
Medical scientist careers involve working with teams of other professionals such as professionals in health departments and physicians to improve health safety standards. Medical scientist careers also involve preparing scientific grant proposals to acquire funding from government institutions.
Medical scientist job titles:
- Medical Laboratory Scientist
- Medical Lab Scientist
- Senior Scientist
- Research Scientist
- Clinical Laboratory Scientist
- Senior Research Scientist
- Laboratory Director
- Biomedical Scientist
Medical Scientists Education, Certification and License Requirements
People interested in a medical scientist career typically need a doctoral or professional degree such as a medical degree. A Ph.D. program or a joint M.D. / Ph.D. program are the two main paths medical scientists take to obtain a degree.
A doctoral degree can take about 6 years to complete and culminates in a thesis presented to a professorial committee. A dual doctoral-medical degree program can take up to 8 years to finish and combines both scientific research and medical studies.
In order for medical scientists to interact with patients medically, they need a medical degree and become a licensed physician, which can take up to 7 years to complete.
Students who look forward to a biomedical science career typically need a bachelor’s degree in a biological science. Humanities courses in areas such as grant writing are also beneficial before entering a medical scientist career.
Many medical scientists publish various research and medical articles for scientific journals as well as work for federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health.
Medical scientist programs cover subjects such as:
- Medical ethics
- Molecular genetics
- Cell structure and function
Medical Scientists Job Outlook
Forecast: 36 percent employment growth for medical scientists between 2010 and 2020, faster than average for all occupations.
Major factors increasing the demand for medical scientists include the need for pharmaceutical standardization and biomedical development as well as the increasing aging population and the need for medical research in areas such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
Employment will also grow as a result of governmental grants funding necessary research projects. As long as federal budgets continue to remain steady in this area, employment of medical scientists should also remain consistent.
Medical Scientists Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $76,980
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $107,250
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $53,380
- Colleges, universities and professional schools
- Scientific and research development services
- Pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Drug merchant wholesalers