Medical scientists include physicians, dentists, public health specialists, pharmacologists, and medical pathologists who research human diseases, including treatment and methods of prevention, and ways to improve human health. They direct teams that can include technicians and students and conduct clinical trails as a part of their research. Some of the job responsibilities of medical scientists include:
- Directing studies of human diseases, including preventive methods and treatment
- Preparing and analyzing medical samples
- Standardizing drug dosages and methods of immunization
- Collaborating with health department, industry, and physician staffs to develop programs that improve health safety standards
The BLS reports that the number of jobs for medical scientists is expected to increase by 36% between 2010 and 2020. The increasing demand for pharmaceutical drugs, continuing research of illnesses related to AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, and the health care needs of the world's growing and aging population is stimulating faster than average job growth in this field. Private industry will provide the majority of career opportunities for medical scientists.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Medical Scientist
Students planning a career as a medical scientist should earn a bachelor's degree in a biological science, with coursework that includes chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Medical Scientists typically hold a Ph.D in biology or a related life science, or a medical degree, or both. Postgraduate students may choose to pursue a joint M.D. and Ph.D to learn both clinical and research skills.
Several schools offer online degrees in life sciences such as biology. Students should consult the admissions requirements of graduate schools if their goal is to eventually enroll in a medical or doctoral degree program in biology or a related life science. A sampling of classes in a bachelor's degree program in biological sciences may include:
- Understanding Cellular Processes
- Understanding Microbiology
- Understanding Scientific Research
- Understanding the Human Body
Medical scientists who administer invasive medical procedures on patients, such as drawing blood, excising tissue, or administering drug or gene therapy, must be licensed physicians. To qualify for licensure, physicians must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing examination, and complete one to seven years of graduate medical education.