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Become An Associate Research Scientist

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Working As An Associate Research Scientist

  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $79,331

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Research Scientist Do

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to reach their findings.

Duties

Medical scientists typically do the following:

  • Design and conduct studies that investigate both human diseases and methods to prevent and treat them
  • Prepare and analyze medical samples and data to investigate causes and treatment of toxicity, pathogens, or chronic diseases
  • Standardize drug potency, doses, and methods to allow for the mass manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medicinal compounds
  • Create and test medical devices
  • Develop programs that improve health outcomes, in partnership with health departments, industry personnel, and physicians
  • Write research grant proposals and apply for funding from government agencies and private funding sources
  • Follow procedures to avoid contamination and maintain safety

Many medical scientists form hypotheses and develop experiments, with little supervision. They often lead teams of technicians, and sometimes students, who perform support tasks. For example, a medical scientist working in a university laboratory may have undergraduate assistants take measurements and make observations for the scientist’s research.

Medical scientists study the causes of diseases and other health problems. For example, a medical scientist who does cancer research might put together a combination of drugs that could slow the cancer’s progress. A clinical trial may be done to test the drugs. A medical scientist may work with licensed physicians to test the new combination on patients who are willing to participate in the study.

In a clinical trial, patients agree to help determine if a particular drug, a combination of drugs, or some other medical intervention works. Without knowing which group they are in, patients in a drug-related clinical trial receive either the trial drug or a placebo—a pill or injection that looks like the trial drug but does not actually contain the drug.

Medical scientists analyze the data from all the patients in the clinical trial, to see how the trial drug performed. They compare the results with those obtained from the control group that took the placebo, and they analyze the attributes of the participants. After they complete their analysis, medical scientists may write about and publish their findings.

Medical scientists do research both to develop new treatments and to try to prevent health problems. For example, they may study the link between smoking and lung cancer or between diet and diabetes.

Medical scientists who work in private industry usually have to research the topics that benefit their company the most, rather than investigate their own interests. Although they may not have the pressure of writing grant proposals to get money for their research, they may have to explain their research plans to nonscientist managers or executives.

Medical scientists usually specialize in an area of research. The following are examples of types of medical scientists:

Cancer researchers research the causes of cancers, as well as ways to prevent and cure cancers. They may specialize in one or more types of cancer.

Clinical and medical informaticians develop new ways to use large datasets. They look for explanations of health outcomes through the statistical analysis of data.

Clinical pharmacologists research, develop, and test current and new drugs. They investigate the full effects that drugs have on human health. Their interests may range from understanding specific molecules to the effects that drugs have on large populations.

Gerontologists study the changes that people go through as they get older. Medical scientists who specialize in this field seek to understand the biology of aging and investigate ways to improve the quality of our later years. 

Immunochemists investigate the reactions and effects that various chemicals and drugs have on the human immune system.

Neuroscientists study the brain and nervous system.

Research histologists have a specific skill set that is used to study human tissue. They investigate how tissue grows, heals, and dies, and may investigate grafting techniques that can help people who have experienced serious injury.  

Serologists research fluids found in the human body, such as blood and saliva. Applied serologists often work in forensic science. For more information on forensic science, see the profile on forensic science technicians.

Toxicologists research the harmful effects of drugs, household chemicals, and other potentially poisonous substances. They seek to ensure the safety of drugs, radiation, and other treatments by investigating safe dosage limits.

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How To Become An Associate Research Scientist

Medical scientists typically have a Ph.D., usually in biology or a related life science. Some medical scientists get a medical degree instead of a Ph.D., but prefer doing research to practicing as a physician.

Education

Students planning careers as medical scientists typically pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a related field. Undergraduate students benefit from taking a broad range of classes, including life sciences, physical sciences, and math. Students also typically take courses that develop communication and writing skills, because they must learn to write grants effectively and publish research findings.

After students have completed their undergraduate studies, they typically enter Ph.D. programs. Dual-degree programs are available that pair a Ph.D. with a range of specialized medical degrees. A few degree programs that are commonly paired with Ph.D. studies are Medical Doctor (M.D.), Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.), and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Whereas Ph.D. studies focus on research methods, such as project design and data interpretation, students in dual-degree programs learn both the clinical skills needed to be a physician and the research skills needed to be a scientist.

Graduate programs emphasize both laboratory work and original research. These programs offer prospective medical scientists the opportunity to develop their experiments and, sometimes, to supervise undergraduates. Ph.D. programs culminate in a thesis that the candidate presents before a committee of professors. Students may specialize in a particular field, such as gerontology, neurology, or cancer.

Those who go to medical school spend most of the first 2 years in labs and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, psychology, microbiology, pathology, medical ethics, and medical law. They also learn how to record medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses. They may be required to participate in residency programs, meeting the same requirements that physicians and surgeons have to fulfill.

Medical scientists often continue their education with postdoctoral work. Postdoctoral work provides additional and more independent lab experience, including experience in specific processes and techniques such as gene splicing, which is transferable to other research projects.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical scientists primarily conduct research and typically do not need licenses or certifications. However, those who administer drugs, gene therapy, or otherwise practice medicine on patients in clinical trials or a private practice need a license to practice as a physician.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Communication is critical, because medical scientists must be able to explain their conclusions. In addition, medical scientists write grant proposals, because grants often are required to fund their research.

Critical-thinking skills. Medical scientists must use their expertise to determine the best method for solving a specific research question.

Data-analysis skills. Medical scientists use statistical techniques, so that they can properly quantify and analyze health research questions.

Decisionmaking skills. Medical scientists must determine what research questions to ask, how best to investigate the questions, and what data will best answer the questions.

Observation skills. Medical scientists conduct experiments that require precise observation of samples and other health data. Any mistake could lead to inconclusive or misleading results.

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Associate Research Scientist Jobs

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Associate Research Scientist Career Paths

Associate Research Scientist
Principal Scientist Director Of Product Development Executive Vice President
Chief Science Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Fellow Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Chief Scientific Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Laboratory Manager Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Chemist Laboratory Manager Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Study Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Professor Laboratory Director
Director Of Laboratory Operations
15 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Research Specialist Laboratory Manager
Director Of Laboratory Services
13 Yearsyrs
Fellow Program Manager Business Developer
Head Of Business Development
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Project Leader Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Systems Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Chemist Quality Assurance Manager Regulatory Affairs Manager
Regulatory Affairs Director
12 Yearsyrs
Scientist Project Leader Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Senior Software Engineer Senior Analyst
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Senior Manager Of Research And Development
12 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Project Manager Product Manager
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Staff Scientist Environmental Specialist Scientist
Senior Scientist, Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Scientist Senior Chemist Research Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager Research And Development Director
Vice President Of Research And Development
13 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Research Director
Vice President Research
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Associate Research Scientist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Staff Scientist 3.5 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Top Employers Before
Fellow 7.2%
Internship 4.3%
Scientist 4.2%
Chemist 2.2%
Top Employers After
Scientist 13.0%
Consultant 4.1%
Fellow 2.5%
Instructor 2.1%
Associate 2.0%

Do you work as an Associate Research Scientist?

Associate Research Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

48.7%

Female

36.4%

Unknown

14.9%
Ethnicity

White

45.5%

Asian

31.8%

Hispanic or Latino

9.9%

Black or African American

8.6%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

29.3%

Chinese

13.8%

French

12.1%

Japanese

6.9%

Italian

6.9%

German

5.2%

Mandarin

5.2%

Hindi

5.2%

Russian

5.2%

Turkish

1.7%

Dutch

1.7%

Galician

1.7%

Polish

1.7%

Bengali

1.7%

Ukrainian

1.7%
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Associate Research Scientist Education

Schools

Johns Hopkins University

8.6%

Yale University

8.0%

Temple University

5.7%

Ohio State University

5.7%

Cornell University

5.7%

Columbia University

5.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.2%

Texas A&M University

5.2%

New York University

4.6%

University of Texas at San Antonio

4.6%

University of Connecticut

4.6%

The Academy

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

University of Texas at Austin

4.0%

University of Iowa

4.0%

University of New Haven

4.0%

Purdue University

4.0%

Montclair State University

4.0%

University of California - San Diego

4.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.0%
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Majors

Chemistry

18.1%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

16.3%

Biology

15.0%

Pharmacy

6.7%

Microbiology

6.1%

Business

3.8%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

3.8%

Physics

3.6%

Biotechnology

3.5%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.8%

Biomedical Sciences

2.6%

Genetics

2.5%

Pharmacology

2.5%

Medicine

1.9%

Neuroscience

1.9%

Chemical Engineering

1.9%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

1.8%

Zoology

1.8%

Psychology

1.8%

Public Health

1.7%
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Degrees

Doctorate

40.3%

Masters

28.3%

Bachelors

20.1%

Other

8.3%

Certificate

1.6%

Associate

0.9%

Diploma

0.5%
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Internship
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Real Associate Research Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Research Scientist Tricom Quest Mountain View, CA Aug 09, 2016 $150,264
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University New York, NY Nov 01, 2015 $140,000
Associate Research Scientist Simons Foundation New York, NY May 12, 2016 $135,000
Associate Research Scientist Simons Foundation New York, NY Sep 26, 2016 $135,000
Associate Research Scientist University of California, Santa Cruz Mountain View, CA Nov 01, 2015 $127,000
Associate Research Scientist University of California, Santa Cruz Mountain View, CA Jan 11, 2015 $127,000
Visiting Associate Research Scientist Columbia University NY Jan 15, 2016 $120,000
Associate Research Scientist University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA Jan 09, 2016 $118,600
Associate Research Scientist University of Maryland College Park College Park, MD Feb 01, 2015 $117,742
Associate Research Scientist University of Maryland College Park College Park, MD Jan 02, 2015 $117,742
Associate Research Scientist Rohm and Haas Chemicals, LLC. Collegeville, PA Jul 15, 2016 $116,605 -
$141,926
Biologist Research Associate/Scientist Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA Nov 01, 2015 $114,252
Associate Research Scientist II Adnexus, A Bristol-Myers Squibb R&D Company Waltham, MA Aug 04, 2015 $74,806
Associate Research Scientist James R. Glidewell Dental Ceramics Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 09, 2015 $74,485 -
$89,523
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University NY May 01, 2015 $74,128
Associate Research Scientist Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Jul 01, 2015 $74,100
Associate Research Scientist Yale University New Haven, CT Nov 01, 2015 $74,000
Associate Research Scientist University of Florida Gainesville, FL Feb 20, 2015 $73,750
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University New York, NY Dec 01, 2016 $73,000
Associate Research Scientist Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Dec 10, 2015 $73,000
Associate Research Scientist Northeastern University Boston, MA Jan 08, 2016 $58,865 -
$68,865
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University New York, NY Sep 20, 2015 $58,834
Associate Research Scientist Yale University New Haven, CT Jan 07, 2016 $58,800
Associate Research Scientist Yale University New Haven, CT Jul 01, 2016 $58,800
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University Cold Spring Harbor, NY Apr 01, 2015 $58,742
Associate Research Scientist Columbia University New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $58,350

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Top Skills for An Associate Research Scientist

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  1. Methods
  2. Cell Culture
  3. Laboratory Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Introduced an instrument CombiFlash, developed methods for the purification of organic compounds.
  • Performed routine cell culture, cell maintenance/storage, cell based assays, protein assays, and protein purification related tasks.
  • Performed routine maintenance, quality control and calibration on laboratory equipment.
  • Produced monoclonal proteins using 12 L bacterial fermentation techniques for protein production and size exclusion and ionic for protein purification.
  • Generated reports and presented data in department meetings and for partners in collaborated projects.

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Top 10 Best States for Associate Research Scientists

  1. New Jersey
  2. California
  3. Michigan
  4. New Mexico
  5. Maryland
  6. Virginia
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Delaware
  9. Arizona
  10. Iowa
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  • (119 jobs)
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