Where do you want to work?
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Clinical Fellow
Top Careers After Clinical Fellow
Hispanic or Latino8.7%
Black or African American0.8%
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University of Florida8.5%
New York University7.7%
Nova Southeastern University6.8%
Saint John's University - New York6.0%
University of Pittsburgh -6.0%
University of Massachusetts Amherst5.1%
Wayne State University4.3%
University of Missouri - Columbia4.3%
Johns Hopkins University4.3%
Valdosta State University4.3%
Loyola University Maryland4.3%
University of Chicago4.3%
Indiana University Bloomington3.4%
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth3.4%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Clinical Fellow (Moonlighter)||Massachusetts General Physician's Organization||Boston, MA||Jun 18, 2016||$313,050|
|Clinical Fellow||The Univ. of Ala. at Birmingham (UAB)||Birmingham, AL||Jul 01, 2015||$242,614|
|Clinical Reserch Fellow Emerging Technologies Platform Lead||Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.||Jacksonville, FL||Jul 01, 2015||$202,375|
|Clinical Fellow (Moonlighter)||Massachusetts General Physician's Organization||Boston, MA||Jan 07, 2016||$187,830 -
|Manager, Fellow Clinical Pharmacology||Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation||East Hanover, NJ||Nov 21, 2016||$149,350|
|Clinical Fellow/Instructor||Washington University In St. Louis||Saint Louis, MO||Jan 07, 2016||$120,000|
|Clinical Fellow||National Institutes of Health, HHS||Bethesda, MD||Jul 01, 2015||$113,490|
|Clinical Fellow||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC||Jan 08, 2016||$104,083|
|Clinical Fellow||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Chapel Hill, NC||Mar 08, 2016||$104,083|
|Clinical Fellow/Instructor||Washington University In St. Louis||Saint Louis, MO||Jul 01, 2015||$100,800|
|Clinical Fellow||Brigham and Women's Hospital||Boston, MA||Jan 07, 2016||$77,136|
|Clinical Fellow||National Institutes of Health, HHS||Bethesda, MD||Jun 28, 2015||$76,646 -
|Clinical Fellow||National Institutes of Health, HHS||Bethesda, MD||Jul 01, 2015||$76,646 -
|Clinical Fellow||Stanford Hospital and Clinics||Stanford, CA||Jan 07, 2016||$76,606|
|Clinical Fellow||Mount Sinai Medical Center||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$76,165|
|Clinical Fellow||Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Inc.||Boston, MA||Jan 07, 2016||$76,093|
|House Staff/Pgy-7 Clinical Fellow||New York University Hospitals Center||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$75,958|
|Clinical Fellow||Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center||West Islip, NY||Jun 30, 2016||$68,975|
|Neonatal Clinical Fellow||Tufts Medical Center||Boston, MA||Jul 31, 2015||$68,740|
|House Staff Pgy-4 Clinical Fellow||New York University Hospitals Center||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$68,685|
|House Staff/Pgy-4 Clinical Fellow||New York University School of Medicine||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$68,684|
|House Staff/Pgy-4 Clinical Fellow||New York University Hospitals Center||New York, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$68,684|
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