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Become A Fellow

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Working As A Fellow

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

  • $61,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Fellow 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 A Fellow

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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Average Length of Employment
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Fellow 2.0 years
Graduate Fellow 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Fellow
Internship 19.9%
Volunteer 4.5%
Researcher 2.9%
Law Clerk 2.8%
Instructor 2.8%
Resident 2.3%
Teacher 2.2%
Consultant 1.9%
Lecturer 1.9%
Top Careers After Fellow
Internship 10.9%
Consultant 5.9%
Scientist 5.6%
Instructor 4.8%
Volunteer 4.2%
Director 3.7%
Associate 3.1%
Law Clerk 2.8%
Teacher 2.5%

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Fellow Demographics

Gender

Female

47.3%

Male

44.0%

Unknown

8.7%
Ethnicity

White

50.4%

Asian

20.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

11.0%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.7%

French

16.2%

Chinese

6.3%

German

5.8%

Mandarin

4.2%

Arabic

4.1%

Portuguese

3.9%

Italian

3.7%

Russian

3.2%

Japanese

2.5%

Hindi

2.3%

Hebrew

1.8%

Korean

1.8%

Urdu

1.0%

Cantonese

0.7%

Swahili

0.7%

Czech

0.6%

Bengali

0.6%

Greek

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%
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Fellow Education

Schools

George Washington University

7.9%

Johns Hopkins University

6.5%

Harvard University

5.8%

Emory University

5.8%

New York University

5.8%

Georgetown University

5.7%

American University

5.3%

University of Texas at Austin

5.0%

Columbia University

4.9%

University of California - Berkeley

4.7%

Boston University

4.6%

University of Florida

4.5%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.4%

Duke University

4.3%

Stanford University

4.2%

Yale University

4.2%

Cornell University

4.2%

University of Pennsylvania

4.2%

University of Chicago

4.0%

Northwestern University

3.9%
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Majors

Law

13.7%

Chemistry

10.6%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

9.3%

Political Science

8.6%

Business

6.7%

Biology

6.3%

Medicine

4.9%

Psychology

4.4%

Microbiology

4.0%

English

3.8%

Public Health

3.7%

Clinical Psychology

3.2%

Physics

2.9%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.9%

Environmental Science

2.7%

Economics

2.6%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.5%

Communication

2.5%

Neuroscience

2.4%

International Relations

2.3%
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Degrees

Doctorate

39.8%

Masters

24.9%

Bachelors

22.3%

Other

10.0%

Certificate

1.9%

Associate

0.8%

Diploma

0.2%

License

0.0%
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Real Fellow Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Faculty Fellow Texas A&M University College Station, TX Jan 02, 2016 $285,714
Medical Fellow Eli Lilly and Company Indianapolis, IN Jan 03, 2015 $234,617
Visiting Fellow Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics Washington, DC Jan 11, 2016 $175,000
Scientific Fellow II, Drug Substance Continuous Manufacturing Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Boston, MA Oct 19, 2016 $150,000 -
$190,000
Advanced Quality Improvement Fellow Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH Aug 15, 2015 $136,660
WPP MBA Fellow WPP Group USA, Inc. New York, NY Aug 19, 2016 $130,000
Visiting Industry Fellow Robert Bosch LLC Berkeley, CA Jul 20, 2015 $128,000
Neurosurgery Fellow St. Vincent Medical Group Little Rock, AR Aug 13, 2015 $120,000
Transplant Fellow Dignity Health Phoenix, AZ Dec 19, 2016 $120,000
Fellow Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Inc. Washington, DC Jan 01, 2015 $110,235
Fellow, Africa Growth Initiative The Brookings Institution Washington, DC Sep 28, 2015 $110,000 -
$120,000
WPP MBA Fellow WPP Group USA, Inc. New York, NY Aug 24, 2016 $110,000
Fellow In North American Trade W.M. Rice University Houston, TX Apr 04, 2016 $110,000
Marketing Fellow WPP Group USA, Inc. New York, NY Sep 03, 2015 $110,000
Faculty Fellow Colby College Waterville, ME Sep 01, 2015 $68,975
Fellow Baystate Medical Center Springfield, MA Jul 01, 2015 $68,600
Orthopaedic Spine Fellow Boston Medical Center Corporation Boston, MA Aug 18, 2015 $68,526
Orthopaedic Trauma Fellow Ortho INDY Enterprises LLC Indianapolis, IN Jul 01, 2015 $68,500
Fellow Beth Israel Medical Center New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $68,439
Medical Fellow Orthopaedic Clinical Associates, Inc. Boston, MA Jul 31, 2015 $68,352
Medical Fellow St. Luke's University Hospital Bethlehem, PA Jul 01, 2015 $68,264
Hematology and Oncology Fellow Lehigh Valley Hospital, Inc. Allentown, PA Jun 26, 2016 $68,205
Fellow Duke University Health System Durham, NC Aug 01, 2015 $61,956
Fellow Duke University Health System Durham, NC Jun 20, 2015 $61,956
Fellow-Infectious Diseases UHCP D/B/A UPMC MEP Pittsburgh, PA Jul 01, 2015 $61,880
Geriatric Psychiatry Fellow Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital Lebanon, NH Jan 07, 2016 $61,807
Cytopathology Fellow Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital Lebanon, NH Aug 15, 2016 $61,807

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Fellow

Average Yearly Salary
$61,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$31,000
Min 10%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Median 50%
$117,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Twitter
Highest Paying City
Smithtown, NY
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
1.6 years
How much does a Fellow make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Fellow in the United States is $61,407 per year or $30 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $117,000.

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Top Skills for A Fellow

  1. Public Policy
  2. Community Outreach
  3. Legal Documents
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with directors, supervising attorneys and outside agencies to complete public policy piece that analyzed data and provided recommendations.
  • Participated in special projects, such as community outreach programs and presentations at community colleges.
  • Researched and evaluated sophisticated legal issues and applied findings to negotiate and prepare legal documents in preparation for agency proceedings.
  • Worked with minority institutions to develop internationally focused research projects focusing on global entrepreneurship, global STEM, and global health.
  • Edited legislative drafts, proposed legislative language, analyzed options and provisions for proposed legislation.

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Top 10 Best States for Fellows

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Virginia
  4. North Dakota
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Delaware
  7. Washington
  8. Illinois
  9. Vermont
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (25 jobs)
  • (211 jobs)
  • (336 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (868 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (371 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)

Top Fellow Employers

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Jobs From Top Fellow Employers

Fellow Videos

Apply to be a Fellow

Career Advice on becoming a Senior Academic Fellow in Pharmacology by Patrick H (Highlights)

Career Advice on becoming a Senior Academic Fellow in Pharmacology by Patrick H (Full Version)

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