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Become A Formulation Scientist

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Working As A Formulation Scientist

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

  • $75,077

    Average Salary

What Does A Formulation 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 A Formulation 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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Formulation Scientist Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Lead Scientist 3.6 years
Staff Scientist 3.5 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Junior Scientist 2.4 years
Contract Scientist 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 16.6%
Scientist 8.6%
Chemist 5.0%
Pharmacist 2.3%
Trainee 2.3%
Top Employers After
Scientist 10.4%
Pharmacist 5.5%
Chemist 4.3%
Internship 3.7%
Supervisor 3.1%

Do you work as a Formulation Scientist?

Formulation Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

56.3%

Female

34.4%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

49.8%

Asian

37.6%

Hispanic or Latino

8.0%

Unknown

3.3%

Black or African American

1.2%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.6%

French

13.8%

Italian

10.3%

Chinese

6.9%

Greek

6.9%

Somali

3.4%

Gujarati

3.4%

Marathi

3.4%

Cantonese

3.4%

Malay

3.4%

Carrier

3.4%

Hindi

3.4%

Mandarin

3.4%

Xiang

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%
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Formulation Scientist Education

Schools

LIU Brooklyn

15.3%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

8.2%

Saint John's University - New York

7.1%

Northeastern University

7.1%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

7.1%

Stevens Institute of Technology

7.1%

University of Rochester

4.7%

Duquesne University

4.7%

Purdue University

4.7%

University of the Sciences

3.5%

Temple University

3.5%

University of Nebraska Medical Center

3.5%

Drexel University

3.5%

University of Toledo

3.5%

University of Missouri - Kansas City

3.5%

Utah State University

3.5%

University of Florida

2.4%

Campbell University

2.4%

University of Connecticut

2.4%

San Jose State University

2.4%
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Majors

Pharmacy

46.1%

Chemistry

17.6%

Biology

7.1%

Chemical Engineering

6.4%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

4.5%

Business

3.4%

Biomedical Engineering

2.6%

Food Science

1.9%

Biotechnology

1.5%

Food And Nutrition

1.1%

Biomedical Sciences

1.1%

Physiology And Anatomy

0.7%

Medical Technician

0.7%

Microbiology

0.7%

Manufacturing Engineering

0.7%

Pharmacology

0.7%

Marketing

0.7%

Health Care Administration

0.7%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

0.7%

Special Education

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

39.8%

Doctorate

26.4%

Bachelors

25.4%

Other

6.0%

Certificate

1.0%

Associate

0.7%

Diploma

0.7%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Formulation Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
President/Formulation Scientist Klus Pharma Inc. Monmouth Junction, NJ Jun 28, 2016 $210,000 -
$250,000
President/Formulation Scientist Klus Pharma Inc. Monmouth Junction, NJ Aug 17, 2015 $150,000 -
$350,000
Formulation Scientist Pharmaceutics International, Inc. Huntingtown, MD Sep 07, 2016 $125,000
Formulation Scientist Pharmaceutics International, Inc. Huntingtown, MD Jul 09, 2016 $125,000
Formulation Scientist Tolmar, Inc. Fort Collins, CO Aug 08, 2016 $120,000
Formulation Scientist Tolmar, Inc. Fort Collins, CO Apr 20, 2016 $107,016
Formulation Scientist Tolmar, Inc. Fort Collins, CO May 13, 2016 $107,016
Formulation Scientist II Bioduro, LLC San Diego, CA Jun 04, 2016 $107,000
Formulation Scientist Medical Science & Computing, LLC Gaithersburg, MD Mar 14, 2016 $105,000
Formulation/Characterization Scientist Danisco Us Inc. Trading As Genencor Palo Alto, CA Jan 28, 2016 $103,500 -
$120,000
Scientist 1, Formulation Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Novato, CA Aug 29, 2016 $100,000
Fermentation and Formulation Scientist Agbiome, Inc. Parkton, NC Jan 18, 2016 $81,000
Formulation Scientist Catalent Pharma Solutions Saint Petersburg, FL Jul 10, 2015 $80,000
Scientist, Formulation Development Patheon, Inc. (Formerly Banner Pharmacaps) High Point, NC Aug 25, 2015 $80,000
Scientist-Physical Chemistry Formulation Sciences Allergan Sales, LLC Irvine, CA Sep 17, 2016 $80,000
Formulations Scientist Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Chandler, AZ Sep 09, 2015 $78,750
Formulation Scientist Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Chandler, AZ Oct 09, 2016 $78,000
Formulation Scientist Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Chandler, AZ Mar 09, 2016 $78,000
Formulation Scientist, II LNK International, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Feb 25, 2016 $66,150
Chemist & Formulation Scientist Ans Nutrition Inc. Farmingdale, NJ Aug 20, 2015 $66,000
Formulation Scientist Novel Laboratories, Inc. Somerset, NJ Jan 10, 2015 $65,582
Formulation Scientist Novel Laboratories, Inc. Somerset, NJ May 08, 2015 $65,582 -
$75,000
Formulation Scientist Novel Laboratories, Inc. Somerset, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $65,582 -
$75,000

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Top Skills for A Formulation Scientist

FormulationDevelopmentStabilityStudiesLaboratoryNotebooksTabletPressAnalyticalDataCapsulesSolidDosageFormsNDAMasterBatchRecordsProceduresRProductDevelopmentReportsRegulatoryScale-UpFDARawMaterialsAPIGMPHplcDrugProducts

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  1. Formulation Development
  2. Stability Studies
  3. Laboratory Notebooks
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked on a tablet formulation development project, under the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Leadership program at the University of Minnesota.
  • Performed stability studies and preservative challenge testing to determine product shelf-life.
  • Well versed with variety of manufacturing equipment such as granulator, FBD, tablet press, blender and tablet pan coater.
  • Organized and interpreted analytical data; wrote summary and detailed reports as needed.
  • Formulated over 300 tablets, capsules, liquids, & powders, and am experienced with large and small formula adjustments.

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Formulation Scientist Videos

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FORMULATION SCIENCE HANDBOOK