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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.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Staff Process Development Scientist||Mallinckrodt Enterprises||Webster Groves, MO||Jun 30, 2016||$119,171|
|Senior Process Development Scientist||Quanterix Corporation||Lexington, MA||Aug 10, 2015||$112,750|
|Senior Process Development Scientist||Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation||Scottsdale, AZ||Jan 31, 2011||$110,000|
|Staff Process Development Scientist||Mallinckrodt Enterprises LLC||Webster Groves, MO||Jul 01, 2013||$109,782|
|Senior Process Development Scientist||Quanterix Corporation||Lexington, MA||Nov 26, 2015||$105,000 -
|Process Development Scientist||Bayer Healthcare LLC||Myerstown, PA||Jun 01, 2015||$100,371|
|Process Development Scientist||Abbott Laboratories||Worcester, MA||Oct 13, 2010||$100,000|
|Process Development Scientist||Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Apr 18, 2016||$99,015 -
|Process Development Scientist||EMD Millipore Corporation||Billerica, MA||Aug 19, 2015||$97,000|
|Process Development Scientist||EMD Millipore Corporation||San Diego, CA||Aug 10, 2015||$97,000|
|Process Development Scientist & Engineer||GTC Biotherapeutics, Inc.||Framingham, MA||Jul 28, 2009||$96,923|
|Process Development Scientist & Engineer||GTC Biotherapeutics, Inc.||Framingham, MA||Jul 31, 2009||$96,923|
|Process Development Scientist & Engineer||GTC Biotherapeutics, Inc.||Framingham, MA||Jul 22, 2009||$96,923|
|Process Development Scientist||Abbott Laboratories||Worcester, MA||Sep 10, 2011||$92,000|
|Process Development Scientist||Abbott Laboratories||Worcester, MA||Feb 07, 2011||$92,000|
|Staff Process Development Scientist||Mallinckrodt Enterprises LLC||Webster Groves, MO||Oct 11, 2015||$91,000 -
|Process Development Scientist Senior||Lonza Biologics, Inc.||Portsmouth, NH||Feb 11, 2016||$90,279|
|Process Development Scientist Senior||Lonza Biologics, Inc.||Portsmouth, NH||Nov 10, 2014||$88,500|
|Process Development Scientist III||Sandoz, Inc.||Wilson, NC||Sep 17, 2010||$86,564|
|Purification Process Development Scientist||Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Cambridge, MA||Nov 17, 2014||$86,111|
|Process Development Scientist||Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. (OTC)||Lincoln, NE||Sep 05, 2014||$75,010|
|Process Development Scientist Junior||Lonza Biologics, Inc.||Portsmouth, NH||Sep 02, 2014||$75,000|
|Formulation & Process Development Scientist||Contract Pharmaceuticals Limited Niagara||Buffalo, NY||Mar 01, 2010||$75,000|
|Process Development Senior Scientist||Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.||South Burlington, VT||Aug 31, 2014||$75,000|
|Process Development Scientist I||KBI Biopharma, Inc.||Durham, NC||Sep 11, 2014||$74,069 -
|Process Development Scientist I||KBI Biopharma, Inc.||Durham, NC||Sep 17, 2014||$74,069 -
|Process Development Senior Scientist||Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.||Waterbury, VT||Aug 16, 2013||$73,133 -
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