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Become A Process Scientist

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Working As A Process Scientist

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

  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Process 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.


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 Process 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.


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
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Staff Scientist 3.5 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Process Scientist 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Process Scientist
Scientist 5.2%
Internship 4.5%
Chemist 4.5%
Top Careers After Process Scientist
Scientist 10.4%
Director 5.7%
Manager 4.7%
Volunteer 2.8%

Do you work as a Process Scientist?

Average Yearly Salary
Show Salaries
Min 10%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Median 50%
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Highest Paying City
South San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Process Scientist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Process Scientist in the United States is $86,714 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $60,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $124,000.

Real Process Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Process Scientist Afton Chemical Corporation Richmond, VA Sep 01, 2013 $120,000
Senior Process Scientist Afton Chemical Corporation Richmond, VA Mar 11, 2013 $120,000
Scientist, Process Innovation Moderna Therapeutics, Inc. Cambridge, MA Jan 09, 2016 $108,160
Scientist 2, Process Analytics Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. Novato, CA Sep 11, 2015 $107,996
Formulation & Process Scientist (Pharmaceutical SC Bend Research, Inc. Bend, OR Oct 01, 2010 $107,360
Senior Process Safety Scientist Albany Molecular Research, Inc. Rensselaer, NY Sep 22, 2014 $104,966
Scientist-Process Chemistry Genentech, Inc. South San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2015 $100,838 -
Senior Process Scientist Monsanto Company Saint Louis, MO Oct 17, 2011 $99,046
Formulation Process Scientist Dow Agrosciences, LLC Indianapolis, IN Nov 08, 2014 $98,696 -
Formulation Process Scientist Dow Agrosciences, LLC Indianapolis, IN Aug 11, 2014 $98,696 -
Senior Process Safety Scientist Albany Molecular Research, Inc. Albany, NY Sep 21, 2011 $97,000
Scientist, Process Sciences/Purification Group LEA Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. Cambridge, MA Oct 01, 2013 $96,071
Process Simulation Scientist Corning Incorporated Corning, NY Aug 29, 2015 $95,368
Process Scientist Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Rensselaer, NY Aug 30, 2015 $90,400
Scientist, Drug Process Continuous Processing Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Boston, MA Nov 16, 2015 $90,000 -
Advanced Process Scientist Momentive Performance Materials USA Inc. Friendly, WV Jun 07, 2013 $88,109 -
Scientist I, Process Chemistry Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Boston, MA Sep 09, 2016 $85,000 -
Process Scientist Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Rensselaer, NY Jun 09, 2016 $85,000
Process Scientist Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Rensselaer, NY Feb 09, 2016 $82,000
Process Scientist Momentive Performance Materials Inc. Waterford, NY Oct 01, 2011 $80,000 -
Process Scientist Momentive Performance Materials USA Inc. Waterford, NY Oct 01, 2011 $80,000 -
Process Scientist Momentive Performance Materials USA Inc. Tarrytown, NY Sep 14, 2012 $79,000 -
Process Scientist/Process Engineer II Genzyme Corporation Framingham, MA Oct 01, 2011 $78,582 -
Scientist, HPP Process Sabic Innovative Plastics Us LLC Vernon, IN Aug 23, 2016 $77,286
Process Scientist Imclone Systems Corporation Branchburg, NJ Apr 05, 2010 $74,623
Materials Process Scientist Corning Incorporated Corning, NY Sep 14, 2012 $74,000
Materials Process Scientist Corning Cable Systems Keller, TX Dec 22, 2010 $71,926
Scientist II-Materials & Process Technology McCormick & Company, Inc. Huntingtown, MD Oct 09, 2016 $71,802 -

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Top Skills for A Process Scientist

  1. Evaluation Procedures
  2. Cell Culture
  3. Regulatory Affairs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Function as a member of a team to develop and scale-up mammalian cell culture process and tech-transfer.
  • Worked closely with Product Development, Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs and Manufacturing Departments for the introduction of new commercial products.
  • Review and approve validation reports and protocols for technical and scientific accuracy and logic.
  • Harmonized the tech transfer process between the development SDF group and GMP manufacturing SDF group.
  • Perform in-process and quality control assessment procedures on raw materials, components and/or finished device products.


Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Process Scientists

  1. New Jersey
  2. Connecticut
  3. California
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Nevada
  6. Delaware
  7. Maine
  8. Rhode Island
  9. North Carolina
  10. New Mexico
  • (355 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (2,601 jobs)
  • (383 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (191 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)

Process Scientist Demographics










Hispanic or Latino




Black or African American



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Foreign Languages Spoken







Process Scientist Education


University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez


Texas A&M University


Drexel University


Iowa State University


Case Western Reserve University


Northeastern University


West Chester University of Pennsylvania


University of Wisconsin - River Falls


Washington State University


Arizona State University


Western Michigan University


Stanford University


University of Puerto Rico - Humacao


Temple University


University of California - San Diego


Auburn University


LIU Brooklyn


University of Minnesota - Twin Cities


University of California - Berkeley


University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology


Chemical Engineering








Electrical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering






Cell Biology And Anatomical Science


Medical Technician




Materials Sciences


Industrial Engineering




Natural Sciences


Manufacturing Engineering



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