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Become A Product Development Scientist

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Working As A Product Development Scientist

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

  • $78,013

    Average Salary

What Does A Product Development 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 Product Development 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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Product Development Scientist Videos

Day in the Life: Mechanical Engineer

Erupt-a-Cake: Food Product Development at the School of Food Science

Product Development and Delivery in Global Health - The Science of Global Health: What’s Next?

Product Development Scientist Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Process Scientist 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Product Development Scientist
Scientist 8.4%
Internship 7.8%
Chemist 5.4%
Fellow 2.7%
Top Careers After Product Development Scientist
Scientist 7.3%
Chemist 4.7%
Consultant 3.7%

Do you work as a Product Development Scientist?

Product Development Scientist Demographics

Gender

Male

53.3%

Female

37.6%

Unknown

9.1%
Ethnicity

White

49.3%

Asian

25.4%

Hispanic or Latino

11.9%

Black or African American

8.3%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

38.5%

Chinese

23.1%

German

7.7%

French

7.7%

Mandarin

7.7%

Swahili

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Carrier

3.8%

Hindi

3.8%
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Product Development Scientist Education

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

8.0%

University of Wisconsin Extension

6.9%

University of Wisconsin - Madison

6.9%

Purdue University

6.9%

University of California - Davis

5.7%

Kansas State University

5.7%

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

5.7%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

4.6%

University of California - San Diego

4.6%

Drexel University

4.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.6%

Johns Hopkins University

4.6%

Ohio State University

4.6%

University of Delaware

4.6%

Cornell University

4.6%

Rice University

3.4%

Washington State University

3.4%

North Carolina State University

3.4%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

3.4%

Georgia State University

3.4%
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Majors

Chemistry

21.4%

Food Science

15.7%

Biology

12.8%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

8.0%

Chemical Engineering

6.7%

Pharmacy

6.4%

Business

6.4%

Biotechnology

3.8%

Biomedical Engineering

2.6%

Microbiology

2.2%

Medical Technician

1.9%

Management

1.6%

Physics

1.6%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Food And Nutrition

1.3%

Finance

1.3%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.3%

Biomedical Sciences

1.3%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

1.3%
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Degrees

Masters

35.6%

Bachelors

35.1%

Doctorate

21.0%

Other

4.7%

Certificate

1.8%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.3%
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Product Development Scientist Videos

Day in the Life: Mechanical Engineer

Erupt-a-Cake: Food Product Development at the School of Food Science

Product Development and Delivery in Global Health - The Science of Global Health: What’s Next?

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Product Development Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Product Development Scientist Mead Johnson & Company, LLC Evansville, IN Jul 01, 2014 $111,664
Staff Product Development Scientist Raven Industries, Inc. Sioux Falls, SD Sep 01, 2014 $103,165
Scientist, Formulation & Combination Product Development TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. West Chester, PA Nov 07, 2016 $102,000
Scientist, Formulation and Combination Product Development TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. West Chester, PA Nov 07, 2016 $102,000
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Aug 15, 2015 $97,800
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Aug 27, 2015 $97,800
Product Development Principal Scientist Mead Johnson & Company, LLC Evansville, IN Feb 11, 2013 $96,095
Product Development Scientist First Quality Baby Products LLC King of Prussia, PA Sep 01, 2013 $95,859 -
$159,765
Product Development Scientist Chicopee Inc. TN Sep 21, 2015 $95,306 -
$110,000
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Aug 29, 2014 $95,000
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Jan 26, 2016 $94,900
Global Product Assessment Scientist Monsanto Company Chesterfield, MO Jul 21, 2014 $93,000
Scientist I, Product Development G&W Laboratories, Inc. South Plainfield, NJ Dec 09, 2016 $91,542
Product Development Senior Scientist Pepsi-Cola Technical Operations, Inc. Valhalla, NY Oct 01, 2013 $91,200
Principal Product Development Scientist Mead Johnson & Company, LLC Evansville, IN Sep 15, 2016 $79,934 -
$148,700
R&D Product Developer/Senior Scientist Pepsico, Inc. Valhalla, NY Oct 01, 2013 $78,500
Product Deployment Scientist Mars Petcare Us, Inc. Franklin, TN Jan 16, 2014 $78,356
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Oct 01, 2014 $77,611
Scientist I, Product Development G&W Laboratories, Inc. South Plainfield, NJ Apr 04, 2016 $76,149 -
$92,000
Scientist I, Product Development G&W Laboratories, Inc. South Plainfield, NJ Jun 09, 2016 $76,149 -
$92,000
Product Development Scientist Kellogg North America Company Battle Creek, MI Jan 26, 2016 $76,000
Biopharm Product Development Scientist Glaxosmithkline LLC King of Prussia, PA Jan 08, 2016 $75,450 -
$100,700
Scientist II, Product Development West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. Columbus, OH Jan 03, 2016 $68,000
Product Development Scientist II Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Waterbury, VT Dec 23, 2015 $67,850
Product Development Scientist I Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. Waterbury, VT Sep 22, 2015 $67,850
Product Development Scientist II Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Waterbury, VT Dec 21, 2015 $67,850
Product Development Scientist Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Chicago, IL Oct 14, 2016 $67,163 -
$95,988
Product Development Scientist The Coca-Cola Company Apopka, FL Feb 05, 2016 $67,100 -
$124,700
Product Development Scientist I Nostrum Laboratories, Inc. Kansas City, MO Jul 20, 2015 $66,000
Product Development Scientist QTG Development, Inc. Barrington, IL Nov 24, 2014 $65,700

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Top Skills for A Product Development Scientist

  1. New Product Development
  2. Methods
  3. Laboratory Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided experienced technical and culinary support relative to new product development within the Savory Ingredients Group.
  • Develop methods for evaluation of dissolution characteristics under various formulation conditions and different dissolution media.
  • Coordinated calibration of laboratory equipment with internal and external calibration labs.
  • Administered Corporate Laboratory Quality Procedures.
  • Worked closely with marketing to identify cause for share decline and ensure new consumer messaging aligned with product reformulation.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Development Scientists

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Connecticut
  3. Maryland
  4. Delaware
  5. Rhode Island
  6. North Carolina
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Maine
  9. Virginia
  10. Nevada
  • (473 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (312 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (260 jobs)
  • (1,071 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (325 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)

Top Product Development Scientist Employers

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Jobs From Top Product Development Scientist Employers

Product Development Scientist Videos

Day in the Life: Mechanical Engineer

Erupt-a-Cake: Food Product Development at the School of Food Science

Product Development and Delivery in Global Health - The Science of Global Health: What’s Next?

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