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Become A Research Professor

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Working As A Research Professor

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

  • $114,882

    Average Salary

What Does A Research Professor 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 Research Professor

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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Research Professor Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Professor 3.7 years
Research Professor 3.0 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Research Scholar 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.1%
Professor 6.9%
Fellow 5.3%
Researcher 4.2%
Scientist 3.8%
President 3.2%
Lecturer 3.0%
Volunteer 3.0%
Top Employers After
Professor 14.3%
Internship 8.5%
Volunteer 6.4%
Consultant 5.8%
Researcher 5.6%
Fellow 4.7%
Scientist 4.1%
Tutor 3.2%
Law Clerk 2.9%
President 2.6%

Do you work as a Research Professor?

Research Professor Demographics

Gender

Male

59.8%

Female

32.0%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

46.9%

Asian

21.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.2%

Black or African American

8.1%

Unknown

5.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.6%

French

13.1%

Russian

7.5%

Chinese

7.5%

Mandarin

4.7%

Korean

4.7%

Italian

4.7%

Japanese

4.7%

German

3.7%

Vietnamese

2.8%

Cantonese

2.8%

Romanian

1.9%

Hindi

1.9%

Swahili

0.9%

Swedish

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Dari

0.9%

Braille

0.9%

Carrier

0.9%

Xiang

0.9%
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Research Professor Education

Schools

University of California - Berkeley

13.8%

Cornell University

7.8%

Purdue University

6.0%

University of California - Irvine

6.0%

Harvard University

5.2%

University of California - Riverside

5.2%

University of Wisconsin - Madison

5.2%

University of Southern California

5.2%

University of Utah

5.2%

University of Florida

4.3%

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

4.3%

University of Arizona

4.3%

Syracuse University

3.4%

Ohio State University

3.4%

University of Pennsylvania

3.4%

University of Wisconsin Extension

3.4%

New York University

3.4%

Oklahoma State University

3.4%

George Washington University

3.4%

More Tech Institute

3.4%
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Majors

Chemistry

18.9%

Physics

10.1%

Chemical Engineering

8.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

6.8%

Biology

6.5%

Electrical Engineering

5.9%

Mechanical Engineering

5.4%

Law

5.4%

Psychology

4.2%

Political Science

3.9%

Computer Science

3.4%

Mathematics

3.4%

Business

3.1%

Environmental Science

3.1%

Education

2.3%

Biomedical Engineering

2.0%

Materials Science And Engineering

2.0%

Engineering

2.0%

Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.7%
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Degrees

Doctorate

34.9%

Bachelors

30.1%

Masters

18.6%

Other

13.2%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

1.2%

Associate

0.2%
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Real Research Professor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Research Professor New York University New York, NY Aug 01, 2015 $257,963
Distinguished Research Professor George Mason University Arlington, VA Aug 25, 2012 $250,837
Senior Research Professor University of Denver Denver, CO Jun 01, 2013 $202,668
Research Professor Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Feb 26, 2010 $200,040
Research Professor Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Jul 01, 2010 $200,040
Research Professor Clemson University Clemson, SC Jan 01, 2010 $200,000
Research Assitant Professor The Curators of The University of Missouri Columbia, MO Oct 04, 2012 $200,000 -
$255,000
Research Professor Texas Engineering Experiment Station College Station, TX Apr 02, 2012 $189,576
Research Professor Emory University Atlanta, GA Oct 01, 2012 $180,000
Research Professor State University of New York at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY Aug 13, 2015 $180,000 -
$223,026
Research Professor Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH Oct 01, 2012 $178,105
Research Professor University of Colorado Boulder, CO Jun 13, 2011 $133,443
Research Professor University of Maryland College Park Greenbelt, MD Jan 05, 2016 $130,000
Research Professor Duke University and Medical Center Durham, NC Jan 01, 2012 $128,750
Research Professor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jul 01, 2011 $128,747
Research Professor Texas Engineering Experiment Station College Station, TX Aug 01, 2011 $126,000
Research Professor Texas Engineering Experiment Station College Station, TX Oct 01, 2009 $126,000
Research Professor Texas Engineering Experiment Station College Station, TX Jan 30, 2010 $126,000
Asstant Research Professor University of Colorado Aurora, CO Aug 01, 2011 $95,000
Research Professor Georgetown University Washington, DC Jan 07, 2015 $92,057
Research Professor Georgetown University Washington, DC Jul 01, 2015 $92,057
Visiting Research Professor Georgetown University Washington, DC Jul 01, 2012 $90,022
Research Professor Clemson University Clemson, SC Feb 03, 2016 $90,000

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Top Skills for A Research Professor

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  1. Research Methods
  2. Laboratory
  3. Lab
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Comply with safety guidelines and other applicable regulatory requirements as Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institutes.
  • Collaborated weekly with advising professor regarding research progress and potential solution to development of a more explanatory model.
  • Presented research at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Conference 2003.
  • Synthesized new anti-tuberculosis agents using synthetic organic chemistry methods.
  • Generate data analysis regarding weight loss on fracture incidence in elderly adults.

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Top 10 Best States for Research Professors

  1. New Jersey
  2. North Carolina
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Delaware
  5. Connecticut
  6. Maryland
  7. California
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Virginia
  10. Arizona
  • (676 jobs)
  • (842 jobs)
  • (437 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)
  • (244 jobs)
  • (1,529 jobs)
  • (789 jobs)
  • (574 jobs)
  • (371 jobs)

Top Research Professor Employers

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Jobs From Top Research Professor Employers

Research Professor Videos

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Elsevier Early Career Resources -- How to chart a successful research career

Talking Research - Professor George Ebers - Vitamin D and genetics in MS

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