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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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Senior Lecturer
Top Careers After Senior Lecturer
Hispanic or Latino8.4%
Black or African American2.2%
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Ohio State University7.9%
Texas A&M University7.0%
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee6.1%
Pennsylvania State University6.1%
West Virginia University6.1%
University of Akron5.3%
University of North Texas5.3%
University of Maryland - College Park5.3%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill5.3%
University of Washington4.4%
University of Wisconsin Extension4.4%
University of California - Berkeley4.4%
University of Florida3.5%
University of Chicago3.5%
University of Kentucky3.5%
Iowa State University3.5%
Michigan State University3.5%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Senior Lecturer||Harvard University||Boston, MA||Jul 01, 2013||$210,100|
|Senior Lecturer||Western New England University||Springfield, MA||May 07, 2016||$177,082|
|Senior Lecturer In Discipline||Columbia University||New York, NY||Jan 07, 2016||$159,000|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Washington||Seattle, WA||Aug 17, 2016||$141,000|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Washington||Seattle, WA||Aug 24, 2016||$141,000|
|Senior Lecturer||Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$128,831|
|Senior Lecturer||Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||Oct 20, 2014||$125,000|
|Senior Lecturer||The Pennsylvania State University||Parkesburg, PA||May 08, 2016||$120,024|
|Senior Lecturer||Yale University||New Haven, CT||Jan 01, 2016||$111,996|
|Senior Lecturer||Yale University||New Haven, CT||Jan 01, 2015||$109,800|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Maryland College Park||College Park, MD||Sep 09, 2014||$106,650|
|Senior Lecturer||Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||Jul 01, 2015||$105,000|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Washington||Bothell, WA||Sep 15, 2013||$75,006|
|Senior Lecturer||The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX||Jan 13, 2015||$75,000|
|Senior Lecturer||The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX||Jan 07, 2016||$75,000|
|Senior Lecturer||The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX||Jun 01, 2015||$75,000|
|Senior Lecturer||Bentley University||Waltham, MA||Jul 01, 2014||$75,000 -
|Senior Lecturer||The University of Texas at Dallas||Richardson, TX||Jan 06, 2015||$75,000|
|Senior Lecturer||Michigan Technological University||Houghton, MI||May 05, 2016||$74,450|
|Senior Lecturer||Michigan Technological University||Houghton, MI||Aug 17, 2015||$74,000|
|Senior Lecturer In Business for Korean Studies Program||Fairleigh Dickinson University||Teaneck, NJ||Nov 30, 2015||$59,463|
|Senior Lecturer||Southern Illinois University Carbondale||Carbondale, IL||May 16, 2015||$59,112|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Illinois||Urbana, IL||Aug 16, 2015||$58,820|
|Senior Lecturer||The University of Southern California||Los Angeles, CA||Jan 06, 2016||$58,000|
|Senior Lecturer In A Foreign Language||Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||Jan 07, 2016||$57,881|
|Senior Lecturer||Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||Jul 01, 2014||$56,503|
|Senior Lecturer||University of Rochester||Rochester, NY||Jul 01, 2015||$56,100|
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