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Become A Senior Scientist

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Working As A Senior Scientist

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

  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Scientist Do

A Senior Scientist supervises the technical staff and prepares reports, publications, and oral presentations regarding the scientist projects. They are responsible for reviewing and evaluating new concepts or technologies.

How To Become A Senior 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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126,188 Senior Scientist jobs

Northwestern University
Chicago, IL
Senior Research Scientist

$89,610 Estimated

Burlington, VT
Senior Scientist - Consumer Science

$88,000 Estimated

Aegis Technologies
North Kingstown, RI
Senior Scientist

$83,347 Estimated

Northwestern University
Chicago, IL
Senior Scientist, Cancer Prevention Program

$89,610 Estimated

Lancaster Laboratories
Fremont, CA
Senior Scientist

$80,000 Estimated

Eurofins Bio Diagnostics Inc.
River Falls, WI
Senior Scientist

$88,845 Estimated

Lancaster Laboratories
Lancaster, PA
Senior Scientist

$87,118 Estimated

Lancaster Laboratories
Richmond, VA
Senior Scientist

$61,360 Estimated

General Dynamics Information Technology
Frederick, MD
Senior Human Subjects Protection Scientist

$101,800 Estimated

General Dynamics Information Technology
Falls Church, VA
Senior Human Subjects Protection Scientist

$87,889 Estimated

General Dynamics Information Technology
San Diego, CA
Senior Human Subjects Protection Scientist

$95,305 Estimated

Estee Lauder
Melville, NY
Senior Scientist

$85,000 Estimated

Teva Pharmaceuticals
Weston, FL
Senior Scientist

$99,000 Estimated

South Plainfield, NJ
Senior Scientist

$85,962 Estimated

Mission Support and Test Services, LLC
Andrews Air Force Base, MD
Senior Scientist

$88,000 Estimated

Bryant, AR
Senior Scientist

$88,000 Estimated

EstÉE Lauder
New York, NY
Senior Scientist

$90,000 Estimated

Teva Pharmaceuticals
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Senior Scientist

$69,824 Estimated

Shreveport, LA
Senior Scientist

$88,000 Estimated

Boca Raton, FL

$60,000 Estimated

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Real Senior Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Safety Scientist Genentech Inc. South San Francisco, CA Oct 23, 2015 $210,000
Senior Scientist The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA Apr 01, 2016 $200,665
Senior Scientist III Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX Feb 25, 2015 $199,142
Senior Scientist Haskins Laboratories, Inc. New Haven, CT May 14, 2015 $192,776
Senior Research Scientist Nvidia Corporation Santa Clara, CA Oct 06, 2016 $190,000 -
Scientist, Senior 11 Kelly Services, Inc. Frederick, MD Aug 17, 2015 $182,091
Scientist Senior 11 Kelly Services, Inc. Bethesda, MD Jan 25, 2016 $182,091
Senior Scientist General Electric Company-GE Global Research Center San Ramon, CA Oct 31, 2016 $180,000
Senior Scientist Blippar LLC Mountain View, CA Sep 11, 2015 $180,000
Senior Research Scientist New York University New York, NY Jan 09, 2016 $180,000
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Top Skills for A Senior Scientist


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Top Senior Scientist Skills

  1. Laboratory
  2. Analytical Methods
  3. Method Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Served on Quality Assurance team responsible for laboratory equipment management and internal audits.
  • Directed innovations group to develop new products, processes, analytical methods, and technology for commercialization.
  • Established in house utility-driven QC program and method development.
  • Designed and implemented bioassay and cell culture automation strategies, and novel cellular uptake and substrate depletion assay methodologies.
  • Created product literature, documentation and laboratory management instructions and procedures for customer support.

Top Senior Scientist Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Senior Scientist

  1. Pfizer
  2. Glaxosmithkline
  3. Merck
  4. Astrazeneca
  5. Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  6. Merck Research Laboratories
  7. Alcon/Novartis
  8. Bristol-Myers Squibb
  9. Gilead Sciences
  10. Abbvie
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Senior Scientist Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Senior Scientist by Peter W (Full Version)

Non-Traditional Careers for Science Majors | Dr. Dwight Randle | TEDxMountainViewCollege

SR : Science & Technolgy - 1