What Does a Medical Scientist Do?
As a medical scientist, you use a variety of research methods to gain an understanding of human diseases and bolster human health. Common practices typically involve research and development and clinical investigation. Medical practitioners who partake in this work include pharmacologists, medical pathologists, dentists, public health specialists and physicians.
Medical Scientist Skills and Abilities
The fundamental knowledge set you need as a medical scientist involves coupling an understanding of biology and chemistry with medicine and dentistry to make advancements in the health of the human population. This is a profession that requires an objective mind capable of critical thinking. If one research approach is not yielding any results in combating affliction, you need to be able to analyze your current methods and find something to change or otherwise come at the problem from an entirely different angle. Active listening is also a critical attribute for conducting relevant research. You need to engage with co-workers, patients and research subjects with questions tailored to give you as much information as possible. From there, you must use inductive and deductive reasoning to organize the data in a way that lends itself to a course of action, like finding and putting together the pieces of a puzzle.
Medical Scientist Duties
Since this is a job that requires a great deal of research, it is your responsibility to use scientific rules and methods to guide your information gathering. You then must study your information for any underlying principles or common attributes that might lead you to some sort of conclusion. While you will not be discovering a cure every other day, even small updates to existing knowledge or methods can add up to huge breakthroughs down the line. It is therefore of the utmost importance that any and all relevant observations made or actions taken be well-documented for others in the field to access should they need it to make further progress.
Medical Scientist Tools and Technology
There are many pieces of equipment that medical scientists use that vary depending on their specialty and the affliction being researched. Among some of the more common tools are centrifuges, chromatography tubing, laboratory flasks, spectrophotometers and chemistry analyzers. In order to maximize the amount of useful data obtained, you will need software for scientific analysis, word processing, program writing, spreadsheets and databases.
Education and Training for Medical Scientists
A job in a field as sensitive as medicine demands a great deal of schooling beforehand. Since over 60% of working medical scientists have a doctoral or professional degree, you need to pursue one as well to make yourself a serious candidate. The coursework you take changes greatly depending on your emphasis; anything from toxicology to aerospace physiology and medicine. You will likely need to spend some time shadowing someone who can show you the best standard practices to ensure you take as few unnecessary risks as possible.
Medical Scientist Salary
Becoming a medical scientist has the potential to be a highly lucrative career choice. While the median yearly salary figure for the United States sits close to $80,000, even the bottom ten percent of those in the field make over $43,000. When you gain enough experience and renown, your yearly wages can climb into six figures upwards of the $148,000 per year earned by the top ten percent.
Medical Scientist Jobs by Geography
As the world’s population grows, so does the need for medical scientists. California, New York and Texas all have the country’s highest concentrations of these jobs. Some of the highest growth is predicted to occur in places like Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. If you want to move where the money is, consider checking out New Jersey, Connecticut and California before you make your final choice.