Health Career Center

Pharmaceutical Scientists

Pharmaceutical scientists conduct research to develop new drugs. They spend most days in laboratories testing synthetic and natural compounds to determine how organs and body systems are affected by them. When developing new drugs, pharmaceutical scientists collaborate with biologists, chemists, engineers, geneticists, and other scientists.

In addition to side effects, pharmaceutical scientists also test drugs for quality and to see how organisms adapt after coming into to contact with them. During drug tests, they occasionally test new drugs on humans and animals humanely. Many pharmaceutical scientists consult with the Food and Drug Administration and other government agencies.

Working Conditions
Pharmaceutical scientists typically work for large pharmaceutical companies. The majority can be found in laboratories working in teams with other scientists and specialists. Some pharmaceutical scientists conduct research at universities, oversee drug trials, or supervise manufacturing processes at factories.

During their work, pharmaceutical scientists utilize state of the art technology, including computers and microscopes. They must be precise, detail-oriented, patient, team players, and effective communicators.

Career Training and Education
Pharmaceutical scientists usually have backgrounds in chemistry, pharmaceutical science, engineering, medicine, biology, and math. If this career interests you, it's recommended to decide upon a specialty early on, whether it's manufacturing, testing, or research.

Since pharmaceutical scientists work closely with other specialists, it's important to have excellent communication skills. Additionally, they must be patient and persistent since researchers often fail before succeeding.

While an undergraduate, participate with your school's chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. Likewise, network with pharmaceutical scientists and apply for internships.

Pharmaceutical scientists often obtain work experience before earning graduate degrees. In many cases, pharmaceutical companies often pay tuition for employees obtaining graduate degrees in medicine or pharmacology.
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