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Job Description and Average Salary of a Neuroscientist

Job Description and Average Salary of a Neuroscientist

A neuroscientist studies and researches on the diseases that affect the nervous system and its components such as the nerve cells, brain, and spinal cord. CareerStint outlines the job description and average salary of a neuroscientist.
Buzzle Staff
Did You Know?
There are about 100 billion neurons in the average human brain. They are protected by glial cells and help transmit information via signals.

Do you realize that as you are reading every word in this article, there is a constant ongoing process in your brain? Your brain contains nerve cells that help transmit and receive information through chemical and electrical signals. A neuroscientist explores this process of the brain in minute detail, to comprehend its behavior and reactions to different chemicals and other components. To understand what a neuroscientist does, you need to understand the term 'neuroscience'. This term is related to the field of medicine, and deals with the complex study of the neurons and the spinal cord. You would never cease to be amazed at the fascinating work that billions of neurons in your brain perform every nanosecond. Moving on, the job description and salary of a neuroscientist are given below.
Job Description
  • A neuroscientist may research on cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, electrophysiology, cognitive genomics, etc. Cognitive neuroscience deals with the neural substances of the brain activities.
  • The job is to study brain activities, neuron function, brain lesions, etc.
  • A neuroscientist explores the root cause of brain diseases, like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and even mental disorders, like schizophrenia.
  • He studies the changes in the brain due to these diseases and works on finding effective solutions so that proper drugs and medication can be found out to eradicate such diseases.
  • He works with a lot of tools and chemical solutions in the lab.
  • He uses such solutions, antibodies, and gels on tissue and cell samples and records observations.
  • He writes and publishes papers regarding his research.
  • He needs to distinguish between various mental and psychiatric disorders and prescribe proper therapies for the same.
  • He can help in the invention of new drugs for pharmaceuticals, paving the way for newer patents in the biotechnological engineering industry.
  • He needs to know how to read the neurological test reports so that he can diagnose the condition of the patient (if he works in a clinic, that is).
  • He can take on the role of an imaging technician as well, specializing in neuroimagery.
  • He needs to assess a patient's brain condition based on his reports, and report to the specific doctor regarding the right course of treatment.
  • He needs to be involved in the approval and review process of new medications.
  • As a behavioral neuroscientist, he needs to mentally note the behavior traits, analyze the patterns frequently, assess the patients, and make a decision regarding their mental health.
  • He needs to prepare organ tissue to identify bacteria and microorganisms.
  • He needs to know about the procedures for manufacture of drugs and medicinal compounds.
  • He has to be extremely well-versed with the working of the nervous system; he must know why a particular disease occurs, what its roots are, the appropriate medication, and prevention strategies.
  • A neuroscientist must teach the principles of medicine and laboratory procedures to students, technicians, and other teachers.
  • He must consult fellow teachers and scientists regarding the latest innovations and technology.
  • He must confer with the health personnel to bring about an improvement in health safety standards.
  • A neuroscientist requires a doctorate.
  • Prior to that, however, he needs to have a bachelor's degree in science, with a specialization in subjects, like cellular/molecular biology, anthropology, chemistry, genetics, physiology, etc.
  • After that, he needs to enroll in medical school, obtain a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and complete the residency program as well.
  • The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree needs to be dealt with, after some work experience.
  • An appropriate subject needs to be chosen according to the set guidelines, research has to be conducted, papers need to be submitted, and then, a few years later, one can become a completely qualified neuroscientist.
  • Remember that patience, computer skills, attention to detail, etc., are some other skills that need to be present as well.

The pay scale of a neuroscientist varies heavily depending on the sub-field and experience. A rough estimate according to the state is given in the table below.
Alabama USD 105,000
Alaska USD 76,000
Arizona USD 85,000
Arkansas USD 105,000
California USD 111,000
Colorado USD 92,000
Connecticut USD 119,000
Delaware USD 91,000
Florida USD 96,000
Georgia USD 118,000
Hawaii USD 64,000
Idaho USD 68,000
Illinois USD 117,000
Indiana USD 99,000
Iowa USD 101,000
Kansas USD 94,000
Kentucky USD 89,000
Louisiana USD 92,000
Maine USD 91,000
Maryland USD 106,000
Massachusetts USD 124,000
Michigan USD 104,000
Minnesota USD 90,000
Mississippi USD 108,000
Missouri USD 102,000
Montana USD 86,000
Nebraska USD 76,000
Nevada USD 79,000
New Hampshire USD 102,000
New Jersey USD 112,000
New Mexico USD 90,000
New York USD 125,000
North Carolina USD 99,000
North Dakota USD 92,000
Ohio USD 99,000
Oklahoma USD 95,000
Oregon USD 100,000
Pennsylvania USD 100,000
Rhode Island USD 94,000
South Carolina USD 102,000
South Dakota USD 78,000
Tennessee USD 96,000
Texas USD 100,000
Utah USD 80,000
Vermont USD 91,000
Virginia USD 104,000
Washington USD 107,000
West Virginia USD 98,000
Wisconsin USD 92,000
Wyoming USD 85,000
Source: as of January 15, 2015. Figures are in US Dollars.
Work Environment
  • Neuroscientists work in laboratories, clinics, pharmaceuticals, universities, etc.
  • The work is fascinating; however, you have to be that kind of a person who can spend most of his time in the laboratory; this point is not just a prerequisite, it is what the field comprises. If you do not like lab work, you might as well opt out of this field.
  • You will be working at a regular time slot; however, certain projects might require you to work in night shifts.
  • The demand for medical scientists is always on the high; therefore the job growth for this field is particularly higher than many other fields.
  • As a neuroscientist, you need to be exceedingly cautious while undertaking research, as your discovery may possibly help many patients look forward to a more fruitful life.
The field of neuroscience is a fascinating mixture of neurology combined with pure science. While the field encompasses different roles, the ultimate goal is to help research on the different treatment methods for brain diseases. The fact that the education for this field takes a very long time is a disturbing point for many; all the same, the components involved are so delicate that the coursework has to be detailed and precise. You cannot take a quick intensive course or super-intensive program for anything related to the medical fraternity. Therefore, think of the higher purpose and go ahead to achieve your goal.