In the healthcare industry, there are some jobs that bring the care provider in direct contact with the patients, while others are non-clinical or research-based careers. This job is most suitable for those who want to have a career in the health industry, but do not want to be in direct contact with patients and want favorable work conditions, as well as a good income. Being a research position and that too in the clinical field is the main reason why professionals in this job are so well paid.
Those working in this field are referred to as pharmacologists. These medical experts can provide their services in commercial medical research establishments, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, crime and research laboratories, or even as professors in medical schools. Note that a pharmacologist and a pharmacist are two different professionals, with some similarities in the educational requirements. A pharmacologist is a person who studies drugs and its effects, experiments with chemical compounds, and aids in the innovation of drug therapies. On the other hand, a pharmacist is one who is responsible for dispensing drugs and other medications to patients, while having a thorough knowledge of the same.
A pharmacologist is a specialist who designs drugs. He conducts a research on how particular drugs and medicines are broken down, absorbed, and accepted by the human body. This career also has toxicology as a specialization which involves the study of the adverse effects of medicines on the body. He uses statistical tools and theories to determine the positive or negative impact of drugs. He has to work using microscopes and other medical testing and precision equipment. A pharmacologist necessarily needs to have an eye for detail, owing to the observance and research work that is to be carried out. Bear in mind that this medical expert may have additional duties as per specializations mentioned in the following section.
There are various fields in pharmacology such as molecular pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, chemotherapy, behavioral pharmacology, and many others. Molecular pharmacology deals with the correlation of drugs and molecules within body cells. Similarly, cardiovascular pharmacology concentrates on the effect of medicines on the heart. Chemotherapy is a discipline which is concerned with cancer. Behavioral pharmacology relates to the changes in behavioral aspects of a person due to consuming medicines. These include memory, learning capacity, and sleep levels. There are many other disciplines in this research field.
During your schooling, it is better to concentrate on subjects such as biology, chemistry, math, and others from the science field. If you are thinking of becoming a pharmacologist, you need to possess the same educational qualifications that are required to be a pharmacist, which is the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) degree from a recognized school. However, some employers may even hire pharmacologists with an MSc in Pharmacology. Those who want to excel in the field can opt for obtaining a Ph.D. degree. You may even have to choose a degree that is specific to the field of employment.
The median per annum earnings of a pharmacologist is believed to be around USD 90,000. However, this figure may vary as per the experience, specialization, state and city of employment, and the type of employer. The following table will give you the estimated annual income of pharmacologists, classified as per state of employment and experience level.
|Years of Experience||Median Salary Scale|
|0 to One Year||USD 22,000 - USD 95,000|
|One to Four Years||USD 50,000 - USD 99,000|
|Five to Nine Years||USD 75,000 - USD 105,000|
|10 to 19 Years||USD 95,000 - USD 124,000|
|Over 20 Years||USD 76,500 - USD 158,000|
|State of Employment||Median Salary Scale|
|New York||USD 24,000 - USD 124,000|
|California||USD 39,000 - USD 100,000|
|Texas||USD 75,000 - USD 95,000|
|New Jersey||USD 96,500 - USD 148,000|
|Massachusetts||USD 93,000 - USD 125,000|
You need to consider pharmacology as a career only if you are sure you will enjoy this research-based job. Though the starting pay of these professionals is low, you can earn a substantial amount after a couple of years of experience and expertise.