Pharmaceutical Scientist

Help create, design, and test drugs before they reach store shelves.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $139,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Pharmaceutical Scientists do?

The job of Pharmaceutical Scientist is one of those that can take you in a lot of different directions. You might work for the FDA, testing drugs before they reach the market. You might teach at a university. Or you might create drugs for a private pharmaceutical company. No matter where you work though, your job as a Pharmaceutical Scientist is to help create, design, and test drugs before they reach consumers.

You have a hand in every step of the drug creation process. In the beginning, you’re needed to discover and design the initial drug. Being a Pharmaceutical Scientist calls for a good understanding of medicinal chemistry and how different chemicals interact.

Once the drug is created, your next task is to decide how it will make it into the patient. This means figuring out if the drug will work better as a pill, an injection, or a patch. To do this, you determine the amount needed, and the location where it needs to land.

Your other duties include things like finding out how the drug affects different groups of people, or performing the final clinical trials before the drug hits the market. You can even work on the other side of things, regulating drugs already on the market and following up with customer complaints. This field lets you combine multiple industries too. For example, you might look at the way economics influences how people choose medicines, or how communication can be improved between Scientists and Doctors.

Should I be a Pharmaceutical Scientist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • How to become a Pharmaceutical Scientist

    Most Pharmaceutical Scientists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9li&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2876%25%29|master%27s+%2814%25%29|doctorate+%2810%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,76
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