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How to Become a Medical Scientist

Doctoral degree

Numerous medical scientists have a Ph.D. in a science field such as biology. Typically, medical scientists require a Ph.D. from an accredited post secondary facility. Some medical scientists earn their medical degree instead of a Ph.D. Certain individuals prefer doing research instead of practicing as a physician. Individuals with both a medical degree and a Ph.D. will find it beneficial when pursuing a medical scientist career.

Education & Training

Those planning on a medical scientist career often pursue a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology or a related field. Undergraduate students often benefit from completing a wide range of classes such as: mathematics, physical and life sciences, disciplines that concentrate on developing positive communication skills. The vital aspects involved with publishing research material and grant writing makes it fundamental to have excellent writing skills.

Students first complete their undergraduate studies prior to entering a Ph.D. program. There are numerous dual degree programs available that match a Ph.D. with a wide variety of specialized medical degrees. For example, M.D. or Medical Doctor, D.D.S. or Doctor of Dental Surgery, D.O. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and D.M.D. Doctor of Dental Medicine are degrees that are commonly paired up with Ph.D. studies. Students undertaking the dual degree route learn the research talents required to be a scientist with the clinical skills needed to be a physician. Ph.D. students on the other hand, mainly focus on project design and research methods.

There is a significant amount of emphasis on original research and laboratory work within graduate programs. These programs offer potential medical students the chance to hone their abilities, occasionally supervise undergraduates and create their own experiments. Ph.D. programs feature a thesis that the candidate presents in front of numerous professors. Typically, students specialize in a certain field such as: oncology, neurology or gerontology during this phase.

Individuals who attend medical school spend the majority of the first 2 years in classrooms and laboratories. The following subjects are taken: biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, medical ethics, psychology, medical law and microbiology. Learning how to interpret and record medical histories, diagnose illnesses and examine patients is important. Individuals may be capable of participating in residency programs since they will be meeting the same requirements that surgeons and physicians have to fulfill.

Many medical scientists opt to continue their education with postdoctoral work. This work offers excellent lab experience including experience in specific techniques and processes such as gene splicing. Much of the information gained can be applied to additional research endeavors.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Medical students primarily conduct research; therefore, they commonly do not require licenses or certifications. Those who wish to practice medicine in clinical trial settings, individuals wanting a private practice as well as people who administer gene therapy need to have a physician's license to practice.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Communication skills: As medical scientists frequently have to write proposals for funding to continue their research and explain their conclusions, communication is vital to their overall success.

Critical-thinking skills: In order to determine the ideal way to solve a particular research question, medical scientists need to utilize their expertise.

Data-analysis skills: Medical students rely on statistical techniques in order to properly quantify and analyze certain questions regarding research and health.

Decision-making skills: Relying on their experience and expertise enables medical scientists to determine the specific research questions to address, what data will supply the proper answers and how to best investigate the questions.

Observation skills: Experiments must be conducted by medical scientists that involve the precise observations of health data and samples. Misleading or inconclusive results could be the end result of any mistake.