Toxicologist Job Description, Career as a Toxicologist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Training/Educational Requirements: Master’s degree
Median Salary: $67,353 per year
Job Prospects: Very good
A toxicologist works to understand the effects of certain chemicals and other ingredients on humans. This is done by performing controlled experiments and running a variety of tests to learn the results of these substances. This is a scientific-based position and requires a thorough understanding of disciplines such as biology.
Toxicologists run experiments, usually in a laboratory. They may work to determine the effects of foods, cosmetics, or other substances on humans. Their purpose is to understand the potential pollutant factor in any of these substances, so that they can report any danger that they may pose. Often toxicologists run these experiments on animals first, which indicates the substances’ likely effects on humans.
Toxicologists also may use their talents and background in a teaching role. Because theirs is a job that is in high demand due to the health conscious general public right now, toxicologists may work in a wide array of environments. They may work for a research foundation directly, they may work for a specific company, or they may work for the government.
The role of a toxicologist has become quite important because the public has become more health conscious. Individuals in this role often are looked to as a source of information on what foods, cosmetics, chemicals, and other substances are safe. They work to help companies and individuals alike understand any dangerous effects these substances may have, and toxicologists are looked to as subject-matter experts in their booming field. Through the research and experiments that toxicologists perform, corporate and government sectors can help in providing safe offerings to the public.
Though people can work in the field of toxicology with a bachelor’s degree, they will be working in more of a support role. To work as a lead toxicologist, it is essential to have a master’s degree or higher. It is recommended that this higher degree be in a science field such as biology or chemistry because toxicology is a very science.
Further education isn’t required, but a toxicologist may find keeping current in trends and requirements to be helpful. As the public becomes more and more interested with being health conscious, the requirements to work as a toxicologist may change, and it’s important for toxicologists to keep up with new information.
How to Get Hired
The best way to get hired as a toxicologist is to build a strong background. This can be achieved through an education in a scientific-based discipline, such as biology, chemistry, or physics. Or, having at least a coursework focus in such a discipline will help prepare an individual to get hired into this role.
In addition to completing education, it’s important to gain real-world skills in a scientific type of role. Working in a research role can help a future toxicologist to gain experience working in a laboratory and understanding how the toxicology process works. Working in a support role to a toxicologist can not only help an individual to gain relevant experience, but can also increase chances of being hired.
It can be quite helpful for an individual interested in a role as a toxicologist to work in a toxicology research or entry-level position as the person goes through school. This ensures that the future toxicologist is gaining real-life experience as she or he pursues the required degree, increasing the chances of being hired as a toxicologist soon after graduation. Once established as a toxicologist, this scientist should try to gain experience in a variety of different environments, becoming well-rounded and more valuable to future employers.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
The good news for toxicologists is that this is a role in high demand. As people become more health conscious, there becomes a greater need for those who study toxins. More companies are finding that they need toxicologists to research the effects of products that the companies want to bring to market. With the need to list ingredients on food products and the push for testing cosmetics, there is an increase in the hiring of toxicologists.
The other piece of good news is that toxicologists can work in a variety of roles. They may work in a teaching role, they may work in a consulting role, or they may stay true to their background and work in a research or scientific role. This all adds up to great job prospects for toxicologists and the potential to grow within toxicology in a variety of different ways.
Toxicologists typically work in laboratories. The majority of individuals in this role performs research and runs experiments, and these are usually done within a laboratory. Though the environment may vary based on the type of employer that a toxicologist works for, the scientist may split up their day between an office and a lab.
Toxicologists who work in a teaching or other education role may spend the majority of the day in a classroom. They still may maintain a laboratory, but they present their findings to students regularly. If working as a consultant, toxicologists may travel to clients or represent their clients in larger meetings. Any research performed is usually done in a quiet and sterile laboratory environment. Concentration is key, so a toxicologist’s office needs to be away from distractions.
Salary and Benefits
Though the median salary for a toxicologist is $67,353, it can vary based on geographical location and experience. The typical range for this position is anywhere from $55,537 to $81,338. The more experience that a toxicologist has, the higher the annual salary will be. Traditional benefits should be expected for a toxicologist, including medical coverage and paid vacation. Additional benefits may be offered, depending on the industry served.
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