Pharmacology is the study of how natural and synthetic chemical agents affect the biological systems of various organisms. A pharmacology degree provides students with the opportunity to major in a range of disciplines, including clinical pharmacology, toxicology, molecular pharmacology and chemotherapy. As such, pharmacology graduates can become toxicologists, clinical pharmacologists, analytical chemists or high education lecturers.
Analytical chemists typically work for pharmaceutical manufacturing firms where they study the chemical properties of drugs with a view of establishing how they behave under different conditions. They can also find jobs in environmental companies, research and development firms and testing laboratories. Aspiring analytical chemists can enter this profession through a bachelor’s degree, majoring in biochemical pharmacology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all chemists, including analytical chemists, had a mean annual wage of $77,740 in 2013.
Law enforcement agencies and health care facilities hire forensic toxicologists to analyze body fluids and detect the presence of harmful chemicals such as poisons and gases. Environmental organizations also hire toxicologists to identify and measure the level of toxic materials in the environment. Other employers of toxicologists include pharmaceutical manufacturers and government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration. Individuals looking to get started as a toxicologist need to earn a master’s degree in pharmacology. In 2014, toxicologists earned an average salary of $63,000, according to Simply Hired, an occupational resources website.
Professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree in pharmacology can qualify for teaching and research jobs in colleges and universities. Their main duty is to instruct, train and mentor students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in pharmacology and related disciplines. They would also engage in academic research projects to gather new information on drugs, manufacturing methods and pharmacy practices. In 2013, biological science postsecondary teachers earned an average salary of $87,080, according to the BLS.
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, research centers and drug agencies hire clinical pharmacologists to research and develop new drugs, as well as test existing ones. They also investigate and analyze the effects of various medicines on the human body. Aspiring clinical pharmacologists must obtain a doctoral degree in pharmacology. Medical scientists, including clinical pharmacologists, earned an average salary of $90,230 in 2013, reports the Bureau.
- The University of Texas Health Science : What is Pharmacology?
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Chemists and Materials Scientists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Chemists
- ExpertHealthCareers.org: Forensic Toxicologist
- HealthCarePathway.com: Toxicologist Career
- Simply Hired: Average Toxicologists Salaries
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Scientists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists
- Photo Credit digicomphoto/iStock/Getty Images
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