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As a biomedical scientist, you are trained to conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health, as well as to advance knowledge of life processes and living organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. In your career, you may engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, technical writing, or related activities. You may also decide to pursue a medical degree to become a physician, dentist, pharmacist, pharmacologist, public health specialist, or medical pathologist. In applied research or product development, you may use knowledge discovered through basic research to develop new drugs and medical treatments.
Your education in biomedical science includes the study of chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, physics, computer science, and courses in specialty areas such as epidemiology, cytology, bioinformatics, genomics, pathology, or infection processes, among others. You will benefit from taking courses and pursuing opportunities that encourage you to work independently and as part of a team, and you should be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing.
Your baccalaureate or master's degree in biomedical science prepares you to continue your training at a professional school, including postgraduate programs in medicine, pharmacy, and health sciences at Midwestern University. The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and governmental and regulatory agencies offer positions at research laboratories where you may investigate key areas including genomics and illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, and avian influenza, or treatment problems like antibiotic resistance. Physician offices will also provide career opportunities for biomedical scientists. If you aspire to management or administrative positions in private industry, you need strong communication and business skills, as well as a familiarity with regulatory issues, marketing, and management. Alternatively, you may want to pursue undergraduate or postsecondary teaching.
As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for biomedical scientists are expected to increase 20 percent through 2016, faster than average for all occupations. They include:
- Colleges and universities (34 percent)
- Scientific research and development agencies (28 percent)
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing (12 percent)
- Hospitals (9 percent)
- Private educational services, ambulatory health care services, epidemiology (17 percent)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a professional association for biomedical scientists, offers:
- Partnerships with other professional organizations such as the Association for Women in Science, Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, National Postdoctoral Association, and publications including Science magazine
- Career-focused programs such as Communicating Science, a collection of resources that helps scientists and researchers to communicate more broadly with the public
- Other career-oriented services, including job boards and employment announcements
If you are the type of person who enjoys scientific investigation, the fields of healthcare and medicine, independent and group research, collaborating with team members, pursuing new applications for basic scientific knowledge, unlocking the mysteries of illness and disease processes, or discovering ways to curb public health concerns and develop effective treatments, a career in biomedical science may be just right for you.
Sources: American Association for the Advancement of Science; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; US Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Quarterly; http://ExploreHealthCareers.org