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Medical Science


Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual earnings of medical scientists, except epidemiologists, were $61,320 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent of these workers earned between $44,120 and $86,830. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,030, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $114,360.

Facts at a glance

  • Most medical scientists work in research and development. 
  • Most medical scientists need a Ph.D. degree in a biological science; however, epidemiologists typically require a master's degree in public health or, in some cases, a Ph.D. or medical degree.
  • Despite projected rapid job growth, competition is expected for most positions


Summary of what this career entails

Medical scientists typically work regular hours in offices or laboratories and usually are not exposed to unsafe or unhealthy conditions. However, those scientists who work with dangerous organisms or toxic substances in the laboratory must follow strict safety procedures to avoid contamination. Medical scientists also spend time working in clinics and hospitals administering drugs and treatments to patients in clinical trials. On occasion, epidemiologists may be required to work evenings and weekends to attend meetings and hearings for medical investigations.

Examples and or details of work

Medical scientists research human diseases in order to improve human health. Most medical scientists conduct biomedical research and development to advance knowledge of life processes and living organisms, including viruses, bacteria, and other infectious agents. Past research has resulted in advances in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of many diseases. Basic medical research continues to provide the building blocks necessary to develop solutions to human health problems, such as vaccines and medicines. Medical scientists also engage in clinical investigation, technical writing, drug application review, patent examination, and related activities.

Degrees that lead to this career

The minimal level of education that an individual is required to receive is a Bachelor’s degree. Some of the degrees that an individual may attain include:

  • B.S. in Health Sciences
  • B.S. in Medical Science
  • M.S. in Advance Physician Assistant Studies
  • M.S. of Health Science
  • M.S. in Medical Science
  • PhD. In Health Sciences

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions that can be available for individuals who want a career in Medical Science include medical scientists, epidemiologists, and clinical epidemiologists. Individuals can also work in different positions within the company such as managerial, consulting, or administrative.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Medical Scientists, on the Internet at