How Do I Become a Clinical Scientist?
Clinical scientist careers involve performing biomedical research, with the intent of improving human health. Although many positions require a master’s or doctorate degree, you will have access to the best opportunities if you possess a medical doctor’s degree in addition to a doctorate degree. Members of this profession who perform medical procedures on patients must be licensed doctors, having graduated from an accredited medical school. Aside from education, many of those who become a clinical scientist gain practical experience through a postdoctoral position prior to applying for a permanent job. In addition to these requirements, having certain personality and temperamental characteristics are advantageous.
Much education is needed in this field, beginning with undergraduate courses and continuing on to postgraduate studies. If you want to become a clinical scientist, begin with a bachelor’s degree in a biological science, where you will study chemistry and biology, as well as math, computer science, and general humanities. Following the completion of your undergraduate course, you can enroll in a university doctorate program where you can choose a specialty, such as pathology or genetics. An alternative to the university route is to enroll in a combination medical doctor and doctorate program at a medical college. This latter route involves seven to eight years of study and will equip you with the clinical skills required to be a doctor as well as the research skills necessary to be a scientist.
Those who become a clinical scientist should have personal traits that suit them well for the profession. A main characteristic is curiosity, manifested by asking questions and diligently pursuing the answer. You must have good problem-solving skills and be capable of a high degree of precision, as medical science involves great attention to detail. Strong written and oral communication skills are needed, since you will be writing reports and providing advice to doctors and other health professionals. Additionally, you should be able to work independently, as well as in a team.
The duties of those who become a clinical scientist consist of an array of research activities, with the goal of advancing knowledge of factors that influence health. Areas of investigation will involve studying living organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, but may also include researching vaccines, drugs, and treatment procedures. Scientists may also analyze cells to identify alterations that can lead to the development of diseases. Laboratory research conducted by clinicians in this field is very valuable to society, as it leads to progress in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of many medical conditions.
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