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What Does a Neuroscience Specialist Do?

Maggie J. Hall
Maggie J. Hall

A neuroscience specialist functions in various capacities depending on the level of education the individual acquires. Neuroscience specialist jobs require, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree, but more options become available after completing a graduate program. Education, health care, government agencies and research and development positions are some of the fields that hire neuroscience specialists. Some students choose to enter medical school and go on to become physicians or surgeons.

Colleges and universities suggest that high school students complete biology, chemistry, and physics classes before entering an undergraduate program. Requirements for a bachelor’s degree differ depending on whether a student chooses a major in biology, neuroscience, psychology, or some other field. Some of the classes explore cranial and nervous system anatomy in depth. Other course options include biochemistry, organic chemistry, and cellular physiology. Necessary math classes include calculus and statistics.

Neuroscientists often use special imaging tools to better understand the workings of the brain.
Neuroscientists often use special imaging tools to better understand the workings of the brain.

Neuroscience specialist jobs for individuals with undergraduate degrees may include the chance to work as a lab coordinator. Duties in this position generally include maintaining databases, managing volunteer recruitment and appointments, and requisitioning necessary equipment and software, along with conducting research activities.

A master’s degree program in neuroscience requires extensive laboratory research. Courses provide more in-depth training in specific sub areas of neuroscience. Students also acquire critical analysis skills and advance in their ability to communicate professionally both orally and in writing. Individuals with a graduate degree in neuroscience specializing in behavior may choose careers in anthropology, criminology, and social work. The neuroscience specialist duties of social workers may include interviewing and assisting clients with problem solving, working with medical professionals, and maintaining appropriate documentation case files.

Doctoral degrees in neuroscience might focus on studies of addiction, memory and learning, or pathological disease processes. Students might also study neuroimaging related designed to provide information about any of these areas. Depending on the university, a PhD program can take anywhere from three to five years for completion. Post-doctoral graduates can obtain fellowships to perform research into pathological neurological disorders.

Neuroscience specialists perform research in a number of areas and engage in a variety of activities. These activities can include performing autopsies, electroencephalograms, and stereotaxic surgeries on animal test subjects. Other possible fields of research include pain, in which scientists use imaging equipment to study the effects of pain in the central nervous systems of human patients, and pharmacology. Besides gathering physical data, researchers work with both undergraduate and graduate students and may publish extensively.

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    • Neuroscientists often use special imaging tools to better understand the workings of the brain.
      By: beerkoff
      Neuroscientists often use special imaging tools to better understand the workings of the brain.