A person must have a strong interest in science and medicine, as well as a desire to learn, in order to become a medical research scientist. To become a medical research scientist, you’ll need many years of education and training, and there are several paths to take. A Bachelor’s degree in science is required for all paths.
A prospective medical researcher will study biology or a closely related field such as biochemistry, chemistry, biomedical technology, genetics, or physiology. To advance as a medical research scientist, you must have excellent grades and standardized test scores. It is also critical to have a thorough understanding of the scientific method as well as a passion for research. Scientific research can take a long time to produce results, so researchers must have the patience and perseverance to keep working until they find a medical breakthrough.
An aspiring medical researcher will pursue an M.D., Ph.D., or M.S. degree after completing an undergraduate degree. Individuals with a Doctorate degree have the most opportunities for advancement in their careers. Post-graduate training is required for both M.D. and Ph.D. holders who want to work as a medical research scientist. Researchers who complete post-doctoral training, also known as a “post-doc,” gain the experience they need to lead their own research teams in the future.
The research that someone does as a post-doctoral researcher will often determine their success as a medical research scientist. Universities with medical schools produce excellent medical research, and faculty positions at these institutions are competitive. A researcher must have a strong track record of publishing research papers in scholarly journals and obtaining funding for their research through grants in order to qualify for one. A post-doctoral position is the period during which a researcher must publish in journals and win grants in order to obtain a prestigious position at a university, research center, or pharmaceutical company.
If a person is hired as a faculty member at a major research university or as a researcher at a pharmaceutical company, they must maintain their position continuing to produce high-quality research. Job performance is formally evaluated 5 to 7 years into a person’s career at universities in the United States. They will be given tenure and allowed to continue their career as a medical research scientist if they are successful in publishing groundbreaking research and obtaining funding for their research through grants.