Students may pursue a master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences on their way to earning an advanced degree to become a pharmacist or medical scientist, but there are several other fields that could utilize this degree as well. Here we discuss a handful of these available careers and their job duties.
Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Chemists||$73,740||3% (for all chemists and materials scientists)|
|Natural Sciences Managers||$119,850||3%|
|Biochemists and Biophysicists||$82,180||8%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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A microbiologist may need a master's degree for an advanced research position, and a background in pharmaceutical sciences may help these professionals as they conduct research projects and develop new drugs to fight conditions caused by microorganisms. Microbiologists may study bacteria, viruses, parasites, algae and more to learn how they interact with and affect their environments, including humans. Many of these professionals oversee the work of other laboratory technicians for accuracy while providing lab services that are used in the medical field to treat illnesses. All of their work is carefully documented in research and scientific papers.
Chemists usually need at least a master's degree for research positions, and a master's in pharmaceutical sciences could especially apply to medicinal chemists who help develop new and improve current drugs on the market. The research of analytical chemists and organic chemists also contributes to new pharmaceutical developments. Chemists may test the quality of other products and work to make improvements by studying substances at the molecular level. They use complex lab equipment in their research projects and mix ingredients, solutions and compounds to test. Chemists must report their findings in technical reports that are available to other scientists and interested parties.
Natural Sciences Managers
Natural sciences managers need a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree in a natural science, as well as years of experience as a scientist. Those with a background in pharmaceutical sciences may oversee teams of biologists, chemists and other scientists working together to develop new drugs or testing the quality of products. These managers are responsible for keeping a project running on time, within budget and coordinating the activities of the various scientists. They also check work for accuracy and keep their clients updated on the project's progress.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
A master's degree may qualify a biochemist or biophysicist for an entry-level position. Knowledge of pharmaceutical science may help these scientists as they study the effects of drugs, hormones and other substances on biological processes. Biochemists and biophysicists examine the chemical and physical components of diseases, cell development and other natural processes. Their research is reported in scientific papers and often has implications for new medicines and treatments in the field of healthcare.
Some sales managers have a master's degree, and those with a background in pharmaceutical sciences may have begun their career as a sales engineer. A sales engineer is a salesperson with technical knowledge of their product, like a pharmaceutical sales representative. As a sales manager, these professionals are now responsible for overseeing an organization's entire sales team, managing the department's budget and setting sales goals for the team. These managers also analyze sales data and provide training for their teams.
Graduates with a master's degree in pharmaceutical sciences likely have the laboratory skills and background knowledge to work various scientific jobs requiring chemistry. All of these positions offer relatively high median salaries (greater than $65,000, per the BLS).