Biomedical informatics researchers are medical scientists. As such, in order to qualify for a position, you'll need as least a doctorate, in addition to a professional degree in medicine or dentistry.
Biomedical informatics is an emerging field that optimizes the use of information in health care. Researchers in the field may study behavioral psychology to better understand how people make decisions and use computer technology to simulate biological processes. Employment opportunities in this field can be found in such places as pharmacies, hospitals and medical research labs. Professionals in this field usually have a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree that is paired with a professional degree in medicine or dentistry.
|Required Education||Ph.D. degree, typically paired with a professional medical degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% for medical scientists|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$82,240 for biological scientists|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2015, biological scientists, including bioinformatics scientists, earned a median annual salary of $82,240. The BLS reported that the top 10% of earners made upwards of $155,180 annually.
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As with most scientific fields, biomedical informatics researchers usually need a doctoral degree in order to conduct independent research. According to the BLS, as of May 2015, scientific research and development services employed more biological scientists than any other sector. Government scientists commonly work in the fields of defense, agriculture, and health. Biomedical informatics professionals may also find job opportunities working in private sector research or education.
Since May of 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has headed a biomedical informatics initiative overseen by the Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (CBCB). The initiative, called Biomedical Information Science and Technology Initiative (BISTI) has worked to improve interdisciplinary collaboration between information technologists and medical professionals.
For example, five institutes under the NIH co-sponsored the Digital Reconstruction of Axonal and Dendritic Morphology (DIADEM) competition. This competition encouraged scientists to create an automated method of constructing a 3-D map neuron connections. This challenge was issued to alleviate the need for scientists to create such maps by hand, often tediously and laboriously reconstructing small sections over the course of months. This is just one example of how biomedical informatics seeks to eliminate time-consuming processes, consolidate information, and allow professionals make efficient use of data.
If you're interested in becoming a biomedical informatics researcher, plan on spending a lot of time in school because you'll have to pair a Ph.D. with a professional degree in medicine or dentistry. You may be able to secure employment with scientific research and development services, as well as with universities, manufacturing concerns, laboratories or hospitals. Employment opportunities are projected to increase at about the same rate as the national average for all occupations for the foreseeable future.