Clinical Pharmacologist: Job Description, Duties and Salary

Clinical pharmacologists require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

View popular schools

Clinical pharmacologists develop and test new pharmaceutical products. Their income varies widely, depending on what field they work in. In 2015 the median salary for all medical scientists was $82,240, while the highest-paid professionals in this field earned $175,320 working in professional, scientific, and technical services.

Essential Information

A clinical pharmacologist is a medical scientist who specializes in how drugs affect the body. These professionals draft plans for pharmaceutical trials and create guidelines for prescribing medication. Clinical pharmacologists typically hold M.D. and Ph.D. degrees; a medical license is also required.

Required Education M.D. and Ph.D.
Other Requirements Valid medical license
Projected Job Growth for Medical Scientists (2014-2024)* 8%
Average Annual Salary for Medical Scientists (2015)* $114,430 in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
$104,310 in scientific research and development services

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Clinical Pharmacologist

According to the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), clinical pharmacologists develop and test new pharmaceutical products, focusing on interactions between drugs and diseases. Clinical pharmacologists apply knowledge of pharmacokinetics, the absorption of drugs, with pharmacodynamics, the effects of drugs, to create new pharmaceuticals.

In addition to determining the effectiveness of drugs, pharmacologists optimize drug prescribing and prevent medication errors. Clinical pharmacologists work with pharmaceutical companies in new drug development and with government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that approve drugs for use.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Environmental Toxicology
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Molecular Toxicology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Toxicology

Duties of a Clinical Pharmacologist

To design drug trials, clinical pharmacologists refer to data from the Human Genome Project and consult with scientists who have developed new pharmaceutical compounds and conducted preclinical testing. They coordinate testing of a drug's absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion from the human body.

Clinical pharmacologists contribute to new drug applications delivered to the FDA, which includes detailed plans for up to four phases of clinical trials involving volunteer patients. They decide how much of a drug to administer and how to administer it based on pretrial research and the intended destination within the body.

During the course of clinical trials, pharmacologists evaluate a drug's effectiveness, monitor for side effects and make adjustments to a drug's chemical structure. Clinical pharmacologists also track other factors that influence a drug's effectiveness, including the presence of different drugs, food and dietary supplements.

Salary Information and Outlook for a Clinical Pharmacologist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical scientists who worked in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing earned an average annual salary of $114,430 in 2015, while those who worked for scientific research and development services earned an average of $104,310. The BLS predicted an 8% expansion of job opportunities for medical scientists in general, from 2014 to 2024.

Clinical pharmacologists are highly-trained professionals who develop and test new pharmaceutical products through clinical trials. They are responsible for identifying possible effects of drug interactions and determine how to administer new drugs safely. Median salaries in this field were in the low six figures in 2015.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MS in Bioinformatics
    • Master of Biotechnology Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
    • MS in Biotechnology

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MS in Nursing
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Health Science

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS in Clinical Research Administration
    • MSHS in Clinical and Translational Research
    • MSHS in Regulatory Affairs
    • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology
    • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
    • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Pre-Physical Therapy
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Pre-Physician Assistant
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • BS Health Science (Post PTA)
    • BS Health Science
    • BS Health Science (Pre-Physical Therapy)
    • Associate of Science in Health Science
    • Associate of Science in Health Science - Pre-Nursing
    • Associate of Science in Health Science - Pre-Pharmacy
    • AS Health Science
    • AS Health Science (Pre-Pharmacy)
    • AS Health Science (Pre-Nursing)
    • CERT Computed Tomography

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What year did you graduate high school?

    • Medical Laboratory Technology

    Year of High School Graduation or GED completion:

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?