Neurobiologist: Salary, Job Description and Career Outlook

Neurobiologists require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties, and skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Neurobiologists research and study the biological aspects of the nervous system. Job growth for all medical scientists is expected to be slightly faster than the average growth of all occupations, mainly because of the aging population, scientific discoveries, and more prevalent diseases.

Essential Information

Neurobiologists, a type of neuroscientist, study the biology of the nervous system to determine how it functions in order to better understand and treat neurological disorders, such as strokes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia. Preparation to become a neurobiologist may include earning a Ph.D. in neuroscience, as well as attending medical school.

Required Education Both a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a medical degree may be required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for broad category of medical scientists
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $82,240 for medical scientists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary of Neurobiologists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical scientists, other than epidemiologists, earned a median annual salary of $82,240 in May 2015. The highest-paid 10% earned upwards of $155,180 per year, while the lowest-paid 10% earned less than $44,510.

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Neurobiologist Job Description

Many jobs in neurobiology or neuroscience are in research, either working for the government, at a university, for private companies or in a hospital setting. Neurobiologists in research positions may study the structure and development of the nervous system, as well as how the nervous system affects neurological function and behavior. They may conduct experiments involving either human or animal subjects using electrodes, brain scans, injected dyes and other tools.

In universities, neurobiologists are teachers, as well as researchers. They are responsible for teaching students how to conduct experiments, analyze research results and write research grants. In hospitals, neurobiologists are engaged in clinical practice and teaching functions. As clinicians, they take research findings and apply them to real-world cases, determining the best treatment methods for patients.

Neurobiologists who work for the government or private companies may focus on research duties without the added responsibility of teaching. Private companies, such as pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, generally work to develop new products for neurological or psychiatric problems, but may also work in conjunction with government agencies on certain research projects.

Career Outlook for Neurobiologists

The BLS projected job growth of 8% between 2014 and 2024 for medical scientists. Medical research for neurological and many other disorders continues to advance as neurobiologists and other scientists discover new treatments for diseases because they better understand the functioning of the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Government funding for research projects may be leveling off from previous highs a decade ago, but scientists with dual medical and doctoral degrees are in the best positions to receive the funding opportunities that are available.

A neurobiologist can work in clinical or laboratory settings, performing research and possibly teaching. They also organize various experiments on human or animal subjects to determine how the nervous system affects functioning. A medical degree or Ph.D. may be required, depending on the type of place a neurobiologist is employed in.

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