PhD in Pharmacology: Salary & Jobs

Feb 23, 2018

Graduates with a PhD in Pharmacology have several careers available to them in the sciences. Compare and contrast some of these job options by looking at their median salaries and expected job growth rates.

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Many people with a PhD in Pharmacology work as pharmacologists, but this degree qualifies them for several related careers. Most of these careers still involve laboratory work and/or research, but also branch into different fields, like education and management. Learn about some of the career options available to individuals with a PhD in Pharmacology.

Career Options for a PhD in Pharmacology

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Medical Scientists (Except Epidemiologists) $80,530 13%
Biochemists and Biophysicists $82,180 11%
Natural Sciences Managers $119,850 10%
Postsecondary Teachers $75,430 15%
Chemists $73,740 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Information for Careers with a Pharmacology PhD

Medical Scientists

Medical scientists, a group that includes pharmacologists, usually need a doctorate or professional degree, which likely includes coursework in pharmacology. These scientists conduct clinical trials and other research projects to study various diseases and treatments. They work to test new drugs, develop medical devices and create health-related programs to improve health outcomes in the community. Medical scientists may need to pursue grants and other sources of funding to continue their research projects.

Biochemists and Biophysicists

Biochemists and biophysicists in advanced research positions need a doctorate or professional degree, often with coursework in toxicology and other pharmacology-related topics. Biochemists and biophysicists use their knowledge of chemistry and physics to study biological processes and organisms. Like pharmacologists, they may investigate the effects of drugs or other substances on these processes. These scientists perform complex research projects to examine molecules, such as DNA or proteins, and present their findings in scientific papers. Their work often has other applications outside of medicine, including in the fields of agriculture and biology.

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers need some work experience as scientists, but may hold bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. These managers oversee teams of scientists as they work collectively on various kinds of research projects, which requires them to monitor the budget and ensure that deadlines are met. Natural sciences managers use their laboratory expertise to check the work of scientists and provide technical assistance as needed. They communicate with clients to keep them updated on the status of a project and make sure that the scientists comply with all procedures and regulations.

Postsecondary Teachers

Most postsecondary teachers need doctoral degrees to teach courses in their particular area of expertise. Teachers with backgrounds in pharmacology may teach courses in pharmacology or related areas, such as biology, chemistry, toxicology and more. These educators need to develop curriculum for each course that they teach, as well as create and grade assignments and assessments. Most postsecondary teachers are also expected to conduct some research in their particular areas and may oversee a lab of graduate students as they pursue their own research interests. These teachers sometimes serve on different committees for the institution and may help advise undergraduate students.

Chemists

Many research positions require chemists to hold master's or doctoral degrees, and those with backgrounds in pharmacology may wish to work as medicinal or organic chemists. Medicinal chemists focus on developing and testing new pharmaceutical drugs, as well as figuring out ways to improve the manufacturing process of these drugs. Organic chemists work with carbon compounds and may also develop new drugs and other products. In general, chemists perform research projects and present their findings in technical reports and scientific papers.

Individuals with a PhD in Pharmacology can work in several closely related scientific research positions. They can also fulfill roles as postsecondary educators and natural sciences managers. According to the BLS, many of these career options make a median salary greater than $70,000.

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