Career Definition of Poison Information Specialists
Poison information specialists have a primarily telephone-based role in the health and wellness sector. In this role, you will likely work in a poison control center. Your primary responsibility will be to take calls from the public and healthcare providers. You will address issues like accidental poison ingestion or requests for information.
An important aspect of a poison information specialist's work is to ascertain if a caller ingested poison, what type, the extent of the exposure, and if the caller should seek medical treatment. You will document all of your calls and follow up with callers who you created a treatment plan for. Poison information specialists also serve as a resource for healthcare providers or regulatory agencies. You will collaborate with healthcare providers on treatment plans for patients and help them understand lab results. Other job duties may include training new personnel and developing and implementing poison prevention training programs for educational institutions or businesses.
|Educational Requirements||Associate's degree|
|Job Skills||Clinical background, strong communication skills, an ability to work under pressure, and toxicology/pharmacology knowledge|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$77,980 (Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||16% (Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The educational requirements for a poison information specialist will vary depending on the organization you work for. You can serve in this role if you are a registered nurse with an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Alternatively, you can work as a poison information specialist if you are a licensed pharmacist or physician. Certification as a poison information specialist may improve prospects and is available from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
You will need a clinical background in order to work as a poison information specialist. Relevant experience in a hospital emergency department, intensive care unit, or surgical ward will provide you with knowledge you will need in this career. In addition, experience in pharmacology and toxicology is beneficial for this role. You will also need strong communication skills to interact with patients and provide them with the diagnosis and support they need. As a poison information specialist, you should have the ability to work well under pressure as some of your callers are likely dealing with emergency situations.
Career Outlook and Salary
Specific career information for poison information specialists is not available through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS category for health diagnosing and treating practitioners likely includes this specialized position, however. In May 2016, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $77,980 for this group. Health diagnosing and treating practitioners have a much-faster-than-average job growth of 16% for 2016-2026.
If you are interested in working as a poison information specialist, take a look at some alternative careers. One might decide to pursue alternative options that emphasize public well-being; those more scientifically inclined may choose to contribute to poison research.