Thanks to the work of biomedical research scientists, diseases that were difficult or impossible to treat only a few years ago can now be managed effectively. Ongoing advances in biomedical research have led to an improved quality of life for a number of people, not to mention a multitude of career opportunities as well.
What is Biomedical Research?
Biomedical research is an area of science that deals with the research involving the prevention of illnesses and diseases. This research could be on conditions that affect either humans or animals. Those involved in biomedical research study the human body and the effects disease has on it in an ongoing effort to develop treatments and cures. Research can also lead to the development of new medicines and procedures, as well as the development of new medical equipment and advanced surgical techniques.
Skills and Abilities Required
To work in the field of biomedical research, one must have the ability to read and follow directions precisely. Attention to detail is also important, as the results of a particular study could be altered significantly if research is not carried out in a precise manner. Good written and verbal communications skills are essential, since researchers will often make written reports and verbal presentations on their findings. Extensive chemistry and biology knowledge along with excellent math skills are needed as well.
Working Environment and Conditions
Biomedical research associates may work in a variety of settings, but most often perform their work in laboratories. They may sometimes meet with patients in hospitals and medical clinics as well. They may spend a great deal of time looking through microscopes and using precise medical equipment, which means that eyestrain may be likely. Exposure to bodily fluids and tissues are common in this field, and as a result, universal precautions must be used at all times to prevent contracting illnesses.
Possible Career Choices
Biomedical research associates may work for a number of different entities, including universities, pharmaceutical companies, medical clinics, hospitals and private research firms. Some may also be employed by the government, and work for agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control. The military sometimes makes use of biomedical researchers to study the effects of certain illnesses on troops in close quarters or medical conditions that can be associated with military service.
Biomedical Research Job Opportunities
According to the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR), many biomedical research scientists are actually medical doctors who are authorized to treat patients. Some will head research teams, or may also practice as dentists, pharmacists or veterinarians. Laboratory technicians who work in this industry may have only a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and these individuals primarily assist doctors in performing medical tests and recording results.
Biomedical Research Salary
The amount of money one makes as a biomedical researcher will depend upon his or her level of involvement in this field. Those who head highly specialized research teams can expect to make as much as $250,000 per year, especially if they also hold a medical license. Assistants can also earn a lucrative salary, making anywhere from $37,000 to $66,000 annually. The amount of experience one has, level of education, and notoriety in the field all play a part in the amount of salary an individual earns.
The number of openings in the biomedical research industry is expected to grow by more than 27 percent by the year 2022, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than average for all occupations that are tracked by this agency. This growth is expected to come from an aging population, along with an increased awareness as to the importance of disease prevention.
Education and Training
To work in this field, the minimum education required is a Master’s degree in chemistry, physics or a related discipline. However, most people have a doctorate degree, to include an M.D., D.D.S, or D.V.M. Many scientists who head research teams complete a fellowship after earning their doctorate degree, and this fellowship can take anywhere from two to five years to finish. Ongoing education can also be needed to keep up with changes in the field as they occur. Licensing is required by all states for those who plan on treating patients as part of their research efforts.
People all over the world lead healthier and longer lives, thanks to the ongoing efforts of biomedical research scientists everywhere. Since new diseases are constantly being discovered, there will always be a need for these professionals to help uncover ways to prevent people from becoming sick.