Physician Scientist

Physician scientists are dentists, and medical and osteopathic doctors specializing in laboratory research. These specialists teach at medical schools and universities, treat patients at private practices, and perform clinical research at research centers and commercial laboratories.

Additional information about physician science careers can be obtained from these organizations:

  • Association of American Physicians
  • Association for Patient Oriented Research
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • American Physician Scientists Association

Working Conditions

Physician scientists typically have numerous career options to choose from. Most work at research facilities, dental and medical schools, or colleges and universities. Regardless of where they work, they're required to spend a lot of time conducting laboratory research.

Since few doctors and dentists specialize in physician science, there are many high paying job opportunities available to these specialists. Talented physician scientists are often promoted to management positions with venture capital firms, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, commercial laboratories, and universities.

Career Training and Education

To qualify for a physician scientist training program, you must earn a bachelor's degree with at least a 3.5 GPA. As an undergraduate, you need to complete pre-med, physics, chemistry, biology, and other science courses.

Those applying to dental science programs are required to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), while applicants to medical science programs are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Some schools also require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Experience with undergraduate research will enhance your chances of getting accepted.

Physician scientists also have the option of earning combined degrees in medicine and healthcare, business, and public administration, public health, education, and other specialties.

Dentists and medical and osteopathic doctors making career transitions into physician science must complete a 4 year training program, followed by 1 year of training at a laboratory. Obtaining a doctorate and clinical degree can take more than 10 years to complete, but obtaining a combined degree usually takes between 6-8 years to finish.

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