- Research and study the effects of drugs and other chemicals on cells, humans and animals
- You'll need excellent science skills and attention to detail
- Some roles may require you to do research and testing involving animals
As a pharmacologist, you'll work in a research team, and might specialise in clinical pharmacology (the effects of medicine on people in clinical trials), or neuropharmacology (the effects of drugs on the nervous system).
- Designing, setting up and carrying out experiments
- Analysing data using complex equipment and measuring systems
- Testing drugs on cells in labs and through clinical trials
- Making recommendations using the results of research to develop new products and manufacturing processes
- Studying the effects of drugs
- Testing the safety of manufactured products
Some of your duties may involve animal research. You'll also contribute to meetings and conferences, and publish reports. You may also supervise support staff and manage projects.
To be a pharmacologist, you'll need knowledge of biology, thinking and reasoning skills, excellent verbal and written communication skills, complex problem-solving skills, the ability to use your initiative, analytical thinking skills, and thoroughness and attention to detail.
You'll usually need a science degree for this job. Pharmacology is the most relevant subject, but a degree in biochemistry, physiology, or microbiology may also be accepted by employers.
A postgraduate qualification may also be a requirement when applying for some jobs. Some courses include a year working in industry, which will give you an advantage when you start applying for work.
You can also get experience by working as a lab assistant or through work shadowing.
It may also be useful to have paid or unpaid work experience.
You could join the British Pharmacological Society for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager. You could also move into medical sales and marketing, drug registration, patent work or information science. You could work in research and development with a postgraduate degree in pharmacology or a relevant PhD.