How to become a Pharmacologist
Like many healthcare fields, the barriers to entry for becoming a pharmacologist are steep, but those who have the talent, drive and resources to overcome these hurdles should have an easy time finding good-paying employment as our nation continues to age, medicate itself and sue over problems related to bad responses to medicines.
Before considering how to become a pharmacologist, one should first consider the reason. There are ways to make good money that don’t involve years of pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, then possibly a doctorate degree. Unlike other medical fields, pharmacology often involves spending less time in direct contact with patients and more time with chemicals, computers and lab animals. Pharmacologists rarely help individuals, although the work that pharmacologists do can help thousands of people through the creation of better, safer drugs. Pharmacologists are scientists, and the love of answering difficult questions (such as, how will diabetics metabolize a drug’s active ingredients differently than non-diabetics?) through detailed research and analysis is part of the charm in this job. Chemistry, biology and math concepts play a part in the everyday life of a pharmacologist.
In addition to achieving good grades and doing well on the ACT and SAT in high school to get into a good college, future pharmacologists must score well on the GRE and MCAT to get into good graduate schools. In planning how to become a pharmacologist, consider the expense of four years of undergraduate school followed by two to three years of master’s degree study and another couple years of doctoral research. While the length of time and the cost varies from school to school, the money can run into several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, the jobs usually pay well.