Toxicology is the science of poisons. Clinical toxicology is concerned with disease caused by chemicals, drugs and toxins and usually involves management of acute and chronic poisoning. Clinical toxicologists work in hospitals, poison centers, government agencies, industry and academia. A clinical toxicologist's career may span disciplines from the pharmaceuticals industry to regulatory toxicology to forensics and pathology or environmental and occupational medicine. A toxicologist doing clinical research will need a graduate degree and usually subsequent specialized training or experience in toxicology research.
Bachelor of Science
The first step toward a career in toxicology research with a clinical team is a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in the biological sciences. Discipline specializations may include toxicology, cell biology, pharmacology or a related field.
Doctor of Philosophy
Toxicologists working with a clinical research team will most often need a doctorate (Ph.D.) degree. Toxicologists may have doctorate degrees in biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, toxicology or a similar biological science. Ph.D. programs involve intensive research and take at least 4 years to complete.
Doctor of Pharmacy
Toxicologists may work with clinical research teams in poison control centers. These positions generally require a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. A PharmD degree is a professional degree and is typically a 4-year, full-time program.
Master of Science
Some toxicology research positions are available to those with a Master of Science degree (M.S.) in pharmacology, toxicology or a related field. An M.S. degree is typically a 2-year program.
Fellowship training to support a career with a clinical research team in a poison control center are available to candidates with a PharmD degree from an accredited School of College Pharmacy. Fellowships offer the opportunity for more specialized training in poison management and research. Fellowships are generally 1 to 2 years of postgraduate training.
Senior clinical toxicology research positions may require postdoctoral research experience. Postdoctoral research positions are paid training positions conducted after completion of the Ph.D. Postdoctoral positions may be held through universities, government agencies or private laboratories.
Toxicologists with Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) degrees may also join clinical research teams, especially if they have prior drug-development or related experience.
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