What You Need to Know to Become a Medical Science Liaison

Medical science liaison roles are increasing rapidly

Due to advancements in healthcare and technology, there are many opportunities available outside of traditional roles in an academic or research environment in the life sciences. 

The Medical Science Liaison (MSL) role is one of these. According to Dr. Samuel Dyer, CEO of The MSL Society, “Medical science liaison jobs are one of the best-kept secrets in the industry.” 

Dr. Dyer also mentioned that the MSL role has exploded in global growth in the past few years. We spoke with Dr. Dyer to find out more about this innovative position.     

What is a Medical Science Liaison?

MSLs are instrumental in the overall success of an organization and serve as a strategic resource in the lifecycle of a product.

They act as a bridge between healthcare companies and the physicians actually treating disease. They can be found in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device organizations. 

Dr. Dyer noted that Medical Science Liaisons “have the best of both worlds” through their involvement in the latest healthcare advancements and seeing the impact on patient care.

What are the Requirements to Become One?

The majority of Medical Science Liaisons have a doctorate degree, most commonly a Ph.D., PharmD. or M.D. 

They must be able to establish and foster relationships with many people while keeping up with the latest medical advancements. Developing excellent presentation and communication skills are also necessary. MSLs are key contributors to their organization internally and often partner with various departments including marketing, sales and product development. 

What are the Benefits?

Dr. Dyer shared many benefits of being an MSL. The average starting salary of an MSL is close to $138,000 annually, and the U.S. average salary is just over $175,000. MSLs also benefit from having a lot of autonomy to set their own schedule with the option to work from home. 

They have a high level of visibility throughout their industry and communicate with the top researchers in their field. Because of this, MSLs are at the forefront of cutting-edge scientific innovations and have the ability to travel regularly.

Advice to Aspiring MSLs

It is extremely competitive to become an MSL. 

Dr. Dyer said that The MSL Society has “launched more than 100 careers of medical science liaisons.” He recommends that candidates educate themselves on the profession and become aware of the resources out there to support their careers, including The MSL Society.

Dr. Dyer also suggests that aspiring MSLs network heavily. Dr. Dyer encourages professionals to be wary of people who claim to be “MSL experts” and offer false promises. 

Medical science liaison roles are great opportunities for life science professionals to be involved in ground-breaking research and see how it directly impacts patient care. With the projection of global growth in the MSL field, now could be the perfect time to consider this as a viable option.

If you have a doctoral degree and want to pursue this career, you can start by finding medical science liaison positions on BioSpace's life sciences job board.

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