People pursue a career in cancer research for many different reasons. Some are interested in the scientific elements of research into new ways to vanquish this awful disease, others have had their lives touched by cancer and want to prevent it happening to someone else. Either way, if a career as a cancer research scientist appeals, here are the facts to help you decide whether this is the right career pathway for you.
Cancer research is a science-based discipline. To pursue a career in cancer research, you will need a degree in one of the sciences, typically chemistry or biology, but medical science is also applicable. Once you have a science degree under your belt, you will need to study for a doctorate degree in a related field. Alternatively, you could study for a Master of public Health at the University of Arizona and specialize in epidemiology.
For many people, a Masters Public Health degree online is the ideal way to study for an advanced qualification, as it is more flexible than attending college on a full-time basis. If you are already working in a medical research role and you are looking to move into cancer research, you could sign up for an online master’s degree program and study in your free time. Most master degree courses are completed within two years, so they are ideal for busy working students with job and family commitments.
Technically speaking, a doctorate or Masters in Public Health online is not essential for anyone involved in cancer research, but most researchers are required to conduct research in human patients and a master’s degree is necessary in this instance.
Cancer researchers look at ways to prevent and treat cancer. This work is primarily done in the laboratory. It may involve researching different genetic markers to work out why some people are more susceptible to certain types of cancer than others are.
There is a big crossover between cancer research and pharmacology. Once a prospective drug has been identified that could be useful when treating cancer, clinical trials will be carried out. When this happens, pharmacologists will work in tandem with cancer researchers to test the drugs on patients.
Working Outside the Laboratory
Whilst much of your work will be in the laboratory, you will also be expected to write research papers and complete grant proposals so your laboratory can secure funding. Most medical researchers have to spend a fair amount of time writing research papers, so you need to be comfortable with writing. As such, it is worth taking an English course in college, so you are well prepared for the writing aspect of your research role.
Salary expectations are good for cancer research. You can expect to earn between $79k and $100k upwards.
Cancer research is a career where you can make a real difference. If you do decide to go into this sector, talk to your careers adviser about the best path to take.
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