What Does a Toxicologist Do?

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Toxicology is one of these majors everybody has heard about, but not many consider it as a serious career path. However, prospects for toxicologists are very high due to a variety of societal factors, and it is one of the most fulfilling and hands on fields that you can find. If you were interested in the profession, but don’t know what toxicologists do, here’s a little introduction to the field.

What is the Main Goal of a Toxicologist?

Toxicologists study the nature of toxins, their origins and how they affect us. In a world where we are bombarded by all sorts of toxins and chemicals left and right, the demand for toxicologists has been on the rise lately. Many industries have upped their efforts to understand toxins and their detrimental effect on public health. Toxicologists conduct lab analysis to track, identify and assess the impact of various toxins on human and animal life.

What Are the Daily Duties of Toxicologists?

By applying scientific experimentation in order to evaluate the negative effects of radiation of toxic materials, the daily duties of toxicologists consist of conducting research on the potential adverse effects of chemicals and implement regulations to safeguard the general public. This includes everything from pesticides and insecticides used both by the agri business and individuals, to various cosmetics and the water we drink.

On a typical day, a toxicologist may be asked to identify various toxic substances, run field or laboratory experiments, perform analysis on statistical data, create safety profiles, assess toxicity, write papers and present finds, provide advice on handling chemicals safely and work with scientists from various fields on multidisciplinary teams.

How Many Types of Toxicologists Are There?

Toxicology is a very large field with options for everybody. Analytical toxicologists for instance will work on identifying man made and/or natural poisons for instance. Clinical toxicologists, on the other hand, will test the effects of various drugs on the human body. Environmental toxicologists will work on identifying how different toxins affect our environment.

The number of fields is virtually endless, each with their own sets of requirements and aptitudes. They also pay differently depending on your experience and formation. If you want a more in depth look of the job prospects and salaries for toxicologists, you can visit a site like health care salaries guide.

How Can I Become a Toxicologist?

In order to become a toxicologist, you’ll at least need to complete at a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with extensive coursework in toxicology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacology, immunology and human anatomy. While a bachelor’s may be enough to land you an entry level position as a research technician, most will be required to pursue a master’s degree if they want to be in charge of research studies.

As you can see, the field of toxicology is very diverse and offers tons of opportunities to those who’d like to enter a vibrant and underserved STEM field. The demand is at its all-time high, so if you were on the fence about pursuing a career as a toxicologist, now is the time.


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