A career in medical research is unlike any other career. You’re using science, creating studies, testing theories, and discovering new cures for old and new diseases to make the lives of everyone better.

You play a major part in helping the sick see, hear and enjoy themselves again. You may even be crucial in helping devise new methods of manufacturing pharmaceuticals that significantly cuts costs for consumers.

The challenge in this field is that it’s not as straightforward as it seems. There are hidden obstacles that could potentially prevent you from advancing in this career field.

Let’s examine five things you need to know about pursuing a career in medical research before you do so.

1. You Need the Right Knowledge

Entering the field of medical research does not mean you just need a degree in medicine or life sciences. The numerous and evolving methods of treatment that emerge come from a variety of studies.

You may need expertise in biology, bioinformatics, chemistry, physics, and statistics to begin your career in research. You may be utilizing new techniques that hinge upon the latest breakthroughs in science, which further means that you’ll need to keep your expertise in seemingly unrelated fields up-to-date.

2. You’re Going to Collaborate

Medical researchers are scientists firstly and foremost. They work to discover new things, but they seldom do so by themselves.

Most researchers will be hard at work testing hypotheses as much as they will be sharing ideas with other researchers. Work won’t end simply when the lab closes, as you’ll need to bounce ideas off other individuals to help overcome any obstacles that you might encounter.

Some of the largest breakthroughs, interestingly enough, have come during those after-work hours while one researcher was sharing a pint with another.

3. Being a Leader Requires a PhD

If you plan to direct your own research or even manage the direction that research others initiate goes, you’re going to need a thorough understanding of your research topics. Most teams require that leaders have a PhD when they engage in medical research.

Even if you plan to work independently to conduct your own research, you’re going to need a PhD. You need to be prepared to strive for that higher degree if you want to have the control to direct what medical discoveries come next.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Tools of the Trade

Medical research requires that you understand how to utilize a number of tools. Centrifuges, chemistry equipment and scales are just the beginning of the tools you’ll need to master to make any results you acquire verifiable.

If you’re just starting out, then you may wish to independently acquire equipment from a place like www.microscope.com. They offer affordable options on lab equipment that in-training medical researchers will be sure to appreciate.

5. You’re Going to Need a Love for Science

If you plan to start a career as a medical researcher, then you’re going to need one thing above all else: a thorough love for science.

You’re going to be living, breathing and sleeping on scientific ideas and processes for as long as you remain a medical researcher. You’ll need to follow the right procedures and learn how to logically link hypotheses to conclusions.

There’s More to a Career in Medical Research

Although these five points cover the more prominent “discoveries” that you’ll eventually make when you enter the field of medical research, it is by no means a comprehensive list. You’ll need to have the right drive, the right attitude and the right attention to detail to truly succeed as a medical researcher.

This means that medical research is not for the faint of heart. It’s for people whom really want to make lasting changes that humankind as a whole can benefit from for years to come.



By Lizzie Weakley

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.