Pharmacologist Career Profile

Do you want to work as a pharmacologist?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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UPDATED:

6 May 2024

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What is a Pharmacologist?

A pharmacologist specialising in animal medicine is a scientist who studies the effects of drugs on animals. They investigate how various medications interact with an animal’s body, including their metabolism, absorption, distribution, and elimination.

Animal Health 1

Alternative Names

Pharmacologists specializing in animal medicine may be known by various alternative names depending on their specific focus and the context in which they work. Some alternative names for pharmacologists specializing in animal medicine include:

  • Veterinary Pharmacologist
  • Animal Pharmacologist
  • Veterinary Pharmaceutical Scientist
  • Veterinary Pharmacology Researcher
  • Animal Drug Development Specialist
  • Veterinary Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Veterinary Pharmacist
  • Veterinary Drug Safety Specialist
  • Comparative Pharmacologist
  • Zoopharmacologist

These terms may be used interchangeably in different settings, but they all refer to professionals who specialize in studying the effects of drugs on animals and contribute to veterinary medicine and animal health research.

Career Categories

The Pharmacologist career can be found within the following OZT career categories:

  • Health
  • Specialists

History?

Oswald Schmiedeberg, who was born in what is now Latvia in 1838, is considered the father of pharmacology

Work with Animals?

All kinds of pharmacologists work with animals, whether in testing or developing meds for animals

What does a Pharmacologist do?

Groups of animals a Pharmacologist works with

Cats List Icon
Cats
Dogs List Icon OZT
Dogs
Critters List Icon OZT
Critters
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Mammals
Birds List Icon OZT
Birds
Fish List Icon OZT
Fish
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Reptiles
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Amphibians

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With who does a Pharmacologist work?

Besides working with all of the animals, Pharmacologists will need to interact with other people while doing their daily tasks. The people might include fellow staff members or the public.

Fellow staff might include:

  • Supervisors/Managers
  • Operational staff, such as Human Resources, Finance and Maintenance
  • Veterinarians

What does a Pharmacologist focus on?

The primary focus of Pharmacologists is to find out how chemical substances interact with the body so that new medicine can be developed.

They can choose to specialise in an area of pharmacology, such as:

  • cardiovascular pharmacology
  • clinical pharmacology
  • neuropharmacology
  • psychopharmacology
  • veterinary pharmacology

What are the daily tasks of a Pharmacologist?

  • Discuss brief with clients
  • Conduct experiments
  • Analyse how chemicals interact with living cells
  • Interpret data and write reports on findings
  • Presentation to clients of findings
  • Maintain laboratory
  • Administration and filing

Working conditions of a Pharmacologist?

Where does a Pharmacologist work?

Environment

A Pharmacologist will work mainly indoors within a laboratory where there is easy access to equipment.

Places of Employment –

They may be employed by large research institutions such as universities, environmental agencies, pharmaceutical companies, independent laboratories and even government.

What is the average annual salary of a Pharmacologist work?

On average the income per year is around US$110,000. This will differ from country to country.

Country Specific –

  • Australia $155,000
  • South Africa R900,000
  • UK £80,000 per year

What is the average annual salary of a Pharmacologist work?

Advancement in the field typically depends on work experience. First-year pharmacologists often begin on a part-time basis, fitting their training commitments around other work demands.

The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following:

Intern -> Junior Pharmacologist -> Senior Pharmacologist -> Manager

What kind of difficulties can a Pharmacologist face?

The most difficult part of this job is the enormous stress that Pharmacologists might be subjected to.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The average growth within the career is average of around 5%. Research in animal medicine and nutrition is growing and will open up new markets in the future.

Availability of Jobs

Average

Which Skills are required by a Pharmacologist?

The skills required for a career as a Pharmacologist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Handling equipment
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to help prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become a Pharmacologist?

Minimum Requirements

The minimum required qualification will be a Bachelor’s Degree. As this field is highly competitive, most students do study further towards a Doctorate Degree (PhD) to ensure that they get a good job.

Study Focus

Major –

You might need to find universities that offer pharmacology as a major, with a focus on biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physiology.

Short Courses –

Complete as many short courses as you can in basic biology and handling laboratory equipment.

Study Duration

The duration of a Bachelor’s Degree can be up to 3 or 4 years. Additional studies up to a Doctorate may be an extra 3 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Path Plan

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Here’s a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacologist specialising in animal medicine:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Participate in career guidance sessions offered by the school or community to learn about different career options, including pharmacology and veterinary medicine.

2. Research Possible Careers:

Conduct research to understand various careers in pharmacology, with a focus on animal medicine. Explore job responsibilities, educational requirements, and potential career paths.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Research different educational paths to become a pharmacologist specialising in animal medicine, such as veterinary medicine programmes or pharmacology degrees with a focus on animals.

4. Align High School Subjects:

Choose high school subjects that align with the desired educational path, such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Successfully complete high school and obtain a diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn about Animals:

Gain knowledge about the animals pharmacologists work with, including domestic animals, livestock, and wildlife.

7. Align Post-School Path:

Decide whether to enter a career/job directly after high school, pursue further studies at a college or university, or start a business related to pharmacology or animal medicine.

8. Gain Experience:

Gain practical experience through volunteering at animal shelters, veterinary clinics, or research labs, and seek internships or mentorship opportunities in pharmacology or veterinary medicine.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to science, research, or animal care to enhance skills and knowledge.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join professional associations related to pharmacology, veterinary medicine, or animal science to network with professionals and stay updated on industry developments.

11. Gain Specialised Skills:

Acquire specialised skills relevant to pharmacology and animal medicine through coursework, training programmes, or hands-on experience.

12. Network with Professionals:

Build a network of professionals in the field by attending conferences, workshops, and networking events.

13. Enter the Job Market or Further Studies:

After completing tertiary studies or gaining relevant experience, enter the job market, pursue further studies (such as a master’s or doctoral degree), or consider starting a business in pharmacology or animal medicine.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay updated on advancements in pharmacology and animal medicine by pursuing continuing education opportunities, attending seminars, and reading scientific literature.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and apprenticeship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need in working in a laboratory will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior pharmacologist.

Join the Pharmacologists Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

High School Certificate 0%
College Diploma 0%
Degree & Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Most countries do require Pharmacologists to have a license and certification to administer drugs to animals for testing.

Learn more about requirements by joining the OZT Community!

Professional Associations

  • .

Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards pharmacology and biology.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:

CAREER PATH PLAN

Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

SHORT COURSES

Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

STUDY GUIDE

Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

Join the OZT community and career Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a Pharmacologist.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being a Pharmacologist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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