top of page

                                             Medical Scientists

In this section you will find information on the following careers:

Chemist                                               Exercise Physiologist                      Disease Ecologist                                Health and Safety Engineer

Environmental Health Specialist          Medical Scientist

Epidemiologist                                     Microbiologist


   Do you like doing lab experiments in science class that

involve measuring, mixing, heating, or cooling chemicals

to test them or to find out about chemical reactions? If

you like to find out why some chemicals react the way

they do or how chemicals are used in your everyday life,

being a chemist might be the perfect career for you!


Read on to find out more about being a chemist!

What They Do:  Chemists study substances to develop new products, such as medicines and manufactured goods.  They study their physical and chemical properties (any trait that can be measured or observed, such as density, color, mass, volume, or how they react). They develop new testing procedures, prepare solutions used in laboratories, and present research at conferences.

   There are different specializations in the chemist career field. Chemists specialize to become analytical chemists, physical chemists, medicine chemists, and more!


                                               Education/Training: Chemists need at least a 4 year                                                           college degree to have an entry-level position. Many                                                         chemist jobs require an advanced degree, such as a                                                         master’s degree or Ph.D. as well as extensive experience.

   If you want to be a chemist, you should take as many classes in chemistry, math, biology and physics as you can. You can be better prepared for college courses if you start to study science in high school.

Salary: Chemists make an average of $76,890 per year, but this varies greatly by place of employment, education, and experience. Some chemists make up to $159,970 per year.

Disease Ecologist


   Do you like to solve mysteries? Do you like to travel?

Do you like finding out about what causes different

diseases that you hear about on the news? Disease

ecology is the career for you!


What They Do: Disease ecologists look at patterns of

diseases in populations all over the world in order to

better understand how the disease spreads. They study interactions of people and their environments and how those interactions might cause disease outbreaks and epidemics.


   Their jobs include collecting data and information on outbreaks, identifying the source of the disease, and making recommendations for public health. Disease ecologists travel around the world to study the disease in its natural setting to find out what may stop the outbreak. They also work in laboratories and health facilities.


Education/Training: Diseases ecologists must usually have an advanced college degree (a PH.D) in a biology field of study. Most disease ecologists have earned Ph.D.s in microbiology (the study of microorganisms), entomology (the study of insects), zoology (the study of animals) or ecology (the study of the environment).


Salary: The average wage for a disease ecologist is $69,660 per year. This salary can vary greatly with place of employment. Some disease ecologists earn for the $112,600 per year.


Environmental Health Specialist

   Do you like working outside? Do you think you would

like investigating conditions in different environments

that might cause health problems? Environmental

health specialists perform valuable work to ensure

people’s health.


What They Do: Environmental health scientists are

important to protecting people’s health. They study

environmental conditions to identify possible threats to public safety. They collect data, work directly with patients and employees in a workplace, and collect samples of air, water, or soil for study.


   Environmental health specialists test samples to find out if there may be something in the environment that could be making people sick. If they find hazardous material, they develop a plan to prevent or control it and provide the information to government officials, businesses, schools, and the general public.


Education/Training:  A 4-year college degree is needed for most jobs in environmental health.  Students who want a career in environmental health take courses in biology, chemistry, geology and environmental policy and regulation. Most jobs in research positions require an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree.


Salary: The average wage for environmental scientists is about $71,130 per year, but this varies with company, experience, and education. Some environmental health scientists earn $103,440 per year while others earn less.




   You may have never heard of an epidemiologist but you have probably heard of an epidemic. An epidemic is a disease outbreak that occurs over a wide area; an epidemiologist is a doctor who studies epidemics and other public health issues.


What They Do: Do you want a career that

sometimes lets you travel all around the world? An

epidemiologist investigates health conditions,

including the causes of disease, how diseases are

spread, and patterns to injuries. They often travel

around the world to many different locations

studying disease outbreaks to try to control and

prevent them.


   Epidemiologists also study public health problems to find ways to reduce risks. They collect data and observations from examinations, interviews, and blood and body fluids to find solutions to health problems. They study important public health issues such as mother and child health, environmental health, injuries, drug abuse and much more.


As you might think, it takes a lot of preparation to become an epidemiologist! Read on to find out more!

Education/Training: Epidemiologists need 4 years of college and at least a master’s degree (after-college degree) in a health-related field of study. The epidemiologists who do research have  Ph.Ds (advanced degrees).

   In general, epidemiologists work in offices or laboratories, but they also work at different locations during disease outbreaks. Their work often takes them to remote locations around the world.

Salary: The average salary for epidemiologists is $69, 660 per year. Salaries vary greatly depending on where they work. Those that work in research may earn $98,880 per year while those working in hospitals earn $82,250 per year.


Exercise Physiologist

Do you think you would like to help people recover from

illnesses or improve their health? Maybe you are

interested in how being physically fit keeps you healthy

and want to help people learn how being fit can improve

their lifestyles. 


Read more about being an exercise physiologist. Maybe

this is the career for you!


What they do: Exercise physiologists reviews a patient’s medical history to determine the best exercise and fitness routines for the patient.  They administer fitness and stress tests to help analze a patient’s condition and to determine the risks that may come from a fitness program.

Exercise physiologists measure blood pressure, oxygen usage, heart function and other indicators of the patient’s health to develop exercise programs that improve health conditions.


   Exercise physiologists work closely with doctor who prescribe exercise physiology. The physiologist develops individualized treatment plans.


Education and training: Exercise physiologists need at least a bachelor’s degree (a four-year college degree) in exercise physiology or a related field. Coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, statitics, and nutrition. Clinical practice is also part of the program. Master’s programs are also available for an advanced degree.


Salary: The average salary for an exercise physiologist is $49,170 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $34,990 per year and the highest 10% earned more than $78,310 per year.

   Wages can vary greatly depending on the place of employment. For example, exercise physiologist who work for the government earn about $72,440 per year while those who work in therapy offices earn $45,190 per year.


Health and Safety Engineer

What they do: Health and safety engineers combine

engineering principles with health and safety concerns

to protect people from illness and injury. They make

sure chemicals, machinery and other types of products

are safe to use.


    Health and safety engineers identify potential hazards of buildings, machinery, equipment and products and work to correct the dangers. They make sure all safety procedures are followed and install safety devices. They review workers’ safety programs to make sure the working environment is safe.

   They also investigate industrial accidents and injuries to find out if the accident was avoidable or if something in the workplace or a workplace policy caused the accident. They issue violations according to health and safety policies and regulations.


Education and Training: Health and safety engineers need a 4-year college degree (Bachelor’s degree) in environmental health and safety or in an engineering field, such as electrical, chemical, or industrial engineering. They study occupational health, industrial hygiene, environmental safety and engineering topics.


Salary: The average wage for health and safety engineers is $91,410 per year. The lowest 10% earned less than $53,650 per year and the higest 10% earned more than $143,880 per year.

   Wages vary depending on the placeof employment. For example health and safety engineers who work for engineering companies earn $99.410 per year and those who work for construction companies earn $79,570 per year.



Medical Scientist


Do you like doing experiments in science class? A career as a medical scientist may be perfect for you!

What They Do: Medical scientists conduct research to

improve human health. They study diseases, health care,

and treatments. They work in hospitals and laboratories to

study cancer prevention, heart health, medicines and other

body system conditions.


Education and Training: Medical scientists need at least a

4-year college degree in biology, chemistry, or related field

of study. Most will get advanced degrees such as Ph.Ds.

Some medical scientists are also medical doctors who

work with patients during their research.


Salary: Medical scientists earn an average of $84, 810 per year. Those scientists who work in drug or medicine manufacturing companies earn more ($115,450 per year) than those who work in hospitals ($82,560 per year) or colleges or universities ($61,270).



Do you like looking through a microscope in science

class? Are you interested in organisms so small that

you can’t see them without a microscope? Think about

being a microbiologist!

What They Do: Microbiologists are scientists who

study microorganisms—organisms too small to be

seen without a microscope. Microorganisms include bacteria, algae, fungi, and some parasites.

   Microbiologists work in laboratories and use microscopes to study and identify bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. They often conduct research to find new drugs that treat infections caused by microorganisms.


   They also work in colleges or universities where they can conduct their research and teach classes.


How do you become a microbiologist? Read on to find out!

Education and training: Microbiologists need at least a 4-year college degree in microbiology or a related field of study. Laboratory experience is important for a microbiologists and most college science classes include labs.


   Microbiologists who want to work for research companies need advanced degrees, such as Ph.Ds. Microbiologists need to be good problem-solvers and pay attention to details.


Salary: The average salary for a microbiologist is $71,650 per year, but salaries vary greatly depending on the place of employment.  The federal government pays the highest wages while college and universities pay the lowest wages.

© Wheeling University, 2023. All rights reserved.

chemist-male and female-asian in lab.jpg
Chemist-female scientist looking at test tube.jpg
disease ecologist-female sci measuring children.jpg
environmental health specialist-2 female-in protective gear.jpg
epidemiologist-female works in lab.jpg
exercise physiologist-female and black patient.jpg
health and safety engineer-1 black-1 white.jpg
medical scientist-black female pipeting.jpg
microbiologist-female looking through scope in lab.jpg
bottom of page