Career Paths for PhD Graduates

Biomedical scientists can use their knowledge of biomedical research in a wide variety of ways.
diverse people listening to the doctor's presentation

What can I be with a PhD?

Biomedical scientists may use their knowledge of biomedical research to:

  • Direct a research lab and decide which scientific questions to investigate
  • Be part of a team of scientists working together to solve problems of health and disease
  • Manage and coordinate large scientific projects (across institutions and/or across the world)
  • Teach others about biomedical science including how to do research and how to think about and understand scientific information
  • Inform policy makers about scientific matters that impact health and science
  • Communicate (by writing and speaking) and disseminate the latest information about scientific and medical discoveries
  • Translate discoveries and inventions from the most fundamental level to every day usage

Where do biomedical scientists work?

Academic institutions (research and administration)

  • Large research universities
  • Small liberal arts colleges
  • Medical centers and medical schools
  • Dental, veterinary and optometry schools
  • Hospitals
  • Research institutes
  • Community colleges
  • High schools

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies

Government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, including:

  • NIH - National Institutes of Health
  • FDA - Food and Drug Administration
  • CDCP - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • NSF - National Science Foundation
  • EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • USDA - Department of Agriculture
  • VA - Veterans' Administration
  • DOD - Department of Defense
  • US Congress
  • Executive Branch of the Federal Government
  • State and county health departments

Mass communication organizations and businesses

  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Internet-based communications
  • Broadcast media (television, radio, movies)
  • Scientific journals and textbooks

Law firms (patent and intellectual property law)

Consulting firms

  • Judicial system - scientific evidence in trials
  • Financial - advising regarding investments in biotechnology, drug and medical device development
  • Healthcare
  • Educational

Philanthropic and non-profit organizations

  • NAS/IOM - National Academies of Science/Institute of Medicine
  • Scientific societies and associations
  • Private foundations

General information about careers in biomedical science

ScienceCareers.org - Find a job in science - searchable by location including international, field, keyword, etc.

PhD Jobs - Includes jobs from across the United States including Biological Science, Business, Education, Engineering, Health & Medicine, Information Science, Law, Science

ScienceCareers.org "Mastering Your Ph.D.: Preparing for Your Post-Ph.D. Career" - Survival and success in the doctoral years and beyond

National Postdoctoral Association - Providing a national voice and seeking positive change for postdoctoral scholars

Choosing a Postdoctoral Position - Advice on finding the best postdoc for you

PhDs.org: Science, Math, and Engineering Career Resources - Information for scientists and would-be scientists at all levels, from high school students through Nobel laureates.

Financing Your Graduate Education

Graduate schools in the biomedical sciences will generally provide a comprehensive funding package to their students.

Research Career Paths

Interested in becoming a physician scientist? There are numerous professional paths available.