dcsimg



Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Pharmacological Chemist


Description

Modern medicines and therapies such as antibiotics, decongestants, cough syrup, insulin, and antidepressants are the products of pharmacological chemistry. Sometimes called pharmaceutical chemists, pharmacological chemists design, produce and deliver drugs and study disease therapy to create chemical solutions to relieve, combat and cure illness. They also study the effects of drugs, gases, dusts and other materials on tissue and physiological processes of animals and human beings. Creating pharmaceuticals requires a thorough understanding of biochemistry and organic chemistry.

Pharmaceutical chemists may synthesize new drugs, or modify older drugs so that they have improved therapeutic value, are less toxic, or have improved stability. The need to demonstrate safety, bioavailability and effectiveness of all new drugs, as mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, places unique quality control requirements on all aspects of the drug manufacturing and distribution process. To meet these requirements, pharmaceutical chemists also develop improved analytical techniques for monitoring the levels of drugs in the body and to ascertain the safety and potency of the drugs on the pharmacy shelf.

In disease therapy, pharmacological chemists study normal and pathologic biological processes at the level of the molecules involved. The "in vivo" and "in vitro" properties of drugs are governed by different principles and as all chemists know, different molecules and chemicals have various reactions when they join. When a molecule binds to another, it will have an effect -- either positive or negative -- in terms of health. In the case of designing medication, the aim is obviously to have a positive reaction. Therefore, pharmacological chemists try to design drug molecules that bind selectively to the target molecule, but not to others. This method of drug design is intended to have the least amount of side effects possible. Pharmacological chemists must also test the molecule against many others (other than the targeted molecule) to find out the negative side effects.

Pharmacological chemists usually work in one of two areas of work: product development and research or an administration position. Those working for industrial companies can become directly involved in product development research, applying their scientific background to the solution of practical, challenging problems. Some may also select positions oriented more toward basic research or at the drug discovery and development stage. Those who choose to take the administrative career path, will be more involved in the distribution of drugs.

Finally, in compliance with government standards, pharmacological chemists work to standardize procedures for the manufacture of drugs and medicinal compounds. Those who are employed by the government will help set safety standards and may even work as government watchdogs for pharmaceutical companies.
 
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Aerodynamicist
arrow Aeronautical Technologist
arrow Anatomist
arrow [ view all related careers ]



Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Ross Medical Education Centers
Get allied health training with Ross Medical Education Center.
Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$64,390
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
What does it take to become a pharmacological chemist? Pharmacological chemists need good communication skills including reading and writing, and an affinity for mathematics, science and problem solving. They should be able to work independently as well as with a team, and have incredible patience and meticulousness. Pharmacological chemists should also enjoy synthesizing information and finding innovative solutions to problems, working with instruments at tasks requiring precision, and directing the work of others. They should also be persistent because experiments will not always yield the desired results.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Design drugs by testing out various molecule reactions
  • Use chemistry to understand why chemical compounds behave the way they do
  • Isolate, purify, characterize and analyze the properties of chemical substances used in pharmaceutical products
  • Study positive and negative side effects of pharmacological experiments
  • Alter and improve already existing drugs to increase therapeutic value
  • Study drug development, including the chemistry of drug receptor interactions and the chemistry of drug metabolism
  • Meet with pharmaceutical company management and officials to discuss product development
  • Help set government health, medication and safety standards
  • Guide research by eliminating non-feasible options and highlighting those with the best chance of success
  • Write reports on experiments and publish articles in scientific journals
  • May lecture and supervise students
  • Pharmacological chemists often work in research and development teams. They work variable hours in offices, laboratories and classrooms. and may be required to work longer hours. Those employed in research facilities, industrial plants or hospitals may be required to work shifts. Since they use complex, high-tech scientific equipment to mix chemicals and test their effects, they must use safety precautions when conducting experiments.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Pharmacological chemists teach at colleges and high schools and work for drug and safety departments in the government. They are also employed by pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing companies, research laboratories, hospitals, the chemical industries, private consulting companies and other related organizations. They may specialize within their fields, for example focusing the majority of their research on a particular disease or medication.

  Long Term Career Potential  
As the nature of industrial pharmaceutical research becomes more sophisticated, those researchers with strong scientific backgrounds compete more effectively for management positions. The increasing number of trained pharmaceutical chemists now entering the upper levels of management will have an increasingly significant impact on the direction of health related research programs in the future. The demand for outstanding researchers in pharmaceutics will, therefore, continue to grow.

Graduates who are interested in providing guidance to future researchers, while directing their own research programs, may opt for careers in academia. Pharmaceutical chemistry programs in academic institutions are expanding and are constantly seeking able teaching and research faculty.
 

  Educational Paths  
Most pharmacological chemists begin their postsecondary education by taking a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, with a specialization in pharmacology. Those who wish to specialize or work in research usually continue their pharmacological chemistry education to the master's or PhD level. A doctoral degree is often required for leading research projects and teaching positions at the postsecondary level. Students planning careers as pharmacological chemists should take courses in science, mathematics and pharmacology, and should like working with their hands building scientific apparatus and performing laboratory experiments.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Ross Medical Education Centers
Get allied health training with Ross Medical Education Center.
Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician

 
The College of Health Care Professions
The College of Health Care Professions is a great place for working adults to enhance their current careers, or help themselves find new career pathways to better lives. We also train high school graduates to enter in the exciting high demand Healthcare industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician Certificate

 
Remington College

Get hands-on training with Remington College.

Prefer to speak with a Customer Service Rep? Call 855-264-3155 toll-free now!

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma in Pharmacy Technician
  • AS in Pharmacy Technician

 
Platt College
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician

 
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician (11-Month Diploma Program)

 
Rasmussen College

Further your education and strengthen your skill set at Rasmussen College

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician Certificate

 
Brookline College

Get hands-on training with Brookline College. We offer diploma and degree programs in the areas of health care, business, nursing, criminal justice, paralegal, and computer security.

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma - Pharmacy Technician

 
CDI College
Find an education partner totally committed to your success at CDI College.
Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Assistant

 
Metropolitan Institute of Health and Technology

MIHT provides a great prospect for employment and career development. Upon program completion, graduates take advantage of our career placement program to secure employment in the health and technology industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Technician

 
Vancouver Career College
Get the skills you need to land the job you want at Vancouver Career College. We offer diploma programs in Business, Health Care, Technology and more.
Programs Offered:
  • Pharmacy Assistant
  • Medical-Pharmacy Assistant

 
Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
Music
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2018 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.