Your Guide to Becoming a Toxicologist


A toxicologist studies the effects that toxins have on humans, plants, animals, and various other living organisms. Toxicologists must complete medical training as a scientist and their work involves conducting laboratory and field work to determine the existence of toxins and discover effective methods of preventing them from spreading within the environment. If you’re interested in a career in toxicology, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Getting an Education

Since most toxicology positions will require an advanced college degree and extensive training, preparing for your chosen career will require a lot of education. If you are in high school currently, then you can begin laying the foundation now by taking as many science courses as you can such as biology, chemistry, and physics. It’s also a good idea to take part in extra-curricular science activities to build your skills and knowledge, such as Science Olympiad, science fairs, or even finding part-time or voluntary work in a lab for valuable work experience. Once you graduate high school, you’ll need to choose a science-based college degree. Since most colleges don’t offer bachelor’s degrees in toxicology, you should choose a related major such as pharmacy, biology, physics or chemistry. Bear in mind that most toxicologists hold a masters’ degree or PhD, so it’s good to start looking for graduate programs as early as possible if you are serious about this career choice.

Internships and Work Experience

Whilst studying for your college degree, it’s important to seek out any opportunities to expand your knowledge of toxicology, improve your graduate resume and network with influential people in this field. Some of the best methods of doing this include completing an internship alongside your college degree, working with your professor in developing an extensive research project, or gaining part-time work experience collaborating with others in a laboratory setting.

Looking for a Job

Whilst you will certainly be able to get a science related job with just a bachelor’s degree, bear in mind that it’s highly unlikely you will be able to practice as a toxicologist without first achieving an advanced degree in this field. Once you have gained the right combination of education, skills, and experience you will be in the best position to find full-time permanent work as a toxicologist. There are various settings in which you may consider finding work, such as in academia, working for government agencies working on topics such as public health, forensics, and the environment, or working in medicine to study the effects of toxins on humans. A large number of toxicologists are also hired in the private sector, in positions such as quality control or education on the effects and risks of toxic materials. You can discover more about what to expect from your salary as a toxicologist at
Toxicologists are science experts who are needed in various industries with a growing demand. If you have a strong interest in science, this could be the ideal career path for you to pursue, with excellent job prospects and earning potential.

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