Are you interested in medical science and have good research and analysis skills? If yes, a career as a Medical Scientist could be for you.
Medical Scientists use clinical trials and other investigative methods to improve human health through research, testing and analyzing information.
You usually need a bachelor's degree in medical, laboratory, or biomedical science to work as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Australia. Most workers also have a postgraduate qualification.
This blog is the best place to understand the steps required to achieve this career. Learn how to become a medical scientist, including the right skills and qualifications, career pathways, specialization options, national average salary, and much more.
1. What Are Medical Scientists?
Medical scientists (also known as Medical Laboratory Scientists) work to understand human anatomical processes, ailments, and related biological research. They perform lab tests to provide vital information for the diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention.
Medical scientists apply knowledge of various scientific disciplines, including chemistry, biology, and physics, to help doctors diagnose, treat and prevent human diseases.
They may specialize in immunology, transfusion science, haematology, clinical biochemistry, histopathology, cytology, microbiology, molecular genetics, or virology.
Most Medical scientists in Australia work in public hospitals, while a few work in private laboratories.
2. What Does A Medical Scientist Do?
Here is a list of general day-to-day responsibilities of a medical scientist
Design and conduct studies on common human ailments and determine methods to treat and prevent them
Evaluate, and prepare body tissue and fluid samples for microscopic examination and diagnose abnormalities.
Analyze the samples to study the impact of microbial infections.
Study and test blood and recognize blood diseases such as anaemia and leukaemia
Examine the cause, progress, transmission mode of diseases/ parasites, treatment of pathogens, toxicity, or severe illnesses.
Assess the impact of drugs, gases, parasites, pesticides, and microorganisms at various levels.
Interpret clinical trial data and tests and advise medical practitioners on diagnosing and treating specific diseases.
Standardise drug potency and dosage for mass manufacturing and distribution
Operate and maintain lab equipment and follow safety procedures and quality assurance.
Perform health risk assessments of medical devices.
Set up the steps and rules to perform laboratory medical testing.
Prepare scientific papers and reports.
Deliver clinical and scientific presentations to medical professionals at scientific conferences and other events.
Collaborate with professionals in clinical medical research, medical communication, and marketing.
Oversee the work of other scientists, assistants, and technical officers.
3. What Are The Medical Scientist's Requirements In Australia?
You need the following skills to become a successful medical scientist in Australia:
An interest in science and medicine
Good oral and written communication skills to write detailed scientific papers and speak about your medical research at public health and scientific conferences
Excellent attention to detail to make clear, logical, and accurate observations
Able to work under pressure
Able to work precisely with attention to detail
Able to organize and prioritize work
Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
Time management skills
Fluency in technology
Able to work both independently and as part of a team.
4. What Qualifications Do Medical Scientists Need?
Follow the below steps to qualify to work in this career:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in one or more prerequisite subjects such as senior English, mathematical methods, and science (especially biology and chemistry).
Study laboratory science, medical or biomedical science at a university, such as Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Bachelor of Medical Science, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Biomedical Science. To register with an industry body, you must complete an accredited Australian Institute of Medical and Clinical Scientists (AIMS) degree.
Gain experience by performing basic laboratory procedures in haematology, genomics, or biochemistry.
Join the AIMS and benefit from professional development and networking opportunities. Gaining professional membership is also helpful in becoming a Certified Medical Laboratory Practitioner.
5. Steps To Become A Medical Scientist In Australia
Medical scientists should have an exceptional education background, usually certified as an MD. However, some employers even seek employees with a doctorate in related disciplines.
Here is the process of how to become a medical scientist:
Step 1: Earn A Relevant Qualification
The first step in your learning journey is to earn a three to four years Bachelor's in Medical Science/ Medical Laboratory Science/Laboratory Medicine/ Biomedical Science at a university.
While studying for this qualification, students develop theoretical knowledge of the following medical science disciplines:
They also gain practical experience through internships and onsite teaching laboratories at state laboratories.
Step 2: Consider Advancing Your Knowledge
Final-year students can further their learning in the below nine medical science disciplines. The advanced knowledge you develop will boost their resume and job prospects in the role.
Genetics and molecular pathology
Step 3: Gain Professional Membership
Graduates should consider joining The Australian Institute of Medical and Clinical Scientists, an independent body representing medical science professionals in Australia. Through lectures and scientific publications, AIMS provides continued education that supports the career advancement of medical scientists.
If you graduate with an AIMS-accredited degree, you will get automatically admitted as a Graduate Member of the organization. After two years of postgraduate professional experience in a medical laboratory, you can apply for official membership.
Medical science graduates can also consider joining AusBiotech, the largest biotechnology network in Australia. The membership allows you to become part of the network of life science professionals, stay up-to-date on the latest trends and issues, and contribute to the thriving life science industry.
Step 4: Start Working
Once you earn a university qualification and professional membership, the last step is to apply for jobs on online job portals like Indeed to gain employment as a medical scientist.
6. Working Conditions For A Medical Scientist
Medical Scientists work alongside doctors, scientists, technicians, pathologists, and laboratory assistants in the healthcare field.
They usually work in a laboratory setting and academic offices during standard business hours, although sometimes they may require working irregularly.
Most medical scientists work full-time. However, part-time and flexible work opportunities are also available.
7. Employment Opportunities For A Medical Scientist
The profession of Medical Scientists has a relatively stable employment base. Factors that affect employment include the type and number of tests needed to research, identify and treat ailments and the occurrence of new diseases.
Most medical scientists in Australia work in the health industry, particularly in public and private hospital laboratories and academic offices.
Work opportunities are available in:
Private medical practices
Pharmaceutical and biomedical companies
State health offices
Private pathology providers
Food and cosmetic industries
Forensic science laboratories
State health laboratories
8. Available Specialization For Medical Scientists
To pursue senior roles, a Medical Scientist may study further to specialize in various areas, such as:
Transfusion and transplantation science
9. Medical Scientist Jobs In Australia
If you are interested in the job profile of medical laboratory science, you may consider the following similar positions:
Laboratory Assistant: (National average salary: $54,536 per year)
Microbiologist: (National average salary: $69,454 per year)
Medical Technician: (National average salary: $111,165 per year)
Laboratory Chemists: (National average salary: $74,280 per year
10. Job Outlook For Medical Laboratory Scientists (ANZSCO ID 2346)
There is strong growth in future job opportunities in the coming years. The government projects that workers will grow from 26,900 in 2021 to 28,400 in 2026.
About 71% of Medical Laboratory Scientists work full-time hours for an average of 42 hours per week in their primary job. It is comparable to the average of all other positions, i.e., 44 hours per week.
Major Industries For Employment
Health Care And Social Assistance - 45.6%
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services - 25.6%
Education and training - 21.7%
Manufacturing - 4.3%
Other Industries - 3.2%
Employment Across Australia
Victoria has the maximum employment share concerning its population. Here is the percentage of employment in different states of Australia:
NSW - 29.0%
VIC - 31.7%
QLD - 17.6%
SA - 8.0%
WA - 10.0%
TAS - 1.6%
NT - 0.6%
ACT - 1.6%
Worker's Age and Gender Profile
The average age of Medical Laboratory Scientists is 39 years, with most workers between the age group of 25 to 34 years.
Females constitute 71% of the workforce which is 23 percentage points more than the all-jobs average of 48%.
11. How Much Does A Medical Scientist Make In Australia?
The average medical scientist's salary in Australia is AU$73,129 per year. Generally, their salary increases based on their education level, experience, work location, and employer.
Average Hourly Compensation Based on Experience:
Entry-level Medical Scientists (<1-year experience) - AU$26.53
Early career Medical Scientists (1-4 years of experience) - AU$29.11
Mid-career Medical Scientists (5-9 years of experience) - AU$34.10
Experienced Medical Scientists (10-19 years of experience) - AU$39.11
In their later careers (20 years and above), employees earn an average compensation of AU$44.
Highest paying cities for Medical Scientists in Australia:
Melbourne, Victoria - AU$30.13 per hour
Sydney, New South Wales - AU$25.83 per hour
Perth, Western Australia: AU$33.18 per hour
Adelaide, South Australia: AU$33.47
12. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Scientist in Australia?
It usually takes three to four years to complete a university-level medical science-related qualification. However, you can start right after graduation as on-the-job experience is optional to work in an entry role.
Which Degree Is Best For Medical Scientist?
You need to complete a university-level Bachelor's degree in laboratory science, medical science, or biomedical science to pursue a career as a medical scientist.
Below are the popular medical scientist course options for Medical Scientist aspirants:
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science - The University of Southern Queensland
Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Laboratory Medicine) - RMIT University
Bachelor Of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours) - CQU University
Is Medical Scientist a Good Career in Australia?
Yes. A career in medical science has strong future job prospects. According to Labour Market Insights, the number of people working as medical laboratory scientists grew very strong between 2014 and 2019: from 16,200 to 24,100.
The occupations will grow fast from 26,900 in 2021 to 28,400 positions in 2026.
Is It Worth It To Become a Medical Scientist?
Medical Scientists play a vital role help in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases.
The profession allows you to improve human health using clinical trials. Moreover, there is ample scope for specialization and career advancement options in areas like haematology, microbiology, and immunology.
If you are keen to pursue a results-oriented career in science with strong future growth, then a medical scientist could be the right career choice.
What Are The Career Pathways For Medical Scientists?
A degree in medical science prepares you for a range of career opportunities, including:
Medical laboratory science
Patents and intellectual property
Market research and product development
Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries
Health administration in the public or private sectors
Are Medical Scientists in Demand in Australia?
Yes. Several growth factors are responsible for the rising demand for medical scientists.
A larger and aging population, increased dependency on pharmaceuticals, better capacity to spend on medicine, and a greater understanding of biological processes all contribute to the greater need for medical scientists in Australia.
Considering the above, the government expects the employment of medical scientists to grow as fast as the average for all occupations.
How Can Overseas Medical Scientists Work in Australia?
Overseas Medical Scientists who wish to immigrate to Australia must complete the following skill assessment process:
AIMS is the regularity body that evaluates the skills and qualifications of overseas workers to determine whether they are suitable to work as Medical Scientists/Medical Laboratory Technical officers in Australia.
The minimum eligibility criteria for immigration of overseas Medical Scientists applicants are:
1.) Hold a professional medical laboratory science degree or a non-directed science degree comparable to an Australian Bachelor's degree or an Australian Diploma that fulfils the minimum requirements for membership.
The qualification should be based on the NOOSR educational assessment guidelines in the Country Education Profiles.
2.) The minimum prerequisite subjects for a Medical Science program include:
Anatomy & Physiology
Chemistry & Biochemistry
The professional subjects are as follows:
3.) You must complete an award in medical laboratory science evaluated as comparable to an Australian Associate Diploma from a Technical and Further Education college, depending on the NOOSR educational assessment guidelines in the Country Education Profiles.
4.) A course Transcript, with grades, as required.
5.) Medical Scientists must have at least two years of medical laboratory experience within five years before applying for assessment. They must provide proof of their employment history.
Medical Scientists are significant to any healthcare organization. Their extensive knowledge and impeccable research skills help save countless lives from various diseases.
If you dream of solving significant scientific challenges, follow the above steps and start your journey in this noble profession.
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