Finding a job that you love is important, since your career will influence everything from your financial stability to your happiness and beyond. Entering the public health field is an option that has a lot of reward, but it can be difficult to decide on a career path. For some, becoming a bioterrorism researcher is an option that may be worth considering. These professionals work to help understand bioterrorism, identify risk areas, and much more. They can have a direct impact on the overall health and future of the public.
It’s a job that can take time to reach, however, and learning more about the career will help you determine if it is right for you or not. Keep reading to learn more about what it has to offer you and what it involves.
What Is a Bioterrorism Researcher?
A bioterrorism researcher is someone who is trained in chemistry, biology, and other scientific fields and who uses their skills to conduct research into bioterrorism and its various sub-fields of study. They will look at a variety of areas within the subject of bioterrorism with the ultimate goal of identify risk areas and working to improve the safety of the public. Potential job duties will vary greatly, but will likely include the following.
- Gather data and analyze it to uncover risk areas within the public concerning bioterrorism
- Identify ways to enhance and improve public safety
- Collect samples of potential bioterrorism agents and review them in a lab setting
- Work with policy makers to help set up guidelines to reduce the risk of bioterrorist attacks
- Develop strategies for the adequate response of a community in the event of a bioterrorist attack
- Attend seminars focused on the subject
- Help develop better detection procedures to safeguard against potential terrorist activities
In short, these professionals apply their scientific minds towards preventing, detecting, and identifying disease and injury caused by different bioterrorism agents. They’ll work with current bioterrorism agents as well as focus on uncovering potential new ones to stay ahead of any potential problems or risks that may arise.
Training and education are important, and will have a big impact on your ability to do your job properly. However, having strength in some personal traits will help you as well. The following characteristics will help you immensely with the job duties.
- Critical Thinking – Being able to look at data and information and use it to make informed decisions will be instrumental in the job. Good critical thinking is a must.
- Communication – You’ll need to discuss scenarios with others and present your options to them. As such, it’s important to have strong communication skills.
- Confidence – Your self-confidence will be important since your decisions will impact a lot of different things. Faith in yourself is vital.
- Eye for Details – In this field, small things can matter tremendously. Having a keen eye for details will help you thrive in the position.
Nature of the Work
Most of the work will be conducted in lab or office settings, where data will be reviewed and analyzed and new policies or procedures developed. Meetings with officials, colleagues, and policy makers will be common as well. Travel could be a part of the job also, and it’s not uncommon to visit different areas in order to gain a better understanding of the field.
Jobs are usually found in the public sector, and most bioterrorism researchers will work for the government in one capacity or another.
Education and Training
In order to enter the field and become a bioterrorism researcher, an advanced degree will usually be required. In most cases, a PhD is the best option since it focuses on training you with the skills needed to handle advanced research. However, some positions may require only possession of a master’s degree. You’ll need to focus on subjects including medicinal chemistry, biology, microbiology, epidemiology, and more in order to have a solid understanding of all aspects of the field.
Those who enter the role of a bioterrorism research will earn a salary well above the national average, with roughly $75,000 per year as the average for the field. However, pay could be much higher or lower depending on your employer, your specific area of study, your experience and training, and other factors. As such, a solid estimate of salary potential is difficult to make.