Protecting the health of humanity is a vital role, and there are jobs within the health field that allow you to earn excellent pay, enjoy great benefits, and have a direct impact on the present and future health of our species. In particular, becoming a vaccine researcher stands out as an excellent opportunity to enter a unique health care role and help secure your own financial and personal future while helping the world’s population at the same time.
A vaccine researcher has a unique, interesting, and challenging role in the health community and it isn’t a job that is for everyone. Learning more about it will help you determine whether or not it’s the right call for you. To find out more, continue reading.
What Is a Vaccine Researcher?
A vaccine researcher carries out job duties just like their title would suggest. They specialize in studying and developing vaccines, monitoring and modifying existing vaccines, and studying the overall safety of vaccines in general.
The specific roles of a vaccine researcher will vary greatly, but could include the following:
- Research existing vaccines in a lab setting and working to improve them
- Study data and reports to understand potential outbreak risks
- Develop programs and initiatives that will deliver vaccines to areas that are in need of them
- Develop new vaccinations to combat a variety of different diseases
- Study safety and side effects of different vaccinations
- Write journal articles related to their studies in the vaccine field
- Assist in creation of medical textbooks
- Serve as a consultant to policy makers and health officials who are working on vaccine or disease related issues
- Speak and present data and results at health conferences around the world
In short, the vaccine researcher studies how the body’s immune system works, how it can prevent disease, and what type of developments in medicine could help lead to the prevention of disease.
Education requirements for those entering this field are very involved, and will influence one’s overall ability to perform required duties in a big way. But some personal characteristics will have a big impact on your performance on the job as well. Here are some basic skillsets and characteristics that will help you in the job.
- Natural Curiosity – A big part of the job is discovery, and as such those entering the field should have an innate desire to learn and discover new solutions. Natural curiosity is a must.
- Good Math Skills – Gathering and analyzing data is a major part of the job as well, and strong math skills will be needed in the position.
- Good Communication Skills – Presenting data, conveying information, and discussing research and possibilities with colleagues and others will be done on a regular basis as well. Strong communication is vital for success in the field.
Nature of the Work
An average day in the life of a vaccine researcher will depend largely upon their specific position and employer. They may spend a huge amount of time in a lab handling research or even development of a vaccine, running tests and more. Outside the lab, they may gather data related to a specific disease, oversee studies concerning vaccines and their safety, and prepare detailed reports of their findings. The vaccine researcher may also lecture, deliver presentations to policy makers and colleagues, and much more.
Employment opportunities are found in a variety of places, and vaccine researchers will often find work in universities, research centers, hospitals, and in government facilities.
Education and Training
Becoming a vaccine researcher involves a solid foundation of education. It begins with an undergrad degree in a related field – biochemistry, microbiology, chemistry, or cellular biology, for example. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree, the next step will be to complete either a Masters or Doctorate degree in the appropriate field. In many instances additional training may be completed in a clinical, on the job setting, but several years of education will be required in order to enter the field.
Average salaries according to the BLS are between $73,000 and $100,000 depending on position and role in the field – those in research labs working for the federal government will earn more than those in a university position, for example. The demand for those qualified to enter this field will grow quickly over the coming years, and as such it’s a job with a bright future.