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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Scientists in Huntsville, Alabama

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for medical scientists in the Huntsville, Alabama area. The national trend for medical scientists sees this job pool growing by about 40.4% over the next eight years. In general, medical scientists conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health.

Medical scientists earn about $21 per hour or $44,950 annually on average in Alabama and about $34 per hour or $72,590 per year on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as medical scientists in Alabama earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. People working as medical scientists can fill a number of jobs, such as: parasitologist, medical physicist, and investigator.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Huntsville where you can study to be a medical scientist, among eleven schools of higher education total in the Huntsville area. Given that the most common education level for medical scientists is a Doctoral degree, you can expect to spend four or five years studying to be a medical scientist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or eight to ten years if you have a high school diploma.


Medical Scientist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, medical scientists conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. They also engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.

Medical scientists formulate and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease. Finally, medical scientists conduct research to evolve methodologies, instrumentation and processes for medical application, analyzing data and presenting findings.

Every day, medical scientists are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for medical scientists to evaluate effects of drugs and microorganisms at various levels. They are often called upon to follow strict safety procedures when handling toxic materials to avoid contamination. They also teach principles of medicine and medical and laboratory procedures to physicians and technicians. They are sometimes expected to confer with and advise physicians, educators and others regarding medical applications of physics and chemistry. Somewhat less frequently, medical scientists are also expected to ready and analyze organ, tissue, and cell samples to pinpoint toxicity or microorganisms or to study cell structure.

Medical scientists sometimes are asked to investigate cause or mode of transmission of diseases or parasites. They also have to be able to use equipment such as atomic absorption spectrometers and chromatography systems And finally, they sometimes have to talk with health departments and others to evolve health safety standards and public health improvement programs.

Like many other jobs, medical scientists must have exceptional integrity and be persistant in the face of problems and impediments.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Huntsville include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.


Oakwood University - Huntsville, AL

Oakwood University, 7000 Adventist Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35896. Oakwood University is a small university located in Huntsville, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,850 students and an admission rate of 57%. Oakwood University has 2 areas of study related to Medical Scientist. They are:

  • Biomedical Sciences, bachelor's degree which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Biochemistry, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.


Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama photo by Anivron

Huntsville is located in Madison County, Alabama. It has a population of over 176,645, which has grown by 11.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Huntsville, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Huntsville are valued at $44,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,004 new homes were constructed in Huntsville, down from 1,558 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Huntsville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 36.1% of Huntsville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Huntsville is 7.6%, which is less than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Huntsville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.2%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Whitesburg Church of God, Whitesburg Church and Maple Grove Church are among the churches located in Huntsville. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Huntsville is home to the Valley Hill Golf and Country Club and the Lowe Industrial Park as well as John H Steigerwood Field and Milton Frank Stadium. Shopping malls in the area include Madison Plaza Shopping Center, Madison Square Mall Shopping Center and Memorial Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Huntsville can choose from King's Inn, Candlewood Suites and Economy Inn for temporary stays in the area.