How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Pharmacologist: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $93,730
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 8.2%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Pharmacologists use animal or human test subjects to research, analyze, develop and test drugs to cure, treat and prevent illness and disease.  They also test gasses, dust and food coloring to determine their harmful effects.

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What is a Pharmacologist?

The following responsibilities are common for Pharmacologists:

  • Designs, manages and carries out research and experiments
  • Tests drugs through clinical trials on animals and humans
  • Makes recommendations based on findings of experiments and research
  • Writes data reports and research papers
  • Collaborates and shares research findings and data with other scientists

A Day In The Life

Pharmacologists study and investigate the effects of pharmaceuticals on living things.  They are responsible for examining and identifying the effects of new and modified medications and recording the reactions to those medicines in the living specimens.  They conduct this research to make sure medications are safe and free from any side-effects.

They work in laboratories or research libraries along side other scientists and researchers and they carry out complex experiments, test specimens, and analyze scientific data.  Then they will write detailed reports and research papers on their findings and present their finding to the scientific community.

Typical Work Schedule

Pharmacologists are usually required to work full-time following the regular working schedule of 40 hours per week. However, you should be ready to work for additional hours based on the needs. For example, if you work for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you may have to evaluate the data provided by pharmaceutical companies regarding clinical trials prior to releasing new drugs. Some will work for the pharmaceutical company itself to develop a new drug, analyze data or conduct the clinical trials. Sometimes you may have to appear as expert witnesses during lawsuits to testify regarding possible side effects of a drug, how a certain drug works or the actions of illegal drugs. Different tasks may require additional hours to perform, but in most cases the regular working hours should be enough to adequately perform, so overtime is quite rare for pharmacologists.

Projected Job Growth

According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the employment of various medical scientists including pharmacologists is expected to increase by 6% from 2019 to 2029, which is somehow faster than the average for all other occupations. As the population ages, more chronic conditions will arise, and better pharmaceuticals will be crucial to their treatments which will increase demand for pharmacologists. In addition, working in modern medical research for various purposes like those related to treating diseases such as AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, will increase the demand for them as well. Other factors to this increase demand will be the research into treatment problems, such as resistance to antibiotics as well as the population density and the frequency of international travel which will cause new diseases and the spread of them. Additionally, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to further increase the demand for pharmacologists due to their vital role in searching for drugs and vacancies.

Typical Employers

Pharmacologists have different employers which include working in the research and development departments in different life sciences and medical corporations. In addition, working for colleges and universities in the research departments is also an option. The highest paying positions may be in working with different pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing corporations whose results are becoming more and more crucial in recent years.

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How To Become a Pharmacologist

To become a pharmacologist one will need to begin with an undergraduate degree in a related field like biology, chemistry, physics, etc.  Entry into these positions can be very competitive, so a post-graduate pharmacology degree is extremely encouraged.

Pharmacologist Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Pharmacologist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Pharmacologist's can make an average annual salary of $93,730, or $45 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $57,640 or $28 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #82 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Pharmacologist. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Pharmacologists

  • 61.7%   Doctorate
  • 28.9%   Masters
  • 7.5%   Bachelors
  • 0.5%   Associates
  • 0.9%   College
  • 0.3%   High School
  • 0.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Pharmacologist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 8,900 jobs for a total of 116,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #268 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Pharmacologists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences 37,100 2,500 3%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 19,400 800 1%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 10,700 800 1%

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