Toxicology is another interesting area of science. It uses science to predict what chemicals and how chemicals can cause harm and make that information available to the public for the good of public health.
It is quite a detailed area but it is very interesting. If you think this is the area for you then keep reading because you might just fit the bill to further develop your career in an area like this.
What is toxicology?
To put it quite simply, toxicology is the area of science that focuses on nature, effects and detection of chemical substances. It is an area that overlaps with biology, chemistry, pharmacology and medicine. It is also the practice of diagnosing and treating exposures to toxins in the body.
What does a toxicologist do?
Toxicologists will mostly work regular hours such as 9-5, Monday to Friday. In cases where you may be carrying out experiments, you may be expected to be flexible with your working hours. There is also the possibility of working on call and unsocial hours in some cases. You can also work as a toxicologist in a few different fields. General duties carried out may include:
- Design and carry out experiments
- Record and interpret data, results and conclusions from these experiments
- Carry out study and research in different fields
- Study literature
- Write reports and reviews
- Present findings to colleagues and other professionals
- Perform risk assessments to determine harmful effects
- Supervise staff
- Oversee work carried out in labs
- Present in court
There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Covid-19 and may offer courses online. There are courses available in this area across a number of colleges and are very similar. Courses include:
Forensic Science (Analysis/Toxicology)
Postgraduate courses in this will allow students the opportunity to gain a strong background in the theory of analytical and forensic techniques and learn to apply them to complex problems. Skills including good measurement, scientific practice and interpretation of data are all learned throughout the course. You will look at the role of a forensic scientist and recent trends in the area. You will also learn about the latest analytical devices used in the area.
Drug Discovery and Toxicology
Postgraduate courses in this area will see students gain an in-depth knowledge of the scientific basis of drug discovery with an emphasis on toxicology. These courses look at different aspects of new medicine research and development from identifying different targets through drug screening and different clinical trials. Modules in these courses may include molecular medicine, molecular cell biology and immunology and translational medical science. Specific content covered may differ from course to course.
Other courses available in this area include Toxicology, Analytical Sciences, Pharmacology Toxicology and Pharmacy and Drug Discovery and Development, to name a few.
Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1 in a relevant science subject.
Typical employers of toxicologists may include:
- The Environment Agency
- Forensic laboratories
- Water companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Chemical companies
There are a few different factors that could influence your salary including the company you’re working for and your experience in the field. It is believed the average salary of a toxicologist is around £34,484. Salaries can range from £20,000 up to £60,000. All figures are based on estimates and are intended to be used as a guide only.
Skills and requirements
Skills and requirements relevant in this area include:
- Strong communication skills
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Ability to work well with others
- Organisation skills
- Time management skills
- Attention to detail
- A logical thinker
- Excellent writing skills