In Summary - Toxicologist
Toxicologists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Toxicologist
Toxicologists study the harm chemicals may cause to people, animals and plants. They find ways to avoid or reduce chemical damage to the environment.
Toxicology covers two main areas. One deals with the effects that toxic materials have on humans, and the other with their impact on the environment.
Toxicologists experiment on tissue and cell cultures, animals and human volunteers, to find out if a chemical product is harmful. In
Occupational and industrial toxicologists make sure working conditions are safe and give advice to people who handle chemicals.
Other toxicologists work in hospitals, treating patients who have drug poisoning. They find out the type and amount of drug taken in an overdose.
Toxicologists might look at air pollution caused by the burning of waste, or research the problems some pesticides cause for wildlife.
One area of investigation is the effect chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have on the Earth's stratospheric ozone layer.
Some toxicologists specialise in
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Plan and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease.
- Conduct research to develop methodologies, instrumentation, and procedures for medical application, analyzing data and presenting findings to the scientific audience and general public.
- Study animal and human health and physiological processes.
- Follow strict safety procedures when handling toxic materials to avoid contamination.
- Write and publish articles in scientific journals.
- Evaluate effects of drugs, gases, pesticides, parasites, and microorganisms at various levels.
- Use equipment such as atomic absorption spectrometers, electron microscopes, flow cytometers, and chromatography systems.
- Prepare and analyze organ, tissue, and cell samples to identify toxicity, bacteria, or microorganisms or to study cell structure.
- Standardize drug dosages, methods of immunization, and procedures for manufacture of drugs and medicinal compounds.
- Investigate cause, progress, life cycle, or mode of transmission of diseases or parasites.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Interests - Toxicologist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
You will need to be accurate, methodical and able to solve problems. You must be aware of the ethical debate on using animals in scientific research, and be prepared for criticism and protest from members of the public and animal rights groups.
Because toxicologists often handle poisonous materials, you will need to know and follow safety procedures.
Computer skills are essential and keeping up-to-date with technology is important. You must be able to write reports of your findings and be able to work with other scientists. Knowledge of environmental issues may be an advantage.
Entry Requirements - Toxicologist
Pay & Salary - Toxicologist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 50k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.