Career Pathways for Biomedical Scientists in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Journey to Success
About this Booklet
The Institutional Challenge to Train and Maintain Biomedical Scientists
Links and Resources
Tara Sander
Avrum I Gotlieb

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Is A Biomedical Career In Pathology For Me?

You have to carefully consider whether you have the interest and motivation to fashion a career in biomedical science which will fit your own intellectual, biomedical, social, cultural, and research goals. The successful biomedical scientist is generally an individual who is intelligent, very highly motivated, hard working, efficient, and an excellent problem solver, who likes to be challenged by difficult problems.

Like any career, there are disadvantages and advantages to a biomedical career. The training to be a biomedical scientist can be long, challenging, and financially frustrating, but the outcome is rewarding and full of many opportunities. Often, numerous failures will precede the experiments that ultimately provide data that satisfies your curiosity and leads to a high impact well cited journal article. Thus instant gratification is not on the menu, but a high tolerance for frustration and failure are. In academic medicine, writing grants and obtaining funds for research can also be difficult and stressful when meeting deadlines. Once you accept and overcome these challenges, the rewards are numerous. You are at the forefront of your field and at the cutting edge of discovery. You create the literature and are a consultant with unique knowledge. You collaborate with other investigators and explore new avenues of research and advancing healthcare. You are invited to share your expertise and knowledge with colleagues at scientific meetings, and lecture at universities, and hospitals. In addition, a biomedical career may offer autonomy, flexibility for work-life balance, and many career opportunities.Tooltip trigger goes here.

You are in the dynamic world of academic medicine where inquiring minds are constantly searching for scientific truths. Your work has impact on clinical care, either directly or indirectly. You yourself have an interesting and comfortable lifestyle.

To make informed decisions about career choices, it is important to have exposure to successful biomedical scientists in your field of interest. A good way to do this is to spend time in the laboratory of a biomedical scientist and participate actively in a project course, a summer student program, or a work placement. Immerse yourself in the program so you get full value. If you work in a large laboratory, you may not spend a lot of time with the principle investigator. More junior biomedical scientists with smaller laboratories will have more time to mentor and may be able to offer a better first look at a biomedical scientist career. Discussing career choices with knowledgeable career counselors, current trainees, and junior and senior faculty is very helpful. Remember that this is your career and you must follow where your passion lies. Also, no choice is irrevocable. So, if you start down a particular career path and it is not working for you, reassess your choice and consider other options that are available. But remember to give yourself plenty of time to make an informed decision and do not give up too quickly. Embarking on a new adventure is both exciting and stressful. It will take time to adjust to your new environment, challenges, responsibilities, and colleagues.

Do not be concerned about expressing frustration and doubts. We all have them. Try to stay positive and solve issues as they arise, seeking mentorship and advice from senior colleagues and trusted friends whenever possible. Don't focus on the failures, but identify your strengths and use them to build upon your career as a biomedical scientist.