Are you engrossed in watching toxicologists do their job on the TV series Crime Scene Investigation or CSI? Do you enjoy solving analytic and mathematical problems when you were young? This might be a sign that you are up for a career in toxicology, an area you just might be good at.
According to the Society of Toxicology (SOT), “Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical, or biological agents on living organisms and the ecosystem, including the prevention and amelioration of such adverse effects.” This may seem a very complicated definition. But for people like you who have the passion, it is music to your ears. So how do you become a toxicologist?
Excellence in basic education
A lot of students may hate math and science. But to become a toxicologist, you must love these two subjects on your high school years. Excellence in these two areas of education is a good preparation prior to getting a college course related to toxicology. If you know that this is your passion right from the start, engage yourself in highly related projects and activities in biology or chemistry to help you widen your knowledge. Grab opportunities to further assess yourself for your future career.
Get a bachelor’s degree
Apparently, to become a toxicologist, you must earn at least a bachelor’s degree. There are a lot of colleges that offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Toxicology. Furthermore, if your school of choice does not offer a degree major in toxicology, the SOT suggests attaining a degree in biology or chemistry. This would take at least 4 years to complete in total before proceeding to your next step to rank up in this kind of career.
Specialize in toxicology
As a toxicologist, you can choose your areas of expertise such as forensic toxicology, environmental toxicology and aquatic toxicology. Forensic toxicology is more on dealing with crime solving. Environmental toxicology deals with natural pollutants and its effects on organisms. Aquatic toxicology deals with pollutants underwater. These are just some of the areas you can choose to specialize in.
The University of Michigan is one of the leading research institutions that offer graduate training in toxicology. It has also the oldest pre-doctoral training program in the USA. Completing your master’s degree may take up to 2 years or more depending on the area of expertise you want to study.
Get continuing education
There is always a room for learning even if you have completed your postgraduate education. Joining in active organizations on toxicology such as the SOT, will greatly help you enhance your knowledge and skills in performing a worthwhile career. Also, an exchange of communication from local and international toxicologists will be a great tool for you to take a step forward for bigger institutions. Attending annual seminars and symposiums on the latest trends and development is also essential to keep you updated.
Getting that dream of being a toxicologist is not easy but it is not impossible too. Just be on track with the guidelines listed above and you’ll surely get to where you are in no time.