The Society of Toxicology has more than 8,000 members. Toxicologists work for various consumer products, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies; large universities or medical schools; and government agencies. An increasing number work for consulting firms, providing professional recommendations to agencies, industries, and attorneys about issues involving toxic chemicals. Nonprofit research foundations employ a small number of toxicologists.
Those with the necessary education and experience should contact the appropriate research departments in hospitals, colleges and universities, government agencies, or private businesses. Often, school professors and career services advisers provide job leads and recommendations.
Networking with professionals is another useful way to enter the field. Past work with a team of toxicologists during graduate study may open doors to future research opportunities. Membership in a professional society can also offer more networking contacts. In addition, the Society of Toxicology and the American College of Medical Toxicology both offer career development assistance to members.
Skilled toxicologists find many advancement opportunities, although specific promotions depend on the size and type of organization where the toxicologist is employed. Those employed at private companies may become heads of research departments. Highly skilled and respected toxicologists may become vice presidents or presidents of companies because of their involvement in developing important company policy. This type of promotion entails a change in job responsibilities, involving more administrative tasks than research activities.
Toxicologists working for educational institutions may become professors, heads of a department, or deans. Toxicologists who want to continue to research and teach can advance to positions with higher pay and increased job responsibilities. Toxicologists working at universities usually write grant proposals, teach courses, and train graduate students. University positions often do not pay as well as industrial positions, but they offer more independence in pursuing research interests.
Tips for Entry
Read Toxicological Sciences (https://academic.oup.com/toxsci) and Communiqué blog (https://toxchange.toxicology.org/blogs/communique-blog) and the Journal of Medical Toxicology (https://www.acmt.net/cgi/page.cgi/journals.html) to learn more about the field.
Visit https://www.toxicology.org/careers/toxicologist/becomeTox.asp for information on becoming a toxicologist.
Join the Society of Toxicology (SOT) to participate in Mentor Match (https://toxchange.toxicology.org/mentoring/mentor-faq), the society’s online mentoring program.
Attend the SOT’s Annual Meeting & Expo (https://www.toxicology.org/events/am/AM2021/index.asp) to network and participate in continuing education classes and workshops.