Toxicologists are a type of forensic technicians who work to discover and analyze the way that chemicals and substances affect the human body, animals and the environment in general. Overall, the job outlook for a toxicologist is good and individuals looking to go into this field should enjoy relatively strong job security.
According to the Ashland University website, there are currently 9,000 toxicologists employed throughout the United States and Canada. The demand for individuals who are educated and working in this field far outweighs the number of candidates available to perform the job, so there is not a lot of competition among applicants in many areas. It is worth noting that half of the toxicologists employed in the United States hold PhDs, so in order to guarantee job security, this level of education is recommended. In general, the demand for toxicologists is expected to grow in coming years.
Since a toxicologist may work as either a biological or forensic technician, there are two sets of statistics that must be considered. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, toxicologists working in the biological field can expect to see a 14% increase in employment in the years between 2010 and 2020 which is as fast as average for all occupations. Those who work as forensic technicians can expect to see a 19% increase in employment between the same years, which is on the high end of average across all occupations.
Reasons for Growth
Job growth in the biological sector is expected to come from an increased demand for professionals in the field. Toxicologists play an important role in understanding how chemicals that are introduced into the body, whether from the environment, drug abuse or prescribed medications, can have an effect on the body’s various systems. Toxicologists working in the forensic sector can expect increases in employment due to the need for forensic information to be processed in a timelier manner and provided to court systems as well as law enforcement officials. This increase in employment is also driven by a growing US population.
Toxicologists in the medical field will likely find plenty of competition for jobs, and as the number of individuals who possess Bachelor’s degrees in biology and other sciences increases, this trend is expected to continue. Job candidates with Master’s degrees and some laboratory experience will likely find the best opportunities. Conversely, toxicologists in the forensics field are in high demand, but the number of applicants is expected to increase each year as general interest in forensic science continues to grow. Media and popular television shows have had a significant impact on the number of individuals who enter this field of study after high school and who ultimately choose this career path.
Individuals who are able to earn Master’s degrees or PhDs in biology and other sciences will enjoy the best job opportunities—and therefore the highest salaries—in the years between 2010 and 2020. Forensic and medical toxicologists certainly have exciting jobs, but the competition for available positions is always growing.