Job Description


Physician-scientists carry out laboratory research in addition to any other career paths they choose to pursue, including translational and clinical research, academic teaching, or treatment of patients.

This job is open to allopathic and osteopathic professionals and to both physicians and dentists.

They may work at private or group practices, academic research centers, or serve as researchers at private or public facilities related to health and medicine, such as government health departments or private pharmaceutical companies.




There are many duties and responsibilities for a physician-scientist. Along with clinical duties, they must research and engage in different facets of academia to progress medical science.

A physician-scientist has two aspects to their career. They must do all the things a doctor does, which is a long list in of itself, and carry out duties of a scientist.

Their responsibilities range from:

  • Diagnosing illness

  • Treating diseases

  • Prescribing medicine

  • Observing patients

  • Specializing in an area of focus

When they switch over to their scientist duties they are responsible for complex research and lab work.

They must be able to observe and predict outcomes of experiments and use their knowledge and reason to decide in which direction they want to take their focus and how to advance medicine.

Some duties are:

  • Maintain laboratories

  • Research

  • Design experiments

  • Carry out experiments

  • Supervise staff

 If they teach, they have all the duties of a professor. They can be responsible for publishing studies, maintaining classrooms, administering tests, developing coursework, and all the other duties of a professor of academia.

A physician-scientist can basically take on three different jobs all umbrella'd under the practice of medicine. 




To be a physician-scientist you need to have a laundry list of skills. You will be splitting your time between clinical and lab duties, so it's important you posses the fire it takes to juggle so many tasks.

Some of the skills are, but not limited to, the following:


Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Commitment to Continuing Education

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.


Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Commitment to Advancing Science and Medicine

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 


Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.


Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 


Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.


Working Conditions


Physician-Scientists enjoy many options when it comes to career choices; they can either work entirely as researchers or they can combine research and teaching, or work as a doctor and treat patients.

They frequently serve as faculty members at research centers and medical schools. With both clinical and research skills, they can also secure positions in biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies, or in government laboratories and health organizations.



Salary Outlook