career questions for Shugart or Bill

ok im about to venture on off to college and im majoring in premed. My brother is going to graduate next year and was planning on being a PA. The problem is that he doenst know if he wants to be a PA anymore and he wants to work for a supplement company and do research for them. That sounds like what I want to do too but I dont know where to start or how to help my brother. If Chris or Bill could help it would be great! thanx


If you want to do research for a phramaceutical, nutraceutical, or supplement company than a Ph.D. in any science field like physiology, microbiology, phramacology, or exercise physiology would be a great goal although a lot of schooling. Going to pharmacy school and getting a PharmD would be quicker and you could land a job doing research with that or pretty much have your pick of any job with a great salary anywhere working retail. If you went ahead and got an MD that would obviously be very practical and great in terms of landing a job and you could also go into research with those letters behind you name. Basically any advanced science degree and a healthcare degree such as a PharmD or MD would all be great to have if you want to land a job in R&D

thanx brad! That info is very useful!

Oh I forgot I need to find how much money someone like that would make. any ideas?

I have no idea. Sorry. Maybe Bill can help out.

Jobs in research in the supplement industry
are few, far between, and probably more a matter of luck than anything else. I had no ideas whatsoever of going into it, but happened to be asked to do so.

While I certainly have some objection to Pharm.D. education, it is a relatively fast track (only a year or two after the bachelor’s, with the program typically beginning after the sophomore undergraduate year) and enables a good income on graduation. A starting pay of $80,000/year is quite common. I would expect it though to lead to a job either in pharmacy or for a pharmaceutical company.

I’m assuming you mean a guy doing research correct? Man, that is kind of hard to say and depends on your degree as well. Depends on the size of the company, what your job title is, how long you’ve been working there, etc. I would say anywhere between 40,000 and above 100,000. I know a guy who got out of school with a PharmD and works for research with a drug company and makes around 55,000 which is very good considering he just got out of school. I also know a fellow with a PhD in microbiology who works for a major drug company and makes 175,000 but he is very high up and incredibly intelligent. He also has a DVM. I would say he is about as high as you can get from what I’ve seen with regards to research. Some guys go into more of the business side of it and that makes some dough but is not as enjoyable at least IMO. The great thing about any of those degrees mentioned are that you can get jobs in a lot of places such as universities (with PhD) for example. Any advanced science degree has a lot of value attached with it, but it also is hard to attain. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those degrees especially if that stuff is “down your alley” and not hell for you.

If you want to do real research as a career, you are going to have to get a Ph.D in some of the above listed fields. A Pharm.D. might limit you to primarily clinical research. The M.D. route is pretty tough but you can almost anything with it.

Just tell you brother that unless he really wants to pursue a career in research a Ph.D. is unnecessary. Academia is very very competitive and the pay is fairly poor.

Just some thoughts. Hope this helps!