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12 Popular Careers in Neuroscience

February 25, 2020

Neuroscience is a multidisciplinary science that encompasses several concentrations and offers a number of job opportunities within its field. Common neuroscience careers include those in pharmacology, nursing and science as well as a number of other specialties within the neuroscience industry. In this article, we explain what neuroscience is as well as 12 common careers in the neuroscience industry.

What is neuroscience?

Neuroscience is a class of science that studies the nervous system and incorporates various other disciplines, such as psychology, medicine, chemistry and linguistics. This science is focused on all aspects of the nervous system, including how it functions on a cellular, behavioral, functional and molecular level. Neuroscience strives to understand how neural circuits and neurons work in relation to a person's behavior, memory, perception and various other daily and vital functions.

The following are a few of the many primary branches of neuroscience:

  • Behavioral neuroscience
  • Affective neuroscience
  • Neural engineering
  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Molecular neuroscience
  • Neuroimaging
  • Cultural neuroscience
  • Clinical neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology
  • Social neuroscience

There are several career options available in the field of neuroscience, with many careers varying widely across this concentration. Most individuals who work within the neuroscience field share three primary goals: to better understand how the human brain works, to better understand how the central nervous system develops and functions, and to better understand psychiatric and neurological disorders and learn how to prevent or manage them in relation to the nervous system.

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12 common careers in neuroscience

Careers in neuroscience can vary greatly depending on the neuroscience discipline and education level a person pursues. The following are 12 popular careers within the field of neuroscience:

National Average Salary: $38,003 per year

Primary Duties: Research assistants perform a variety of duties within a research setting that may include conducting experiments, collecting and interpreting data, creating presentations related to findings and regularly reviewing research-related resources to stay abreast of trends and developments within their field of study.

Average National Salary: $40,768 per year

Primary Duties: Lab technicians work within a laboratory setting to perform diagnostic testing and other technical work in relation to the science and medical fields. They may collect samples and perform tests on these samples, operate various lab machinery and record findings to be interpreted by professionals in the medical field.

Read more: Learn About Being a Lab Technician

Average National Salary: $41,018 per year

Primary Duties: The duties of a health educator include promoting and improving community health by educating community members on health behaviors. They may perform research related to the current health conditions of a community and work with other health professionals to design and implement health plans that will encourage healthier lifestyles.

National Average Salary: $82,797 per year

Primary Duties: These professionals are responsible for researching and making decisions related to the development of new medicine and the sales and marketing associated with advertising it. They may oversee the development process of new medical treatments, medications and equipment and run trials to test the effectiveness of these developments.

National Average Salary: $87,624 per year

Primary Duties: Research scientists design and analyze various information as it relates to the understanding and development of new science. They may carry out experiments, log findings and present their results to others within their industry. A neuroscience research scientist focuses primarily on experiments and research as it relates to the neuroscience field.

National Average Salary: $96,196 per year

Primary Duties: A clinical psychologist is focused on helping patients identify, cope with and manage emotional, behavioral and psychological disorders and issues. They may diagnose these conditions as well as design treatment plans for patients. Clinical psychologists may also conduct research related to the field of psychology and teach courses on various psychological subjects.

Read more: Learn About Being a Psychologist

National Average Salary: $99,282 per year

Primary Duties: Medical writers are responsible for researching, writing and editing copy that is related to various medical subjects. Medical writers often compose medical writing for those in the medical field, including healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical representatives. Medical writers specializing in the field of neuroscience may research and compose writing related to various neuroscience findings and clinical research.

National Average Salary: $105,068 per year

Primary Duties: Physician assistants are responsible for examining and diagnosing patients. They frequently work under medical doctors, but many states allow physician assistants to work on their own. A neuroscience physician assistant is primarily focused on the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions.

Read more: Learn About Being a Physician Assistant

National Average Salary: $126,273 per year

Primary Duties: A neurosurgeon is a medical doctor who diagnoses disorders related to the nervous system and performs surgery on body parts associated with the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

National Average Salary: $131,234 per year

Primary Duties: These professionals design, study and oversee the research of various statistical studies as they relate to the field of neuroscience. They then use the information uncovered in these studies to form clinical trials that test new drugs in hopes of improving the medical field.

National Average Salary: $200,504 per year

Primary Duties: Dentists are medical doctors who specialize in all areas of the mouth, including the gums and teeth. Dentists are responsible for diagnosing diseases and conditions related to the mouth as well as performing various medical procedures, such as oral surgery, diagnostic testing and sealant insertion. These doctors may also prescribe medications and create treatment plans to assist patients in improving and maintaining good oral health.

Read more: Learn About Being a Dentist

National Average Salary: $234,951 per year

Primary Duties: Neurologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders that impact a person's brain, nerves, muscles or spinal cord. Common duties of a neurologist include ordering and interpreting neurological tests, prescribing medication or treatment plans related to neurological disorders or conditions and working with other medical professionals to provide neurological insight for patient cases.