If you have strong analytical skills, enjoy practical work and have the ability to work alone then a career as a Biomedical Scientist could be for you.
A Biomedical Scientist designs and performs various scientific experiments. These experiments and analytical testing is conducted on biological samples. The results of which will help to diagnose and treat illnesses. Your rearch will also assist in evaluating the effectiveness of treatments. Biomedical Scientists could be required to record their finding by publishing papers in academic journals. There are generally four main areas of specialisation for Biomedical Scientists: genetics and molecular pathology, infection, blood and cellular sciences.
Most institutions will need you to have taken the following subjects in high school:
- Pure Mathematics
- Physical Sciences
- Life Sciences
The following institutions are highly recommended for studies in Biomedical Science:
- Stellenbosch University – no specific APS
- Cape Penninsula University of Technology – APS of 38
- University of Witwatersrand (Wits) – no APS for Health Sciences however you will need to meet other requirements
In order to qualify as a Biomedical Scientist, you will need to obatin a formal qualification. This qualification will come from the Health Sciences faculty – you will either study towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Sciences or a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Laboratory Sciences. A degree in biology is also an option. This type of qualification should take between 3 to 4 years to complete. In addition to your qualification, it is beneficial to have as much lab experience as possible.
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Biomedical Scientist:
- ability to work independently
- analytical skills
- basic, practical laboratory skills
- able to work under pressure
- attention to detail
Biomedical Scientists will mainly work in laboratories in public or private hospitals. However, you could also find yourself working in academia at universities or in vetenary services or potentially in forensic laboratories.
In general, Biomedical Scientists work the traditional office hours. However, you might need to work longer hours if an experiment requires it.
The amount a Biomedical Scientist earns is around R133 208 per year. This is the average salary of Biomedical Scientists in South Africa.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Biomedical Scientist:
- you will be working in a laboratory
- there is a code of ethics that comes with this profession which includes patient confidentiality
- as you further your studies, you will be expected to conduct your own research and report your findings
- you will need to be observant in order to identify abnormalities and diseases in your data analysis
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