Immunologists are research scientists or practicing specialists who study, analyze and/or treat disease processes that involve the immune system.
Immunologists particularly are interested in diseases that affect natural immunity. These include such diseases as allergies, sinus inflations, pneumonia and abscesses that occur repeatedly even with treatment.
Scientific Research: One of the most important aspects of immunology is research. Because many immunologists research and analyze the immune system, new findings and treatments can be discovered for persistent illnesses. Immunologists in this branch of immunology work in laboratories that enable them to study and test interactions of chemicals, cells and genes in the body to better understand what is necessary for an immune system to function properly.
Physicians and Pediatricians: This is the more commonly known branch of immunology. Pediatric immunologists, also known as pediatric allergists, find and treat problems associated with allergies and immune system malfunctions. Pediatric immunologists specialize in children ranging from infants to teenagers. They typically work in children’s hospitals, community hospitals, private offices and university medical centers.
College Teaching and Research: Many immunologists find their place teaching as opposed to practicing. While this branch of immunology still provides a strong participation in research, it requires a personality suited to instructing as well as guiding.
For all branches of immunology, a strong knowledge of the fields of biology, chemistry and mathematics is necessary. Jobs in immunology require an advanced degree — specifically a Ph.D. or an M.D. For medical laboratory technician or clinical laboratory technologist position in immunology, a B.S. in a scientific field is suitable. A Ph.D. is required to do one’s own research, while physicians and pediatricians are required to have an M.D. as well as at least three years of primary care residence training and two to three more years of specialty training and study in an immunology program, followed by certification.
Because there are different branches in the field of immunology, an average salary is difficult to determine. It is typical for immunologists’ salaries to range from $40,000 to more than $200,000 per year, depending on specialty, where they work and the area of the country in which they live. In most cases, immunologists working in hospitals and for private companies have higher salaries, especially those with an M.D. as opposed to a Ph.D. In general, immunologists working in the private sector or for hospitals have salaries of more than $100,000 per year.
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Information retrieved from About Bioscience: Immunologist.
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