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Clinical Scientist vs. Biomedical Scientist: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A career in science can be both exciting and rewarding. Two common roles in this field are that of a clinical scientist and a biomedical scientist. Though these positions share some similarities, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a clinical scientist and a biomedical scientist, and we provide additional scientific professions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Clinical Scientist?

Clinical Scientists are healthcare professionals who use their scientific expertise to develop and oversee the implementation of new diagnostic and treatment methods in clinical settings. They work in hospitals, clinics and private practices to ensure that the latest medical advances are being properly utilized to improve patient care. Clinical Scientists typically have a medical degree or a PhD in a life science discipline such as biology, chemistry or physics. They use their scientific knowledge to develop new diagnostic tests, evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments and develop protocols for using new medical technologies.

What is a Biomedical Scientist?

Biomedical Scientists conduct research to develop new treatments and cures for diseases. They use their knowledge of biology and chemistry to develop new drugs, diagnostic tests and medical devices. Biomedical Scientists work in laboratories, hospitals and research facilities. They often work on teams with other scientists, engineers and medical professionals. Biomedical Scientists typically have a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry or biochemistry. Some Biomedical Scientists may also have a master’s degree or doctorate.

Clinical Scientist vs. Biomedical Scientist

Here are the main differences between a clinical scientist and a biomedical scientist.

Job Duties

While both clinical and biomedical scientists perform laboratory research, their duties differ. Biomedical scientists conduct experiments to understand biological processes. They may study how genes affect health, develop new medical treatments or analyze body fluids for signs of disease.

Clinical scientists work with patients who have illnesses or conditions. Their job is to help these patients by performing diagnostic tests and providing healthcare services. These professionals may collect blood samples from patients or run tests on samples already collected. They then use the results to determine treatment plans.

Job Requirements

Clinical scientists typically need a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field, such as biology, chemistry or physics. They may also need to complete a master’s degree or doctorate program, depending on their area of specialization. After completing their education, clinical scientists must complete a professional certification process through the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (ABCC) or the American Board of Medical Laboratory Science (AMLS).

Biomedical scientists usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant scientific field, such as biology, chemistry or biochemistry. Some biomedical scientist positions may require a master’s degree or doctorate, depending on the employer’s requirements. Biomedical scientists can also pursue voluntary certification through organizations like the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA).

Work Environment

Clinical scientists work in hospitals, medical offices and other healthcare facilities. They may travel to different locations for their job responsibilities. Biomedical scientists typically work in laboratories or research facilities. These professionals often spend most of their time working indoors but may occasionally travel to attend conferences or meet with clients.


Both clinical scientists and biomedical scientists use research skills to develop new treatments and cures for diseases. They also both need analytical skills to examine data and draw conclusions from their findings. Both professions require excellent communication skills to share their findings with colleagues, patients and the general public.

Clinical scientists typically work in hospitals or other medical settings and use their skills to diagnose and treat patients. They benefit from having strong interpersonal skills to build relationships with patients and their families. They also need to be able to handle stress well, as they often work long hours and deal with life-and-death situations.

Biomedical scientists usually work in laboratories and use their skills to conduct experiments and develop new drugs and therapies. They need to be able to pay attention to detail and follow complex instructions. They also need to have strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot issues that arise during their experiments.


The average salary for a clinical scientist is $118,257 per year, while the average salary for a biomedical scientist is $81,989 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of work you do, your location and your level of experience.


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