What does a Toxicologist do?

A toxicologist is a scientist who tests bodily fluids and tissue samples during autopsies to determine the presence of toxins or chemicals. They work in laboratories and use various methods to locate toxic levels of drugs or other poisons within the body. If it is determined harmful agents are present, a toxicologist will measure the levels found and identify if it likely contributed to the death of the patient. Additionally, many toxicologists work to help solve criminal cases and will testify in court on behalf of their lab findings.

Advanced education is required to become a toxicologist and a graduate degree in forensic science, chemistry, toxicology or related field is necessary. Depending upon the state of employment, a professional certification through the American Board of Toxicology may be required. Meticulous attention to detail and strong analytical skills are required to excel in the position of a toxicologist.

What responsibilities are common for Toxicologist jobs?
  • Identify and test a proposed scientific hypothesis by applying analytical examination techniques to measure toxins
  • Create reports and author reviews of research papers and findings
  • Oversee risk assessments to identify possible harmful side effects and outcomes
  • Conduct examinations using biomedical and chemical instruments and maintain the samples as well as possible for further testing
  • Ensure the safe storage and use of chemicals and laboratory instruments
  • Collaborate and share research and study findings with other staff members
  • Test bodily fluids and body tissue samples to isolate and measure toxin levels present
  • Comply with state and federal laws regarding privacy, safety and quality control within the lab
What are the typical qualifications for Toxicologist jobs?
  • Graduate degree in forensic science, chemistry, toxicology or related field is necessary
  • Meticulous attention to detail when performing examinations and tests
  • Depending upon the state of employment, a professional certification through the American Board of Toxicology may be required
  • Experience working on cases involving environmental pollution and the measurable impact of chemical spills and disasters
  • An organized and detailed approach to testing is essential
  • Ability to review and interpret industry-specific data
  • Experience using required instruments and equipment safely and correctly
  • Personal integrity and accountability are essential due to the nature of the position
  • Maintain a professional level of patient privacy in accordance with HIPAA procedures
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.3 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Toxicologist Salaries

Average Base Pay

$80,000 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
See More Insights
Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
Median: $80K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Toxicologist Career Path

Learn how to become a Toxicologist, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Senior Toxicologist
No Salary Reports
Principal Toxicologist
No Salary Reports

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
2 - 4
5 - 7
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Toxicologist Insights

Read what Toxicologist professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
31 Mar 2023

“government clients that are enjoyable to work with”

Key Forensic ServicesKey Forensic Services
2 Feb 2021

“nice people to work with”

4 May 2022

“Good work life balance”

Eurofins ScientificEurofins Scientific
3 Aug 2021

“I was not given good training opportunities to broaden my skills.”

Environmental Protection AgencyEnvironmental Protection Agency
14 May 2022

“Terrible work life balance.”

Toxicology Associate
16 Aug 2021

“Great corporate environment to start your professional career.”

Georgia Bureau of InvestigationGeorgia Bureau of Investigation
Forensic Toxicologist
15 May 2023

“Some of the best training you can find for forensic toxicology.”

United States Federal GovernmentUnited States Federal Government
26 Oct 2022

“good to have one with a stable career.”

See More

Toxicologist Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a Toxicologist

When working as a Toxicologist, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Evaluating, PBPK, Conducting, Responses and Excellent Communication.

The most similar professions to Toxicologist are:
  • Environmental Specialist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Safety Manager
  • EHS Specialist

Related Careers

Environmental Specialist
No skills overlap
Environmental Scientist
No skills overlap
Safety Manager
25% skills overlap
EHS Specialist
13% skills overlap

Toxicologist jobs