The world continues to experience incredible advancements in biology, medicine and technology at an astonishing rate. As these advancements take place, bioethicists are often called upon to help society determine if such accomplishments are in alignment with its values.
Guiding Public Policy
As a bioethicist, you have the opportunity to influence public health policy. Your expertise in medicine or biotechnology may make you sought out by politicians seeking a better understanding of complex and controversial issues such as stem cell and disease pathogen research. The counsel you provide government leaders can help influence their decisions regarding these matters and can have implications on the world for generations to come.
Educating the Public
As a bioethicist, you have the opportunity to educate and inform the public on a wide array of complex medical issues that affect them. Whether through speaking engagements, media appearances, authoring books or serving as a teacher, you have the power to provide clear insight that can help members of the public reach their own opinions on various issues they may have otherwise not understood.
Policies and Consultation
Establishing health care or technological policies for a private organization can be a critical part of your role as a bioethicist. You may be hired by a hospital or biotech company to help the organization create a governance structure and procedures to help the organization remain compliant with federal and local laws, as well as maintain a high level of credibility within the community. You may also be called upon to consult with legal and leadership teams regarding specific cases and ethical dilemmas facing an organization.
Education of a Bioethicist
Completing a bioethics degree or certification program can be a launching pad to a successful career as a bioethicist. Such programs are helpful to obtaining clinical, research and other opportunities that can bolster a budding bioethicist's credentials. Courses like philosophy and sociology can also help bolster a budding bioethicist's university education. While a bachelor's or master's degree in bioethics can be helpful, it is not always required. Some bioethicists are college professors with doctoral degrees. While there is no definitive pathway to becoming a bioethicist, combining a public policy or medical degree with relevant work experience in the biotechnology sector can provide you with valuable credibility. This can allow you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert who is qualified to evaluate the moral and philosophical implications of certain medical advancements and health policy.