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  1. Career Descriptions

Pharmacologist Positions at FDA

View all current FDA job openings at USAJOBS

Description of Position

Pharmacologists at FDA in non-laboratory settings perform duties that include:

  • reviewing and evaluating the pharmacological and toxicological data contained in New Drug Applications (NDAs) and Investigational New Drug Applications (INDAs)
  • reviewing and evaluating the results of preclinical pharmacological and toxicological studies submitted in support of NDAs, INDAs, and amendments to assess the safety of drugs based on toxicity experiments conducted by the investigator (including evaluation of animal testing to ensure that animal studies support the manufacturer's claims for safety, and reviewing recommended dosage levels to determine the margin of safety for clinical use)
  • preparing a comprehensive summary of data reviewed
  • submitting recommendations and conclusions for approval.

In a laboratory setting, pharmacologists might:

  • conduct research on the absorption and metabolism of chemicals in skin (such as colors, cosmetics, and other topically applied products)
  • investigate the disposition of xenobiotics in normal and diseased animals
  • investigate the effects of drugs and toxins from the molecular level to the total body response
  • develop new methodology for the evaluation of chemicals, drugs, and toxins.

Grade (Salary) Levels

The federal General Schedule (GS) grade. Levels at which these positions are most commonly filled are GS-9 through 15 at the headquarters level.

For a list of GS-grade salaries, see the Office of Personnel Management website.


Basic qualifications required for all grades in this position include a degree with a major in an appropriate biological, medical, veterinary, or physical science, or pharmacy, which includes at least 30 semester hours in chemistry and physiology and 12 semester hours in pharmacology.

Candidates also need additional amounts of either specialized experience or directly related education to qualify for higher graded positions. The amount of additional experience or education required depends on the grade of the position.

Geographic Locations

Pharmacologists are located only in headquarters (suburban Washington, D.C.).

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