Careers in Regulatory Toxicology

SOT Awareness of Regulatory Toxicology Work Group

The Awareness of Regulatory Toxicology Work Group was established by the SOT Education Committee and Graduate Subcommittee in 2016 to provide resources to increase the awareness concerning careers related to regulatory science. The Work Group is composed of toxicologists from academia, government, industry, and consulting, who each bring a unique perspective to this effort. Of the thirty-one specializations listed in the Ninth Triennial Toxicology Salary Survey (2015), regulatory toxicology has the largest number of respondents (16.56%). The Work Group recognizes that training in regulatory toxicology is usually not part of graduate programs. Thus, the work group mission is to improve access to resources for those considering a career in regulatory toxicology.

Introduction to Regulatory Toxicology

A career in regulatory toxicology allows scientists to apply cutting-edge research and data collection to real world problems and to inform decision-making in the academic, government, or industrial sectors. Regulatory toxicology is a field that develops, assembles models, assesses, and communicates information about health hazards and risk associated with exposure to agents (e.g., chemicals, radiation) that have the potential to harm human health and ecosystems.

Regulatory toxicologists play a critical role in health and environmental safety by providing science-based advice to inform regulatory decision-making concerning the health hazards and risks involved with the use, production, and disposal of such agents as pesticides, drugs, cosmetics, foods, and household goods. Regulatory toxicologists work within private and publicly-held companies, federal and state government offices and laboratories, contract research organizations, trade associations, and academic institutions. Activities might include hazard identification, dose-response assessment, characterization of exposure scenarios, and risk characterization of agents that are, or may be, regulated through production and use management, labeling, exposure limits, disposal practices, and the like.

While regulatory decisions usually involve legal, ethical, and social considerations as well as science, regulatory toxicology is often a strong contributor. Regulatory toxicologists also participate in regulatory decision-making, a complex process involving an assessment of benefit-to-risk.

The following sources include information about regulatory toxicology:

  • Career development resources on the SOT website available to all.

  • Free webinars available on the SOT website include current topics in regulatory toxicology.

  • Risk Bites: Staying Alive! is one of a collection of short, entertaining videos found on YouTube which help viewers understand risk.

  • Graduate Students and Postdocs attending the SOT Annual Meeting can register for Chat with an Expert to meet with regulatory scientists.