Hematologists are employed at medical centers, university medical schools, private research institutes, and blood banks. Hematologists who are physicians have a wider range of employment opportunities than scientists since they also have the option of clinical practice in addition to, or instead of, research.
Hematologists find out about job openings in their field through personal contacts and professional journals. Sometimes a postdoctoral fellowship turns into a permanent job. The competition for research positions at prestigious institutions is keen; there can be hundreds of applicants for one job.
The hematologist's ability to attract grant money for their lab and all or part of their salary plays a major role in employability. Occasionally, it's necessary for hematologists to raise their own funding for a postdoctoral position.
Hematologists advance by developing and carrying out research that is recognized as significant by their professional peers and that has the ability to attract grant money from the federal government and private foundations. Some hematologists move into administrative positions and become directors of major research projects.
Those in academic positions advance by moving from assistant professor to associate professor to full professor. In this field, the most important criteria for academic promotion are research achievements. Hematologists (or hematologist-oncologists) who are involved in clinical work advance in their profession as more patients are referred to them for specialized treatment. Those who work in clinics or hospitals may advance to become the director or head of the hematology department.
Tips for Entry
Volunteer at a local hospital, medical clinic, or nursing home to learn more about the medical field and to see if this is a good fit for you.
Spend time on industry associations' Web sites and read their publications, such as The Hematologist, published by the American Society of Hematology.
Set up an information interview with a hematologist near you. Create a list of questions about the job and the hematology field.