What to expect from a career as a Professional Researcher

Being a professional researcher requires a disciplined mind and attention to detail, as well as a keen interest in learning. Research programs at Ontario colleges help students develop these abilities and refine their natural talents, while also providing research techniques and skills that transfer across a number of industries to lead to successful careers in research.

If you have a natural curiosity and want to make a career out of information-gathering and analysis, here’s what you need to know.

Research Courses

In research programs, students learn all the steps in the research process, from creating the most basic questionnaire to interpreting data to presenting a finished report. Courses such as statistical analysis, population and demography give students a broader understanding of data as they learn collection techniques, such as interviewing, focus group development and case study analysis. Emphasis will also be placed on creating effective research presentations and communications.

Many Ontario college research programs are offered as specialty programs, focusing on research skills in one specific area. Examples include:

  • Clinical Research. Clinical research programs prepare students to conduct and analyze the outcome of clinical trials on products such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology or medical devices. Courses include the drug development process, guidelines and standards for clinical trials, monitoring, documentation and more.
  • Marketing and Business Intelligence Research. These programs teach students to examine buying habits and shopper motivations through development of questionnaires, data analysis, focus groups and more, preparing them for work in the business or public sector.
  • Biotechnology Research. In biotechnology research, students learn a variety of scientific methods and experimentation techniques, as well as how to operate research equipment and software, and to perform research in a number of biotechnology disciplines, including pharmaceutical, immunology and more.

General Research Program Requirements

Ontario college research programs are typically offered as graduate certificate programs, which means completion of a degree or diploma program is required. Recommended areas of prior training include:

  • Social science
  • Humanities
  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Education

Specialized research programs, such as clinical and biotechnology research, will require completion of a degree or diploma in their respective fields.

Research Jobs and Salaries

Research jobs exist in a number of sectors, including, private, public and not-for-profit. Depending on training, there are also a number of fields of research available including (but not limited to):

Salaries will depend on the particular area of research, but will generally start out between $40,000 and $45,000 per year. The average salary for clinical researchers and other health policy researchers with at least some experience is around $55,000 per year, but can be upwards of $80,000 depending on the role, level of expertise and place of work.

Ontario Colleges Offering Research Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of research programs at Ontario colleges.

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