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Today, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most flourishing sectors out there. With ample room for career growth, it’s reasonable to wonder about what types of pharmaceutical industry careers exist. With a finger on the pulse of public health and safety, working in the pharmaceutical industry can be incredibly fulfilling work. 

Maybe you’re worried you don’t have the experience or knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry to get a fantastic career opportunity, but everyone starts somewhere! It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent the last twenty years in a lab or the last five in an office; there are many options and paths available to you. 

Sales Representative

Sales representatives in the pharmaceutical industry are responsible for educating physicians about a particular company’s medication or product. Sales representatives get the opportunity to meet all sorts of people and don’t necessarily have to have a science background. 

As a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, you’d get to communicate exciting new opportunities in the medical field. It would also be your duty to share safety measures and side effects. You’d be responsible for marketing important and often groundbreaking products. 

This means you’d be at the forefront of bringing new and potentially life-saving medications to the public. Sales representatives often work with scientists to distill complex yet necessary information to healthcare professionals. 

Experienced sales representatives often get wonderful opportunities for travel and career advancement. Being a sales rep can also be incredibly lucrative once you get the experience. It’s a rewarding career with many personal benefits. 

Research and Development 

Being an R&D employee for the pharmaceutical industry is a fantastic opportunity for scientists and technicians. There are multiple phases and career paths within the Research and Development field. When you’re in Research and Development, you are conducting clinical trials or working in the lab. 

In lab positions, biochemists, microbiologists, and lab technicians work together to invent and produce pharmaceuticals. This involves everything from vaccines to anti-anxiety medications. It’s an incredibly meaningful and essential role that can change lives. Some lab work involves developing new medicines and finding cures. Some positions involve essential research.

Clinical trials need administrators, research associates, and healthcare professionals to function correctly. Each of these positions requires a very extensive background in various healthcare and science-related subjects. Clinical trials ensure that medication works without too many extreme side effects. They are the backbone of public safety.

Lab employees are the creators, while those who run clinical trials ensure that what the lab produces is safe and works. Neither position can function without the other. Both of these jobs are critical to the functioning of modern-day healthcare. For that reason, working in R&D is also incredibly lucrative. 

Production Supervisors

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Production supervisors play a crucial role in ensuring that pharmaceuticals are manufactured and packaged safely. They oversee scheduling and routine production activities. Production supervisors also troubleshoot when any problem arises and supervise manufacturing technicians, process technicians, packaging operators, and other manufacturing roles. 

If you’re looking to become a production supervisor, try getting started in a lower-level manufacturing role. There’s an entire host of manufacturing roles, from technicians to packaging operators. There’s a ton of room for job growth in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Quality Assurance 

There are many opportunities under the quality assurance branch. Quality assurance roles exist to ensure there are no manufacturing variations that could affect the quality of the products. This is a process-oriented role. Having previous experience in quality assurance or pharmaceutical manufacturing is a plus. 

Quality assurance specialists monitor and record results from the manufacturing process. Notes amongst specialists are continuously compared to account for deviations from expected results. Quality assurance specialists are typically very detail-oriented and diligent.

Quality Control

Working in quality control is different from quality assurance. Quality control focuses on the product, while assurance focuses on the process. Quality control specialists are essential to the pharmaceutical industry. If it weren’t for quality control specialists, there’d be many more medication-related errors and accidents.

Those in quality control test samples from the manufacturing process. This is usually done in a lab, and a scientific background is necessary. Microbiologists aren’t just hired in R&D; they’re also hired in quality control to double-check for potential microbial contamination in samples, assuring product safety. Quality control often employs chemists as well.

For those with a scientific background looking for careers in the pharmaceutical industry, Quality control is a purposeful role outside of R&D. Scientists are needed in every step of the process, from inventing to sales. R&D isn’t close to your only option.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist 

If you work as a regulatory affairs specialist, you monitor production quality across the whole company and deal with the regulatory work needed to get products to market. Working in regulatory affairs can also involve reporting any manufacturing errors, recalls, and problems to hospitals and clinicians using your company’s product. 

Regulatory affairs specialists deal with many significant, detail-oriented paperwork and communications that have to be done right before or while medicine is distributed to the public. It’s a valuable role that involves lots of external communications. Regulatory affairs specialists ensure public safety even after the clinical trial ends.

An Industry with Purpose

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The pharmaceutical industry is responsible for developing critical vaccines, medications, and devices that save lives and advance society as a whole. Working within the industry can be an advantageous career path, no matter what specific role you find yourself in.

Not only is working in the pharmaceutical industry rewarding, but many of these roles come with lucrative salaries. No matter if you just got your Ph.D., have a marketing degree, or are simply looking for a career change, there’s a place in the pharmaceutical industry for you and your skillset.  If you’re applying to jobs, good luck; the industry needs you!