The pharmaceutical industry is a healthcare-related field that continues to grow. The pharmaceutical (pharma) industry is a business that discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs for use as medications to be administered to patients. The goal with pharmaceutical drugs is to cure patients, vaccinate patients, or alleviate the symptoms which they are unfortunately dealing with. These companies can produce and deal with generic or brand name medications and medical devices.
The pharmaceutical industry is pretty massive, and competitive. Nine out of the top ten pharmaceutical companies are based in the United States, and worldwide approximately 4.4 people are employed in the industry. In 2019 the worldwide pharmaceutical industry was worth nearly $1.3 trillion, and the top ten pharma companies accounted for a third of sales ($392.5 billion). There are a variety of rewarding careers to be found within the business, with salaries for some positions running as high as $98,527 (research scientists). Below is a list of four fulfilling careers in pharmaceuticals.
1. Biotechnology Senior Research Scientist
A biotechnological senior research scientist position is one of the most sought-after positions in the pharma industry. These scientists are required to conduct research on plants and animals to create products and lead to new medical breakthroughs which are crucial in the pharmaceutical industry. Their education includes holding a doctorate, in addition to staying abreast of any industry breakthroughs which might influence their branch of science. Such advances are often discussed in trade publications/websites like Roivant Sciences.
They are required to search for funding, write project proposals, and manage project teams. These scientists require a varied skill set. This can include being adept in such areas as bioinformatics, clinical research, project management, and biotechnology. Within their roles, they assess new technologies, their future applications and propose, plan, and manage research projections and report findings.
For those new to the role, the starting salary is $90,000. With five to ten years of experience, that amount jumps to $97,000. The average median salary for the position is approximately $98,527.
To become a biotechnologist on any front, you’ll need a degree in biotechnology or a degree program in science. In this case, your major will have to be one in the life sciences arena. These can include biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, physiology, and biochemistry. As mentioned before, you’ll need to have a doctoral degree to conduct biotechnological research. You also need your doctorate to qualify for senior leadership or scientific roles.
2. Science Writer
Let’s say you have a knack for writing very well, and a desire to focus on your favorite subject: the sciences. Both of these passions can be combined to give you a career as a science writer in the pharmaceutical industry.
If you’ve studied biology in college, but never made it to medical school, you can still use the learnings to form the basis of pursuing a career as a science writer. Writers such as these can research, write, and edit scientific news, articles, and features. As a science writer, your career can take any number of forms. You can first start off by writing about basic sciences, drugs, and technological innovations for regular readers. As a science writer, you can also write for the general media, write for businesses, trade publications, professional publications, specialist scientific and technical journals.
Your skills as a scientific writer can also be used in a marketing or public relations role. This can require that you explain scientific research to those wishing to learn more about the company you represent. This can include other industry professionals or someone from the general public. As a science writer, you are distilling scientific ideas, terms, and complex information into a form where this information can be easily interpreted.
As a science writer, you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in science, while some positions require graduate studies. It would also be helpful to minor in journalism, and spend time interning at a newspaper, or web publication to gain experience in the journalism field. As a science writer, you need to show that you have a knack for writing well about different scientific concepts while communicating your ideas and observations clearly.
In terms of pay, the average salary of a science writer ranges between $59,537- $72,657. The other great thing about a position like this is that this can be a work from home opportunity. A host of freelance writers are home-based now, so the most you’ll need to do is find a comfortable home through realtors like John Foresi from Venterra Realty, and then you’ve found your office.
3. Pharmaceutical Field Sales Representative
As a pharmaceutical field sales representative, representing your pharma company, you educate physicians and other professionals who prescribe medications, on new developments occurring within your company. You act as a connection between providers and potential customers, highlighting the knowledge, drugs, and treatments which your pharma company can provide.
As a part of their job qualifications, pharmaceutical field sales representatives sell their organization’s technical products to a customer base or new prospects. These sales reps also prepare and maintain records for sales leads and progress status for accounts.
To become a pharmaceutical field sales representative, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree. Though a specific major isn’t required, companies tend to focus more on potential sales representatives who have majors in life sciences, such as biology and chemistry. They are also required to attend special training on products and services as part of continuing education. This is so they can be better equipped with knowledge on the technical aspects of the pharmaceutical solutions which their company provides.
This is a job that requires a lot of travel, and fieldwork. Mentally preparing yourself for this aspect of the job is something which people should take into consideration. This might require long weeks at hotels while eating dinners on the run and drinking bottled water Canada while driving from appointment to appointment. The average salary for a United States-based pharmaceutical sales representative is approximately $65,656 annually. They make about $20,000 in commissions on a yearly basis also.
4. Research Scientist
By accepting a research scientist role at a pharma company, you are responsible for designing, undertaking, and analyzing information from controlled laboratory-based investigations, experiments, and trials. You are also required to write grant proposals for external research, and as with most of the other positions on this list, you have to stay on top of developments within the pharmaceutical field.
If you are working within a laboratory, employers are often looking for those who have experience with lab procedures, computer analysis, and setting up and implementing experiments. If you’re focused more on the fieldwork side of things, it’s best to have a background with classwork experience with field techniques, data collection, and expertise with observational studies.
To become a pharmaceutical research scientist you need a bachelor’s degree, in a closely related life sciences or computer sciences field. From there you’ll need a Master’s degree in most cases, a Ph.D., and experience with working in the lab or in the field. A research scientist in the pharmaceutical field can make up to $82, 452 on an annual basis. Many skills that can bump up a person’s pay in this field include software development, data mining/data warehouse, data modeling, engineering design, and Matlab.