Pharmaceutical Industry Jobs & Careers

Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies are major employers and significantly contribute to US and worldwide economic growth. In 2010 these industries accounted for about 2% of US private sector workers. In New Jersey they paid over $14 billion dollars in annual payroll which was 8.1% of New Jersey's total wages in 2010. From 2005 to 2010 the number of pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device establishments increased by approximately 10% nationally. These companies employ professionals in office and administrative support, management, and life, physical, and social sciences. As the US economy grows and with many companies developing new drugs, jobs in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries will continue to be in high demand.

We have received many inquiries about pharmaceutical industry jobs for healthcare professionals. Therefore, we have created this resource page for healthcare professionals who want to start careers in the pharmaceutical industry and related companies.

Which departments hire healthcare professionals in the pharmaceutical industry?

Healthcare professionals are employed in several areas depending on their professional background and credentials. There are positions in research and development (R&D), regulatory, medical affairs, quality and manufacturing, sales, and marketing.

Which types of healthcare professionals are in highest demand at pharmaceutical companies?

Doctors, pharmacists, and nurses are a close match with many of the jobs that require a healthcare background. Physician assistants can also find positions at pharmaceutical companies. Requirements depend on the type of job, therapeutic area, and type of products. For instance, an optometrist will more likely find a job at an opthalmology company while a dentist may be more suitable for a company that manufactures dental products.

What is medical affairs at pharmaceutical companies?

The medical or scientific affairs department is the department that provides scientific support to the commercial team. Some companies do not use the term medical affairs. The exact make up of medical affairs and the names of the departments vary amongst companies. At many pharmaceutical companies this department consists of medical information or communication, medical science liaisons (MSLs), medical strategy or medical marketing, clinical research, and drug safety. The medical affairs department is mostly staffed by healthcare professionals and scientists.

How does compensation in the pharmaceutical industry compare to patient care positions?

Generally, compensation is either comparable or better in the pharmaceutical industry but this will vary depending on the role. Entry level positions at pharmaceutical companies may pay less than patient care roles. However, pay rises faster at pharmaceutical companies; within a few years healthcare care professionals at pharmaceutical companies will earn more than their cohorts in patient care settings. Compensation for some positions include company car and company stock.

What are advantages of working in the pharmaceutical industry?

  • They provide diverse career options and growth for healthcare professionals
  • Involvement in top level research and you can have an impact on healthcare
  • Work hours are more predictable.
  • Work-life balance may be better depending on the role.
  • There are remote positions where you can work from home.
  • For many positions you do not need a professional license.
  • Benefits are usually better than benefits offered in patient care settings.
  • Some positions require travel so you may travel to exotic destinations.
  • Many companies provide tuition reimbursement for additional education.
  • If you are lucky you can strike gold when you cash in your stocks.

What are disadvantages of working in the pharmaceutical industry?

  • Healthcare professionals have to be comfortable with working in a business environment.
  • The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and there are many regulations to learn.
  • Company mergers and loss of patents may lead to layoffs and less job certainty. However, you can always find another job.
  • Some positions require too much travel, reducing work-life balance.
  • Your professional opinion and stature may not carry as much weight in a business environment.

How do you find pharmaceutical jobs?

  • First learn about available roles and requirements and narrow down your interest.
  • Find pharmaceutical industry job recruiters (join our healthcare network).
  • Network with professionals in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Develop an accomplishment based resume.
  • Use the RxEconsult job board to find openings nationwide.
  • Read this article for more tips on finding pharmaceutical industry jobs.

What types of pharmaceutical jobs and careers are available for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses?

Articles about careers in the pharmaceutical industry

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