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Why Choose a Pharmaceutical Career?

  • Pharmaceutical Career

Is It Time To Change Your Career?

  • Are you considering a mid-career change?
  • Is your current industry struggling?
  • Are you living with the constant fear of redundancy?

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty common situation these days.

If you’ve found yourself out of a job or are looking to make a change to an industry that offers more stability, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries are definitely worth serious consideration.

The bonus is, if you have a technical background, you may be much closer than you think to being an ideal candidate.

Reskilling into pharma or medical devices gives you a way to utilise all your experience in a productive way, enhancing your career prospects.

But why exactly would you consider working within the pharmaceutical industry rather than other technical-focused options?

What is Pharmaceutical Manufacturing?

…and what does working in this industry actually look like?

Pharmaceutical companies make medicines. That’s a pretty big responsibility.

If you’re the people in charge of making things specifically designed to try to make ill people well again, you’ve got to do your job well.

Because of this, pharmaceutical manufacturing is a unique and highly regulated environment.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities operate within strict guidelines to make sure that medicines are made safely and correctly, every single time.

We’ve tracked down a couple of videos to give you an idea of what working in pharmaceutical manufacturing might actually look like.

  • Check out this video from the ‘Naked Scientists’ (no actual nudity involved!) that talks through what kind of ingredients actually go into making tablets.
  • Or check out this ‘How It’s Made’ episode, also focused on manufacturing pills, which shows a bit more of the machinery involved.

Types of Roles Within Pharmaceutical Companies

There are a huge variety of roles available within the manufacture of safe medicines. Departments in a typical pharmaceutical company include:

  • Research & Development – typically working in labs to identify molecules that could be used in medications, or on current medications to improve them.
  • Regulatory Affairs – deal with the applications and paperwork surrounding regulations that have to done before a medicine can be sold to the public.
  • Validation – assess and document all equipment and processes to ensure that an action, process or system leads to a consistent and reproducible result.
  • Quality Assurance – monitoring the processes and procedures of manufacturing to make sure they meet predefined standards.
  • Production (Process) – the machinery and systems that actually produce the pharmaceutical product.
  • Quality Control – providing testing and checks throughout the manufacturing process to make sure product standards are maintained.

The size of these departments depend upon the size of the pharmaceutical company (smaller companies may outsource some of these roles altogether) but they are all ultimately critical parts of the pharmaceutical manufacturing process.


Why Should You Consider Reskilling Into This Area? 

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You might need some additional industry specific information before you can land your first job. But once you’re familiar with the rules and regulations of this sector, you could work for companies making:

  • Pharmaceuticals – medicines made using chemical synthesis. Making small active molecules and ‘packaging’ them in a way the body can use (like in a tablet).
  • Biopharmaceuticals – medicines made using biotechnology. Producing larger, naturally occurring molecules such as proteins, genes and cells, and finding a way to make them into a useable treatment. (For a closer look at manufacturing biologics specifically, check out this video from Amgen, it’s a little science-heavy at the very start but gives a great overview of the manufacturing process as it progresses).
  • Medical Devices – a wide encompassing term for any product, instrument or item which is used to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure health conditions without any chemical or pharmacological action on or within the body. Examples include machines to monitor blood glucose, surgical equipment or even contact lenses.
  • Nutritionals – a segment of the pharmaceutical industry that involves the research, development and manufacturing of nutritional products (such as milk powder for babies).

What Are The Next Steps?

If you’re still unsure about whether this is the industry for you, or what your career in pharma could actually look like:

  • Check out this “Is a Pharma Career For Me?” tool to see how suitable you are for a career in pharma or medical device manufacturing based on your career and educational history.
  • Then use this tool to figure out what kind of job you might be suitable for
  • Check out our blog post series on job roles – you’ll find out what each job actually involves and what skills are needed, as well as links to local salary information
  • And for more localised industry information and news, have a look at our Job Hunt Resource Centres for the UKthe USA and Ireland.

If you’ve decided that you want to start a career in pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing:

  • Check out our blog post on the minimum requirements needed to successfully make that change.
  • This will also show you which course you need to get your brand new career started.
  • We know you’ll probably still have a lot of questions, so check out the sections on our blog about:

Of course, if you have any questions that you can’t find the answers to, get in touch with us for a chat about your particular circumstance.

Contact Us

Email: [email protected]

Or call Sinead: +353 (0)21 240 9013

March 21st, 2017|