Facilities/Maintenance/Plant Engineers

The majority of roles for facilities, maintenance or plant engineers in pharma tend to be in: 

  • plant, maintenance or facility engineering roles both within pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing 
  • maintenance and design roles with engineering consultancies 

GMP manufacturing experience or a relevant qualification is generally required but you may well get hired without this especially if the labour market is tight and you are a strong candidate.

Another option would be to retrain for validation roles as your background in engineering design and interpreting P&ID technical drawings are highly relevant to this field. 

Apart from the general “Maintenance Engineer” or “Plant Engineer” job titles, here are some typical variations we often see advertised.

  • Maintenance Systems Lead – ownership of all preventative and corrective works on plant utilities and equipment.
  • Maintenance Planner – focus is on developing the company asset maintenance program and strategy.
  • Lead Utilities Engineer – manage capital projects from inception to delivery and ensure plant availability is maximised.
  • Clean Utilities Engineer – ownership of clean utilities systems including purified water, water for injection, clean steam, high quality compressed air, and nitrogen distribution.
  • Facilities Engineer – ensure all preventative and corrective works on plant utilities and equipment are planned and executed.
  • HVAC Engineer – responsible for the HVAC and fire protection design

You would have roughly 3 broad options.

Option 1

Apply for maintenance roles with engineering consultancies or pharma or medical device companies

For a list of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and engineering consultancies, click here if you are in Ireland and here if you are in the United Kingdom. For other locations, do a search for engineering consultancies for the pharma of med device sector.

You could bolster your application by taking our 6 week GMP Training Course for Beginners in the Pharmaceutical Industry and learn about the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and the risk management techniques used in the FDA regulated manufacturing environment.

Option 2

Retrain for plant engineering or facility or maintenance engineer roles in pharmaceutical or med device companies.

Pharma needs purified water and clean air systems to manufacture safe medicines which are used for injections. These aseptic processes have to be designed, validated, monitored, maintained and updated in FDA regulated manufacturing facilities. 

Here, you’d need to take the following programs

Take our 18-week online Conversion Course into Engineering Roles in Pharma to learn GMPs and how safe medicines are made in a regulated environment. You will also learn the air, water and steam systems that underpin aseptic/sterile processing.

You will receive a strong grounding in the modern pharmaceutical science and engineering concepts of the environmental controls (air) and clean utility systems design that underpin an aseptic manufacturing facility and the quality systems.

Then take our 10-Week Online Starter Validation program to learn how those systems are validated. 

Option 3

Retrain for validation roles in both pharmaceutical companies and engineering consultancies. 

Take our 15-week online Starter Validation program and learn to populate an IQ OQ PQ Validation Protocol. 

IQ OQ PQ Validation Protocols form a crucial part of pharmaceutical plant projects and having a fundamental understanding of how these protocols are put together and interpreted is a fundamental skillset of any petroleum engineer cross-training to work in this area. 

Typical roles:

  • Validation Technician – Some pharma companies call this role:
    • CQV Specialist
    • C&Q Specialist
    • Associate QA Validation Specialist
    • C&Q Junior Project Manager
    • Equipment & Process Validation Specialist
    • QA Validation Associate
    • QA Validation Specialist
  • Validation Team Member

With validation roles, you could work directly for a pharmaceutical company on in-house projects or work for an engineering consultancy or engineering contractor as part of a project team on large capital projects.