What Kind of Jobs Can Production/Manufacturing/Industrial Engineers Get in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industry?

By: Donagh Fitzgerald B.Prod Eng and Gerry Creaner B.Chem Eng. Last Updated: October 2023

Production, manufacturing and industrial engineers bring a lot of strengths to this sector especially those with a strong background in the application of Lean Manufacturing principles.

The majority of roles tend to be in:

  • medical device manufacturing as there is a much broader use of discrete manufacturing
  • pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing will also have roles but the majority (but not all) tend to be concentrated around packaging operations (Think running a highly automated packaging line).
  • engineering consultancies also hire manufacturing production engineers into process optimisation consultancy roles
  • retrain for validation and qualification roles as your background in engineering design and interpreting technical drawings are relevant to this field.

For most roles though, you are going to benefit from some retraining, especially in GMPs and risk management techniques.

Apart from “Production Engineer”, “Manufacturing Engineer” and occasionally “Industrial Engineer”, we often see these job titles advertised.

  • Production Process Engineer
  • Operations Manager (Manufacturing)
  • Operations Manager
  • Production Manager

Now depending on the job description, (and this does vary widely), the following skills or experience could be a useful addition to your application.

  • Experience applying lean manufacturing techniques.
  • Knowledge of PLC and machine automation logic and automated process debugging. 
  • Experience working and managing production operations within a cleanroom environment. For example semiconductor manufacturing..

So you would have roughly 3 broad options to bolster your application.

Option 1

Apply for Production/Manufacturing/Industrial Engineering roles as you are. 

Polish up your CV/Resume and apply as you are. However, our GMP Training Course for Beginners in the Pharmaceutical Industry will certainly help bolster your qualification. You could apply for advertised positions or you could send out speculative job applications.

Please note though that it is almost impossible to anticipate how HR or hiring managers will react to your application as there are so many variables. For example, how badly does the company need to hired someone, how tight is the job market, how good are your networking, interviewing and job-hunting skills, etc. This is going to be very much a numbers and persistence game. The more positions you apply for, the better your chances.

Option 2

Retrain for production/manufacturing/operations roles within a GMP regulated manufacturing environment such as medical device or pharmaceutical manufacturing.

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

Option 3

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

Take our 15-week Online Starter Validation program and learn to populate an IQ OQ PQ qualification protocol.

IQ OQ PQ qualification 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 skill set of any engineer cross-training to work in this area.

Typical roles:

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

With validation, CQV and C&Q roles, you could work directly for:

  • pharmaceutical companies on in-house projects
  • engineering consultancies as part of a project team on small to large capital projects
  • engineering contractors as part of a project team on small to large capital projects

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About the Author

Our Team

Donagh Fitzgerald

Head of Marketing & Product Development
Mechanical/Production Engineer

Donagh looks after the marketing and product development including the training and pedagogical elements of our programs and makes sure that all GetReskilled’s users can have a great online learning experience. Donagh has lived and worked in many countries including Ireland, America, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Donagh has also served as the Program Manager for the Farmleigh Fellowship based out of Singapore.

Donagh holds Degrees in Production Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from South East Technological University, Ireland.

Photo of GetReskilled President Gerry Creaner

Gerry Creaner

Senior Lecturer with GetReskilled

Gerry Creaner has over 30-years of experience in the Life Sciences Manufacturing industry across a range of technical, managerial and business roles. He established a very successful engineering consultancy prior to founding GetReskilled, an online education and learning business, with offices in Singapore, Ireland and Boston (USA), focussed on the manufacture of safe and effective medicines for the public.

He is also a founding Director of two Singapore based philanthropic organizations, the Farmleigh Fellowship and the Singapore-Ireland Fund, both of which deepen the well established and historical Singapore – Ireland relationship and deliver long-term benefits to both countries.

Gerry has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering (UCD, 1980) and an MSc (Management) from Trinity College Dublin (2003) and is currently doing research for his Ph.D.