Getting Involved in Jobs in Biotech
Before you can consider a position in biotechnology administration, you clearly are going to need experience working in jobs for biotech firms or positions. Most of these positions are going to require advanced degrees in biology and/or medicine. The choice of your educational pursuits should be determined by whether you feel more comfortable working in a lab or working with subjects. In order to do any type of clinical work, you will need a medical license. Otherwise, having a PhD in biology or a related biological science field would be the minimum requirement for achieving positions in the biotech field. Of course, if you have strong qualifications, you may be able to break into the industry with only a master’s but eventually you will need to complete a more advanced degree if you’re hoping to achieve an administrative post.
Unless you are fortune to find an employer immediately after graduation, you will probably spend some time following the completion of your program doing postdoctoral work. This is normally lab research done to give you further experience that will help you in the end. The plus of these positions is that postdoctoral positions are not always temporary. If you make a strong impression, you could end up landing a full-time biotech position through this avenue.
Regardless of whether you have taken the science or the medicine track, you will need to hold some long-term positions in some biotech companies. If you are sticking to private firms, you will probably advance the fastest through discoveries. Each time you make a breakthrough and gain recognition you will most likely see yourself moving closer to biotech management jobs. However, the climb can be slow and discouraging in some cases.
Another option is to secure a biotech job in a university. This is often what occurs as a result of postdoctoral work. While you’ll have a lot more time to work in the lab, these positions sometimes require working with college students as a professor. That means you can eventually qualify for tenure and have a secured, noteworthy position from which to continue your research.
Finally, some biotech positions will land you in a government job. You may find yourself working for the CDC or FDA, for example. With government positions, you move up the ladder by accumulating seniority. A standardized method of advancing is set, and you just move up the ladder.
Securing Administrator Jobs in Biotech
Although accumulating significant biotechnology experience is going to be a bonus if you are interested in administrative positions, this may not always be enough. A better way to ensure the success of your endeavor is to supplement your resume with additional education. Having an MBA or a degree in business could be very useful at this point. Even a degree in finance, economics, or accounting might be a nice addition since much of your administrative tasks will involve setting the budget for your department or company.
Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that you are a leader in your industry. Because biotechnology is a constantly changing field, you need to show that you are well-versed in these changes and are prepared for the next new wave of research. Anything that can help establish your expertise is also going to be a plus. For example, you might want to consider publishing papers or attending seminars to help you get noticed and to demonstrate your knowledge.
Of course, you will also need to show that you have strong leadership skills. When you are in an administrative or managerial position, you are going to need to motivate the rest of the staff and to set the tone for the rest of the office. That can be a challenge, especially if you do not feel comfortable working with people. Many in the science field have no problem dealing with numbers and research that would blow the mind of the average person but are stressed by the requirements of dealing with people. If this describes you, consider staying in the lab.
Another bonus for many of these positions is proven grant writing ability. Grants can help pay for research and can be the lifeblood for many research facilities. Administrators often are called upon to handle the grant writing process. If you can prove that you know how to write these challenging documents and to receive grants as a result, you could end up with an advantage when it comes to moving up towards the top of the career ladder in biotechnology. Remember competition is going to be intense for these positions and even for entry-level biotech jobs so you need to give yourself as many advantages as possible.