Know Which Branch of the Pharma Industry You Want to Work In
There is no question that the field of biotechnology has literally exploded over the last few years. No matter whether you talk about gene spicing, sequencing genomes, or cloning, almost everything has to do with advanced laboratory techniques. At the same time, each field of study has different protocols and methodologies that you will need to be familiar with. Before you start applying for pharmaceutical jobs, it will be of immense benefit to make sure that you know which aspect of biopharma you are most interested in. This will also help you select the right courses for your master's and PhD levels of study.
Place an Additional Emphasis on Mathematics and Physics
Today, biological sciences have evolved to a point where they rely heavily on advanced mathematical skills. Aside from calculus, you will also need to take some classes in statistics. Even though you may be tempted to focus on biology or chemistry electives, you should not neglect physics and math. In many cases, you may even find that you will struggle to get through biology and chemistry classes without laying a solid foundation in physics and math.
Gain Advanced Skills with Relevant Software Programs
If you take college level laboratory classes, you will soon realize that your lab notebook is extremely important for documenting information about methodologies and results. In many cases, you will also be asked to take this information and create graphs and tables. Typically, you will be well served by knowing how to use Excel macros and formulas. You should also be highly skilled in using programs such as Minitab, JMP, and Design Expert.
Spend at Least Two Years Working in a Pharma Company
When you apply to a pharmaceutical company, you should look for a job working in the lab. Even though you will not necessarily get a high paying job if you have just completed your bachelor's degree, you can gain valuable experience. If you are unable to gain employment with pharmaceuticals, you should still look to get into some type of biotechnology lab. This may include labs that process blood samples, as well as ones that culture microbes. Ideally, you should look for a facility that does work that is as close as possible to niche you want to work in.
Gain Experience with Bioreactors
Unfortunately, if you have not worked with bioreactors and other advanced laboratory functions, it will be very hard to get a high paying job in the pharmaceutical industry. At the same time, you can only gain sufficient experience in this skill when you are employed by pharmaceuticals that have the required equipment and facilities. In most cases, if you can get this type of job after you complete your bachelor's degree, you will have a much larger number of career choices to select from. As may be expected, even if you reach the PhD level without practical experience working with bioreactors, you will not be able to command a higher salary or a better position in the pharmaceutical field.
If you are interested in working in the pharmaceuticals industry, you will need to find a way to combine educational background and direct work experience. As may be expected, you will also need to demonstrate commitment and dedication to this particular field. Without a question, if you are going to spend seven years on education and training, you should take the time now to make sure that you know exactly what type of job you want to have.