Pharmaceuticals has been a thriving industry since the first company was established back in 1885. Landing a job in this field is a great opportunity for anyone, but unfortunately, it’s a very competitive sector of the job force.
Considering the competitive nature and the challenges to overcome, many people are on the fence about working for major medical companies. We’re here to clear up any confusion by answering: Is major pharmaceuticals a good career path?
Keep reading to find out!
About Major Pharmaceuticals as a Career
The term ‘major pharmaceuticals’ refers to any aspect of the pharmaceutical industry. This industry is responsible for just about everything surrounding medications, including:
- Developing new market medicinal drugs
- Distributing/selling medicine and medical supplies to providers
- Researching new medical technology and prescription drugs
Because the world of pharmaceuticals is so broad, there are tons of opportunities for selecting a career path. Whether you specialize in research, sales, production, or something else, there’s a place for anyone who’s interested in medicine.
Is Major Pharmaceuticals a Good Career Path Right Now?
The short answer is… YES! Choosing a career in this field is a smart decision for anyone thanks to the high-pay opportunities and the strong job security. Another one to consider is a good career in medical / dental instruments.
Overall, careers in pharmaceuticals are some of the highest-paying in the United States. On average, a pharmaceutical representative makes about $100,000 per year.
This number is dependent on sales, so there is potential for an even greater income if you’re motivated and have a strong sales background.
Job security is another huge perk of working in this field. The demand for pharmaceutical developers, researchers, and salespeople has remained high over the years. That’s not likely to change any time soon.
In other words, you have a very low chance of being laid off from a pharmaceutical job (as long as you do the job correctly, of course). There will always be a need for drugs and treatments, so your job will remain safe and secure.
Jobs Available in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Another benefit of working in the pharma industry is the variety of jobs available. That variety continues to expand every day as medical needs increase.
Keep in mind that some of these career paths are extremely competitive and require a great deal of schooling. On the flip side, there are many positions available that require very little educational background.
As of 2023, there are thousands of job openings available in pharmaceuticals all over the country. The salaries for these jobs offer an average yearly income of $80,000 to $100,000 plus benefits.
Pros & Cons of Working in Major Pharmaceuticals
Before making this huge life decision by choosing your career path, you first need to weigh the pros and cons. While there are a lot of benefits that come along with this field, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Here’s what to expect:
- Companies in this industry have generally made a name for themselves, which equates to better job security for employees.
- Most pharmaceutical employees receive great benefits (along with a high salary)
- There are plenty of opportunities available based on your background and skills, ranging from research to sales.
- As they should be, pharmaceuticals are highly regulated. That means this career will involve lots of paperwork, no matter the job you choose.
- Some aspects of the job can be very stressful, and you can expect to work long hours.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs in Major Pharmaceuticals + Salary Breakdown
Money isn’t everything, but there’s no denying that a high-paying salary is a big reason to choose this career path.
In the list below, we’ve included the highest-paying jobs in major pharmaceuticals as of 2023. So if you’re interested in pursuing a pharma career, you might want to consider one of these positions.
1. Pharmacist: $100K+
Pharmacists make very good money with a starting salary averaging $90K per year. After a year or two in the field, that number can increase; some pharmacists make as much as $180K yearly.
What’s even better is that the pharmacy field helps the lives of everyday individuals who require medication. A pharmacist is responsible for dispensing medications safely, as well as monitoring treatment and providing medical counseling.
2. Medical Assistant: $72K+
A medical assistant, or MA for short, is responsible for assisting other medical professionals, including doctors and nurses. They have a long list of duties, all of which can help to enhance efficiency across medical practices.
3. Registered Nurse (RN): $65K+
A registered nurse is well-versed in a broad range of medical fields, including:
- Patient Counseling
The starting salary for an RN is about $60K per year, but this number can increase after a few years in the field.
4. Physical Therapist Assistant: $60K+
Physical therapist assistants are responsible for assisting PT professionals. Although they are only meant to assist, they play a large role in treating injuries, developing exercise regimens, and executing PT plans for patients.
5. Clinical Laboratory Scientist: $55K+
Working in a clinical laboratory can be an exciting job for those interested in the science behind major pharmaceuticals. These specialists perform a wide range of laboratory tests, like analyzing blood samples and testing patient urine.
6. Dental Assistant: $53K+
Dental assistants and hygienists are the lifeblood of any dental office. They help the practicing dentist with all tasks around the office, such as performing routine cleanings, taking X-rays, and assisting on surgeries.
7. Radiology Technician: $52K+
Working as a radiology tech is one of the most interesting careers in pharmaceuticals.
This job is all about the imaging of human anatomy for determining points of pathology. These images are then sent to doctors for analysis, and they can play a major role in diagnosis and treatment.
8. Optometrist: $50K+
Optometry is a field that’s focused on eye health. These healthcare professionals provide primary vision care, perform eye tests, and even diagnose diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
9. Dietitian: $47K+
If you’re interested in nutrition, pursuing a career as a dietician is for you. Aside from knowing all about a healthy diet, dieticians develop specific nutritional plans for patients based on their specific health needs.
10. Veterinary Technician: $46K+
Anyone who loves working with animals might consider becoming a vet tech. While this job can certainly be challenging, it’s also very rewarding.
As a vet tech, you’ll have the chance to better the lives of cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals. Best of all, you can make $46K per year as your starting salary.
Which is the best pharmaceutical career to pursue?
Deciding on the best career path depends entirely on each individual. While some people may thrive as a pharmacist, others would be more suited to working as a medical assistant or a veterinarian technician.
While some fields have promising salaries, many of these require years of schooling. If you don’t have the time, patience, or finances to pursue a degree, there are still plenty of options available to you.
What degree is best for the pharmaceutical industry?
You have several educational options available to you if you’re interested in pursuing a career in pharma. Most people, however, choose a degree in either chemistry or biology.
It’s even possible to find a high-paying job in the field with a degree in business or marketing. The degree you choose depends on your interests in skills, so don’t feel pressured to study science if science isn’t your thing!
Is major pharmaceuticals a good career path in the UK?
Yes, the pharmaceutical industry is just as lucrative in the UK as it is anywhere else in the world. Whether you’re looking for a job in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, or Manchester, pursuing a pharma position is a solid idea.
Is major pharmaceuticals a good career path in the US?
Absolutely. Recent studies show that America accounts for nearly half of the global pharmaceutical market. That proves that there is a high demand for workers in the industry, and the pay reflects that.
Is major pharmaceuticals a good career path in Canada?
The Canadian government has always placed a huge emphasis on research, drug development, and healthcare. Drug producers are rapidly pumping out new medications, so fields in research and drug development are especially lucrative right now.
As is the case with any career decision, it’s important to do your research before applying to a new job or pursuing a degree. You’ve made a good start here by reading this article on the major pharmaceutical industry!
To recap, there are plenty of career options when it comes to pharmaceuticals, and many of them pay very well. Best of all, pharmaceutical job positions are always in demand, and job security is high compared to other careers.