today's best life sciences jobs.

What are the best life sciences jobs on the market today — and what mix of experience, certifications and skills will you help you get one? You'll find answers to all of that (and then some) below. Get ready, because we're putting life sciences under the microscope.

what you need to know

Market share for biotech products continues to bloom — and after steadily increasing by more than 50 percent in the past decade alone, it shows no signs of slowing down today. Of course, what’s good for the life sciences industry is also good for life sciences professionals, many of whom will find themselves in the enviable position of having almost too many opportunities to choose from. Where is employer demand being expressed most acutely? Let's break down some of the best jobs in life sciences in 2021, as well as some of the skills and certifications job seekers can acquire to get in on the action.

best life sciences jobs in 2021

biologist

Competition for top biologists has long been at a fever pitch, and now that competition is increasingly stratified along geographic lines as well. For companies headquartered around major medical research hubs in California and Massachusetts, for example, it has become nearly impossible to find the talented resources they need. So if you've got the degree and the skills to land a position as a biologist at a life sciences firm, you can pretty much write your own ticket in 2021.

clinical research associate (CRA)

The best CRAs boast a rare blend of soft and hard skills: interpersonal skills (site monitoring), familiarity with complex technical documentation (case report forms), digital savvy (Google Cloud Platform), plus a whole lot more. Well-rounded professionals, they’re also extraordinarily hard to come by — did we mention that demand for them is slated to rise by around 10 percent in the next decade alone? For these reasons and more, CRAs are on our list of the best jobs in life sciences in 2021.
 

medical writer

Medical writers are absolutely indispensable to the operations of healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies alike, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, making complex scientific information accessible to the general public is no small task, and these wordsmiths are well compensated for it. Those who have any kind of significant experience will be extremely in demand in the 2021 job market.

quality assurance (QA) specialist

Ensuring the highest standards are upheld at all times and across all areas of operations — that's the mandate for QA specialists. Plus, these professionals touch everything from research and development (R&D) to clinical trials, and their work has implications that can make or break high-stakes discovery efforts. For all of these reasons and more, good QA specialists are worth their weight in gold, which may be what life sciences companies offer to pay them in 2021.
 

regulatory affairs associate

“After X years of development and Y dollars invested, is this drug going to make it to market or not?” For many life sciences companies, that is literally the question — and how it gets answered is in part a regulatory equation. Framed by those stakes, is it really a surprise that there’s red-hot demand for savvy regulatory affairs associates in today’s job market? These are skilled pros who excel at navigating complexity, and life sciences companies can’t effectively navigate without them.
 

biologist

Competition for top biologists has long been at a fever pitch, and now that competition is increasingly stratified along geographic lines as well. For companies headquartered around major medical research hubs in California and Massachusetts, for example, it has become nearly impossible to find the talented resources they need. So if you've got the degree and the skills to land a position as a biologist at a life sciences firm, you can pretty much write your own ticket in 2021.

clinical research associate (CRA)

The best CRAs boast a rare blend of soft and hard skills: interpersonal skills (site monitoring), familiarity with complex technical documentation (case report forms), digital savvy (Google Cloud Platform), plus a whole lot more. Well-rounded professionals, they’re also extraordinarily hard to come by — did we mention that demand for them is slated to rise by around 10 percent in the next decade alone? For these reasons and more, CRAs are on our list of the best jobs in life sciences in 2021.

medical writer

Medical writers are absolutely indispensable to the operations of healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies alike, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, making complex scientific information accessible to the general public is no small task, and these wordsmiths are well compensated for it. Those who have any kind of significant experience will be extremely in demand in the 2021 job market.

quality assurance (QA) specialist

Ensuring the highest standards are upheld at all times and across all areas of operations — that's the mandate for QA specialists. Plus, these professionals touch everything from research and development (R&D) to clinical trials, and their work has implications that can make or break high-stakes discovery efforts. For all of these reasons and more, good QA specialists are worth their weight in gold, which may be what life sciences companies offer to pay them in 2021.

regulatory affairs associate

“After X years of development and Y dollars invested, is this drug going to make it to market or not?” For many life sciences companies, that is literally the question — and how it gets answered is in part a regulatory equation. Framed by those stakes, is it really a surprise that there’s red-hot demand for savvy regulatory affairs associates in today’s job market? These are skilled pros who excel at navigating complexity, and life sciences companies can’t effectively navigate without them.

best life sciences skills and certifications

adverse events (AEs)

Adverse events refer to any negative patient reaction to a drug throughout the course of a clinical trial. Experience with monitoring and addressing adverse events is a critical skill for clinical trial professionals, as patient health and safety are on the line. Once patients are safe, analysis must take place to determine whether the adverse effect was a result of the drug or an unrelated condition.

assays

A key procedure in the scientific process for biologists, assays are the process by which biologists measure and assess the presence and quantity of the target entities they're studying. Given how essential it is to the biologist's work, its a must-have skill set for job seekers in this field to learn.

case report form (CRF)

In the field of clinical research, data management is less routine and more life-saving. Case report forms (CRFs) are documents used to collect individual patient data from a clinical trial to document patient reactions in the proper, regulatory-compliant format, and they're essential records when coming to a decision about a drug's safety.

cell biology

Cell structure and function form the focus of this scientific skill set, and it's an essential one to learn for biologists interested in life at its most basic form. In addition to specializing in the study of cells, a knowledge of chemistry, physiology and biology is also helpful.

clinical research

"Safety first" is the mantra for clinical research, and it's an important skill set to learn for anyone looking to start a career in life sciences. Clinical research involves the study of new medications to ensure their safety and efficacy before gaining approval for consumption by the general public.

corrective and preventative actions (CAPA)

Another key set of regulations for quality control specialists to keep in mind, corrective and preventative actions refer to guidelines imposed on clinical research organizations in order to eliminate what's known as "recurring nonconformance." This can usually be achieved by adjusting organizational procedures, documentation processes and other standardized processes to improve operations and keep them on track.

drug safety reports

An ongoing process, drug safety reporting involves the monitoring of patient reactions throughout the course of the trial to eventually come to a determination about a drug's overall safety. Those compiling drug safety reports must also stay on top of all regulatory guidelines to ensure their drug meets current safety standards.

good manufacturing practices (GMPs)

High standards of safety and quality don't end once the clinical trial is done. In this case, good manufacturing practices refer to the essential guidelines and quality standards drug manufacturers must meet for their products to be released to the market.

medical and technical writing

A lot of complex research and concepts go into leading and executing a successful clinical trial — and that’s where medical and technical writing comes in. Medical writing is needed to help convey complex trial results in easily digestible language for medical professionals or journalists to analyze and use. These skills are also used in the development of marketing materials and educational copy.

molecular biology

The study of life at the molecular level, molecular biology is an essential skill for aspiring biologists to master. Various strains of science converge in the molecular biologist’s skill set, with knowledge of other fields like chemistry, biology and physics also needed in order to become a well-rounded practitioner in this sector.

pharmacovigilance (PV)

The process by which drug safety is ensured, pharmacovigilance is a key skill in occupations like regulatory affairs. Pharmacovigilance involves monitoring drugs to detect any previously undiscovered adverse effects and communicating data from their findings to the relevant regulatory bodies to ensure marketed drugs remain safe for human consumption.

pre-study visit (PSV)

Before a sponsor can officially award your site with a clinical trial, they’ll want to conduct a pre-study visit. Specialising in pre-study is a valuable skill set for clinical research associates to learn, involving steps like scheduling department tours, anticipating points of concern and outlining plans to address them to secure new business.

quality control (QC)

For a drug to secure approval, it not only needs to demonstrate safety and efficacy — it needs to demonstrate those qualities in a compliant environment. Quality control, in this context, involves monitoring standards throughout each phase of a clinical trial to ensure compliance with pertinent regulations and guidelines.

site monitoring

Site monitoring involves the oversight of clinical trials to ensure adherence to relevant regulatory guidelines and overall standard operating procedures. Site monitoring is one of the occupations under the clinical research umbrella that requires a solid blend of hard and soft skills, with project and people management needed to excel in this role.

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