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Wednesday, January 2, 2008


For the Hottest Jobs, Go Regulatory Affairs

"Right now the industry is starved for people," says Frances Richmond, director of the Regulatory Science Program at the University of Southern California. "We just can't get the word out enough," she adds. "At the moment, I think most people don't know that these opportunities exist. These are good jobs. They're well compensated, especially after a few years."

"It's definitely a growing field," says Rich Pennock, business unit leader at Kelly Scientific. "As the FDA continues to enforce the rules and, looking at regulatory affairs in the clinical trial process, and looking at the late phases of clinical trials, we see more and more validation and regulatory affairs type positions." Pennock says that in the last 12 months, Kelly Scientific has seen a spike of about 20% in regulatory affairs positions in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device areas.

According to a 2005 RAPS survey of about 2,600 professionals, compensation in the health products regulatory affairs field is growing fast. The mean base salary for regulatory professionals based in the United States, across all levels and employment settings, was $108,077 in 2005, reflecting an increase of 9.8% from $98,355 in 2003. The average rate of salary growth in the United States during the same time period was about 7.6%.

Though it depends on background and level of experience, Pennock says someone with a bachelors or masters in the sciences can expect to make $50,000 to $70,000 as a starting base. Those who have a PhD can expect to make from $60,000 to six figures as a base salary.

The future for these types of jobs is bright. The pharmaceutical industry is among the fastest growing, with much higher earnings than in other manufacturing industries, according to the US Department of Labor. David Jensen, founder of CareerTrax, a firm that identifies and recruits professionals in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, estimates that jobs in the regulatory affairs and quality assurance areas will increase by about 15-20% per year for the next 10 years. This expansion will outpace other areas of growth, for example in research scientist positions, within the pharmaceutical industry, he says.

Source: The Scientist By Kelly Rae Chi

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