Have you ever considered a job in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Technology Industry? Even I, a declared math and science buff, never seriously considered pharmaceuticals. That is, until I got the real facts this summer as an intern at the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, a trade association representing 21 major pharmaceutical and medical technology companies in our state.
Don't be misled by the stereotypes: white lab coats, meticulous measurements, and storerooms full of chemicals in every color of the rainbow. The pharmaceutical and med-tech industry is not about complex chemical reactions and pills...it's about helping people and shaping the future.
A recent study found that 46% of New Jersey high school juniors and seniors have taken no math or science honors/AP courses and had no plans to in the future. But what if you could have a surplus of good jobs at your fingertips? Maybe then you'd consider taking some of those science and math courses. Right now, New Jersey's higher education is not graduating enough qualified people to meet the growing need of the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry, which plans to add 15,000 more jobs in the next ten years. They need college graduates with degrees ranging from mostly advanced science and mathematics to MBAs. They need YOU!
The benefits of working in this industry are astounding! Look at the $88,000 average salary today for scientists, sales reps, and execs that in four or five years could go through the roof. Now compare this number and immense job availability with the $56,000 average salary for a computer programmer and the fierce competition to find a promising job in a major corporation's management team. In the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry, you will never start small doing "grunt" work and the room for advancement is limitless. You will not be stuck behind a desk. Instead, you will be a part of a team working for a cause. Unlike computer programmers or engineers, an R&D scientist is encouraged to use his creativity, to think outside the box, and to try new methods. Every day is a challenge and an opportunity to make a significant difference in the world. With your help, science can accomplish heroic feats wiping out disease, easing suffering, and warding off old age and death.
Interested? Check out the story in the fall 2003 edition of njbiz NEXT (your school counselor should have a copy) for more career ideas in pharmaceuticals and information regarding the education and training you will need for one of these high-powered jobs. For the more scientific and technologically inclined, get involved with the many science outreach programs sponsored by New Jersey's major pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. Search company websites (including the HealthCare Institute's at www.hinj.org), ask questions, research scholarships, and pursue internships (like I did!). Most of these jobs will require at least an associate's degree so try to stock up on math and science courses in high school and get a head start in college. You may be saying that math and science are not for you, but what do you have to lose? Nothing. You have only a great career to gain.