Biotechnology Jobs Outlook

Biomedical Products Industry on the Rise

Job opportunities in the biomedical products industry (primarily pharma, biopharma, and medical device manufacturing) are on the rise across the United States, particularly in California.

The 2015 California Biomedical Industry Report from the California Healthcare Institute1 sees the overall picture as promising. It notes that businesses of the “Innovation Pipeline California” have generated total revenues of $101 billion, total wages of $27.4 billion, jobs with an average wage of $101,540, and $3.8 billion in venture capital investment, all the result of a highly successful innovation pipeline.

Why such strong success in California? The state’s outstanding academic centers, robust start-up culture, and successful companies that produce hundreds of new drugs, diagnostics, and devices contribute to these achievements. As a result, the sector, responsible for employing 270,300 people in 2013, has seen a steady growth rate of approximately 4-8 percent in the years since, according to the industry report.

This anticipated job growth is predicted in several key areas, ranging from clinical sciences to manufacturing2, including:

  1. Epidemiology. With the pattern of periodic large-scale outbreak of disease expected to continue, the field of epidemiology has received more attention over the last decade. Expected change in five-year demand: +6%
  2. Bioinformatics and Genetic Counseling. We are at the dawn of individualized medicine made possible by rapid DNA sequencing techniques. This will result in increased need for specialists in the area of genetic counseling to deal with patient populations and identify optimal therapeutic strategies. Expected change in five-year demand: +29%
  3. Microbiology. The discovery of the great influence that microbiomes exert on living systems has astounding implications for clinical science and life sciences in general. Experts will be needed to help characterize and harness these systems. Additionally, in the next 10 years, microbiologists will be called upon to assist with the control and clinical characterization of drug-resistant microorganisms. Expected change in five-year demand: +8%
  4. Biomedical Engineering. Advances in miniaturization of electronics and significant improvements in material engineering have opened the door to a new era of therapeutic medical devices. The list of innovations grows longer each day, and includes systems for “smart” prosthetics, artificial eyesight and hearing, chronic pain suppression, cardiovascular intervention, and targeted drug delivery. Expected change in five-year demand: +27%
  5. Biomedical Research. Clinical advances in treating disease have improved the lives of thousands, and this trend will continue for at least the next 20 years. The demand for individuals trained in chemistry, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and related disciplines will also increase. Entry-level positions in this area typically require a master’s-level degree. Expected change in five-year demand: +35%

Education is key to career opportunities and advancement in the biomedical products industry. Those interested in pursuing these career paths should seek applied graduate training to prepare to meet the demands of the field. Programs like APU’s M.S. in Biotechnology offer training in the listed job growth areas, a critical step to establishing a solid career path in this growing field.

References:

  1. 2015 California Biomedical Industry Report
  2. Phillipidis, A. 2014. Top 10 Biotech Jobs Most in Demand Over the Next Decade: 2014 Edition. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. June 9th edition.
Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.