Pharmaceutical management professionals make business and financial decisions regarding research and development of new medicine, marketing, and sales. They decide which types of medication should be developed and how they will be marketed to the public once they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Required Education and Skills
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; master's typically preferred|
|Degree Field(s)||Biology, chemistry, or other health sciences field|
|Experience||Industry experience required|
|Key Skills||Excellent verbal/written communication and research skills; solid business, management, math, and science background|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||Slight decline in prospects|
|Mean Annual Salary (2015)||$140,740 - $220,980 depending on the position and responsibilities|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are a limited number of pharmaceutical management positions available to candidates with bachelor's degrees. Advanced positions require a master's degree or higher. It takes four years for most people to earn a bachelor's degree and it usually takes an additional two years to obtain a master's degree. Students interested in entering the pharmaceutical management profession should take courses like biology, chemistry, business management, finance, human resources management, mathematics, and pharmacology.
Pharmaceutical management professionals need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills and should have a good sense of business and management principles. They should also have a strong math and science background in order to understand research-oriented parts of the job.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Clinical and Hospital Pharmacy
- Clinical and Industrial Drug Development
- Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry
- Pharmaceutical Economics
- Pharmaceutics and Drug Design
- Pharmacy Administration and Regulation
- Physical Pharmacy and Cosmetic Sciences
Job Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a slight decline in job growth for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry between 2014 and 2024. Wages for pharmaceutical management positions vary. However, the mean annual wage for all management occupations within pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industries was $140,740 in May 2015, per the BLS. Those working as chief executives earned $220,980, while general and operations managers earned $155,590 that same year. The mean wage for top executives was listed as $163,210.
Alternate Career Options
If you're considering a career in pharmaceutical management, you also might want to explore two related careers: epidemiologist and natural sciences manager.
Epidemiologists typically have at least a master's degree in public health or epidemiology. These scientists study the causes and patterns of human diseases and injuries to improve public health. From 2014-2024, average employment growth of 6% was predicted. The BLS reported an annual mean salary of $76,900 for epidemiologists as of May 2015.
Work experience as a scientist is essential in this position for natural sciences managers. These professionals typically hold a degree ranging from a bachelor's to a Ph.D. in areas such as engineering, natural science or public administration. Slower than average growth in jobs was expected, with a 3% increase predicted by the BLS during the 2014-2024 decade. According to BLS reports, natural science managers earned a mean wage of $136,570 per year as of May 2015.
In summary, career opportunities in pharmaceutical management are expected to decline slightly in the coming years. An advanced degree typically is required to work in this field.