It's not all pure Science: Alternative pathways to careers in Biotech  
10/26/2007 4:40:47 PM

A word from our partners at

Life Science is one of the 21st Century’s most exciting fields. Its industrial applications spawn everything from organic tomatoes to biodegradable plastics, and biopharmaceuticals are making inroads in treating disease.  The quest to explore this new frontier points to a trend: Jobs. Lots of them.

But contrary to popular opinion, you do not need "hard science" degrees like Bacteriology, Computational Chemistry, Bioinformatics, Virology or Pharmacy to join this exciting field. With online education you'll acquire practical, cutting-edge skills - without wearing a lab coat.

Whether you're interested in getting funding for recombinant DNA research, overseeing clinical trials for "miracle drugs", or selling biomedical devices, you can wear many non-science hats in a biotech field.

Online degrees offer a mix of academics and industry-specific training to give you myriad Life Science career pathways. Based on real-life job postings, we've culled examples of non-science jobs that feed backbone of Biotech. Imagine, for a moment, a day on the following jobs:

Business Administration 

Sales Consultant – Whether you hawk a immunoassay reagent product line or computer-based imaging equipment or vascular drugs, your number one focus is building relationships with current or prospective end-users.  

Buyer/PlannerB.S. in materials/contract management. You'll perform supplier audits, write and conduct major contract negotiations for capital equipment and raw materials.

Business Research Projects Manager - Oversee drugs through pre-clinical development and trials for the National Health Institute, while leading teams and evaluating market opportunities or strategic partnerships with investors.

Associate Product Manager B.S. in Business/Marketing. Whether the product is a line of spinal products or orthopedic medical devices, you oversee product development, market analysis, product mix and ROI analysis. There are field trips, too: You may coordinate surgeons' visits to cadaver labs for product testing.

Online Psychology Degrees:

Employee Relations Consultant – B.S. in Human Resources; MBA / MS in HR or Psychology preferred. You'll oversee performance management, conflict resolution, employee job counseling and training.

Scientific/Technical Recruiter – As the headhunter for company that specializes in clinical decision-support systems, you develop talent recruitment strategies while partnering closely with business units the HR department.

Information Technology

Author/Technical Writer You feed the technical backbone of one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies (known for Robitussin and Advil). A typical day on the job includes analyzing record requirements, designing documents and testing scripts.

Senior Systems Analyst – You oversee IT operations for a hospital that manufactures cardiovascular medical devices.

Information Scientist - Chemistry Manager: You'll develop information systems to support R&D innovation and decision-making, develop new modeling methods, visualizing and analyzing chemistry based information from internal, literature and patent sources.

Director of Business Development – A day on the job with a small genomics technology provider usually includes performing vendor and subcontractor audits to conform to ISO 9001 standards.

Online Heath Care Degrees

Director of Regulatory Affairs B.S. in science or health discipline. You run a tight ship at a biomedical device company, coordinating projects, plans and schedules related to assay development, product engineering and manufacturing.

Clinical Project Manager, Anti-InfectivesBS in Health Sciences, Nursing; experience in clinical development environment. You are the study team leader at a large pharmaceutical company that manufactures allergy drugs. You manage clinical studies from conception to submission, and work closely with vendors on contingency plans, budgeting, drug supply.

Related Links:

Biotechnology Jobs

National Center for Biotechnology Information

Advance Your Education and Accelerate Your Career

Online Masters & Graduate Degrees: What's Your Next Step?

Today's Trend in Online Education

About is a leading online education portal, having connected more than 3 million students with online college programs—from undergraduate to advanced degrees to professional certificates.  For more information on, visit