Top 5 Life Science Jobs for Working From Home

Top 5 Life Science Jobs for Working from Home March 30, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Many people want a work-from-home job, perhaps better known as telecommuting. It has its appeal—no commute, seemingly flexible hours, you’re only seconds from your refrigerator and bathroom, and the dress code is flexible—you can probably go to work in your pajamas.

There has even been a trend toward so-called “virtual” companies in biopharma, primarily for startup biotech companies where lab space is rented for the wet lab work, but otherwise staffers work from wherever they are. There are—at least—five different categories of telecommuting jobs in biopharma. The job postings listed are examples of the types of jobs, but are not necessarily telecommuting jobs—those depend on the individual employer.

Let’s take a look at the top 5.

1. Clinical

The top job in the clinical arena is Clinical Research Associate (CRA). A CRA monitors ongoing clinical trials, ensuring Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines are being followed. The employment possibilities are broad, with all ends of the clinical trial process requiring CRAs—pharmaceutical companies, medical research facilities, contract research organizations and government agencies.

The background required for a CRA is usually a health science/life science degree and knowledge of GCP and local regulations. In 2012, CNNMoney ranked CRAs as #4 on their list of the “Best Jobs in America,” with a median salary of $90,700.

CRA positions typically require a fair amount of travel, at least regionally.

BioSpace lists a large number of CRA jobs on its job board. Examples include Senior Clinical Research Associate for MyoKardia in South San Francisco, and Field Clinical Research Associate for Seattle Genetics in Bothell, Wash.

2. Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics and data science are increasingly
hot fields in biopharma. More and more, biopharma depends on Big Data, which needs to be stored, handled and manipulated. It is being used in genomics, the human microbiome, crowdsourcing, synthesizing diverse data, drug recycling, clinical data and many other areas. These jobs typically require a master’s degree or PhD in bioinformatics, computer science, epidemiology, statistics and/or life sciences.

Current jobs include bioinformatics lead for Merck & Company in Cambridge, Mass., Bioinformatics Analyst I - Gastrointestinal Oncology for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and Senior Scientist R&D Bioinformatics – Computational Biology for Takeda Pharmaceutical in San Diego.

3. Sales

These aren’t necessarily stay-at-home jobs, and typically require travel, whether through established clients or trade shows. BioSpace currently lists
193 jobs under Sales, ranging from Sales Support Specialist for Topcon Positioning Systems in Oakland, NJ, to Asia Pacific Client Management Representative for Apex Life Sciences. Apex is located in Fremont, Calif., but the job description says, “Involved in growing Product and Service revenue in the territory of China and SE Asia through active management of all stages of the sales process from lead generation, distributor management (of) any facilitation of delivery and international shipping in the assigned territory of China and SE Asia.”

4. Writing

Within biopharma, a medical writer typically works on writing clinical evaluations, or various regulatory submissions, such as New Drug Applications (NDAs). These are often contract jobs and require an ability to string words together, but to also typically have life science degrees and advanced understanding of regulatory documents and procedures. If you’re a more general writer with an interest in biopharma, there are often writing-related jobs involved in corporate communications and public relations.

Examples from BioSpace include Proposal Writer for Voisin Consulting Life Sciences in Cambridge, Mass., Principal Medical Writer for Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical in Novato, Calif., and Copywriter/Content Marketing Writer for Nateria in San Carlos, Calif.

5. Regulatory Affairs

This category often overlaps Medical Writing and CRA positions. A Regulatory Affairs Project Manager is an administrative position that liaises across multiple teams and manages regulatory submissions. BioSpace lists 1,154 jobs in this category.

Examples include Regulatory Affairs Project Manager for Bachem in Torrance, Calif., Commercial Regulatory Affairs Manager for NEOS Therapeutics in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Regulatory Affairs Director for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Other Potential Jobs

A quick Google search of “telecommute biopharma jobs” produces additional job titles that fall into the above five categories, including “GMP Team Leader,” “Research Analyst,” “Data Manager,” “Recruiter,” “Process Documentation Writer,” “Project Coordinator,” “Electronic Submissions Specialist” and others.

Fast Internet connections, Skype, and cloud computing have made telecommuting a real possibility for many jobs in biopharma.

Working out of the house isn’t for everybody. Some people prefer or need the structure of a schedule, or the social environment of office mates and peers. Others find the distractions of TV and social media to be too much in the home environment. But for others, telecommuting can be a great opportunity and way of life.

Check out the latest Career Insider eNewsletter - March 30, 2017.
Sign up for the free bi-weekly Career Insider eNewsletter.

Back to news