Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

What types of employees will firms be hiring in the near future?

To view an updated version of the top biotech jobs click here.

Last year was rough for U.S. biopharma employment. As GEN has reported, the industry announced more than 22,000 layoffs during 2013, according to Challenger Gray & Christmas, 57% more than in 2012. The next few years don’t appear to be much easier, as biopharma continues to absorb blows that include rising healthcare reform costs, continued economic weakness, and patent-cliff losses. Another potential blow to industry is price containment, if European and some Asian countries continue see little benefit from new six-figure specialty drugs, and if Washington can do more about the pricey treatments than muster up some grousing from politicians.

Yet there remain some glimmers of hope amid the gloom, namely projections for continued job growth over a decade in certain positions across U.S. biopharma. Below is a list of 10 research and clinical biotech occupations projected to add jobs through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–15 Edition, ranked in order of the number of expected additional jobs to be created between 2012 and 2022. Each occupation also lists the number of jobs in 2012 as counted by BLS, the percentage increase between 2012 and 2022, the median pay per year in 2012, and a description of the position. 

#10. Epidemiologists

Employment change, 2012–22: 500 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 5,100 jobs

Job outlook, 2012–22: 10%

Median pay, 2012: $65,270 per year

About the position: Epidemiologists compile data to try and understand the causes of diseases, improve public health issues, and prevent future problems. They do this by conducting various experiments, surveys, and interviews and studying the data they compiled. Being highly observant is a requirement in this field due to the constant demand for them to analyze data and plan studies in order to find new statistics about diseases, and then report those findings to others in the medical and public health field.

#9. Genetic Counselors

Employment change, 2012–22: 900 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 2,100 jobs

Job outlook, 2012–22: 41%

Median pay, 2012: $56,800 per year

About the position: Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and advice to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.

#8. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Employment change, 2012–22: 1,000 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 20,100 jobs

Job outlook, 2012–22: 5%

Median pay, 2012: $57,710 per year

About the position: Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the physical characteristics of animals, animal behaviors, and the impacts humans have on wildlife and natural habitats. 

#7. Microbiologists

Employment change, 2012–22: 1,400 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 20,100 jobs

Job outlook, 2012–22: 7%

Median pay, 2012: $66,260 per year

About the position: Microbiologists focus primarily on the classification and functions of microorganisms found in humans, plants, water, etc. They organize, conduct, and supervise complex research on these microscopic organisms. Through analysis of their findings, microbiologists obtain new knowledge about these organisms and translate that into ways to develop new drugs to combat diseases.

#6. Biomedical Engineers

Employment change, 2012–22: 5,200 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 19,400

Job outlook, 2012–22: 27%

Median pay, 2012: $86,960 per year

About the position: Biomedical engineers use their knowledge of engineering to design and construct systems and products for medical usage. The products that biomedical engineers create and produce are essential to the diagnosis of medical ailments. They are responsible for the reparation of the devices they build, the assurance of their functionality and safety, and work very closely with scientists, doctors, and others in the medical field to observe the engineering components of biological processes and systems to plan their developments accordingly. Some products that biomedical engineers provide include prostheses, such as artificial organs, and devices such as MRIs and CAT Scans.

#5. Biochemists and Biophysicists

Employment change, 2012–22: 5,400 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 29,200

Job outlook, 2012–22: 19%

Median pay, 2012: $81,480 per year

About the position: Biochemists and biophysicists design and perform various complex tests for their research. Their job spans from studying proteins, DNA, RNA, and several other molecules to studying and testing already developed drugs and the effects that they have on biological systems and more.

#4. Chemical Technicians

Employment change, 2012–22: 6,000 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 63,600

Job outlook, 2012–22: 9%

Median pay, 2012: $42,920 per year

About the position: Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, and produce chemical products and processes.

#3. Biological Technicians

Employment change, 2012–22: 8,000 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 80,200

Job outlook, 2012–22: 10%

Median pay, 2012: $39,750 per year

About the position: Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists carry out their research and experiments. They are responsible for the set-up and maintenance of labs, and the cleaning of lab instruments and equipment to ensure they are ready for use. They prepare samples in the lab for analysis, conduct their own tests and experiments, compile data, and record their findings.

#2. Medical Scientists

Employment change, 2012–22: 13,700 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 103,100

Job outlook, 2012–22: 13%

Median pay, 2012: $76,980 per year

About the position: Medical scientists specialize in researching and investigating biological systems in order to further understand and treat human diseases. Their work can span from conducting their own experiments and research based on unique hypotheses, to further investigating preexisting drugs and diseases by performing clinical trials.

#1. Medical and Clinical Lab Technologists & Technicians

Employment change, 2012–22: 70,600 more jobs

Number of jobs, 2012: 325,800

Job outlook, 2012–22: 22%

Median pay, 2012: $47,820 per year

About the position: Medical and clinical lab technologists and technicians work in either labs or health care facilities and perform tests studying blood, fluids, organs, tissue, and other substances they have collected in order to analyze. The technologists usually perform the more difficult tasks and supervise the technicians. The two work together to operate lab instruments and equipment. Technologists and technicians can either be general or specialize in a particular field, which include but are not limited to clinical chemistry, blood banks, immunology, and molecular biology.

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