QA jobs in pharma | 5 key skills
QA jobs in pharma are a steadily growing niche. Quality is the cornerstone of ensuring safe drugs land on the market. In pharmaceuticals, a company’s quality assurance, control and validation really are the lynch pins of developing, manufacturing and marketing drugs that are safe for consumption. To this day, the repercussions of the 1950s Thalidomide tragedy are still felt in families around the world, and has since brought the safety controls of drug production to the forefront of public attention. Since then, rigorous steps have been taken in the life sciences sector to ensure quality across the board.
What skills do you need for a Quality Assurance job in pharmaceuticals?
Firstly, you will need to complete a relevant pharmaceutical or scientific degree. But beyond this, there are several competencies to get a good grasp on before starting a career in Quality. We’ve put together a list of the top 5 skills needed in Quality jobs in Pharmaceuticals:
cGMP Compliance Knowledge
Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) knowledge is a staple in all employees at every level in the life sciences sector. It is a legally enforced regulation that provides the minimum standard that drug manufacturers must meet in their production process. But with the constantly evolving nature of the pharmaceutical industry, it is important to stay current with good practice (cGMP). Whilst many of the roles seek practical experience in a GMP environment, there are training courses available. So, if you are new to the Quality industry, invest in a training course by an accredited industry leader (many of which are available online and for a reasonable price) to get ahead of the game.
When it comes to producing pharmaceuticals, quality means one thing: protecting public safety. With Quality jobs it is important to go beyond simply following policy and procedure. Employers will want to see a commitment to the Quality cause, and a passion for the protection of Public Health. Moreover, they will seek a commitment to ‘Right First Time’ (RFT) – ensuring that procedures are performed correctly the first time, and every time. By adopting an all-encompassing Quality Culture Mentality, quality practises are channelled into every aspect of your work and becomes a value to be lived by.
Attention to Detail
In a highly regulated industry such as pharmaceuticals, there is no room for error. Quality practices are employed at every part of a drugs lifecycle, and a highly refined eye for detail is required at every stage. From following strict policies and regulations, to observing patterns and variations, the ability to be consistently vigilant is crucial to maximising the safety in process and product. Being sharp eyed and minded will help pave the way to a successful Quality job in the pharmaceutical industry.
Problem Solving Skills
Your role in Quality is not simply to identify risks. It is to recommend pragmatic solutions and preventions to help resolve problems that occur. Ultimately, it requires a foresight of the bigger picture, and an understanding that the smallest of errors can have the most profound impacts. You need to be able to demonstrate that you can quickly assess threats, formulate a plan and adapt your approach to fell potential issues.
Excellent Communication and Literacy
Excellent reading comprehension and communication skills are crucial for your careers in Quality. Pharmaceutical production is highly technical, and you will need to interpret regulatory documentation and write technical reports regularly, following principles of good documentation practice (GDP). The role of a Quality professional is to be as specific and accurate as possible. As such, a breakdown in communication or misinterpretation of a document could be the difference between safe production and a manufacturing catastrophe.
Quality Assurance jobs in Pharmaceuticals
- Quality Assurance: Quality Assurance jobs in Pharmaceuticals are process-oriented and aim to remove variation in the processes of manufacturing. Quality Assurance jobs roles include QA Specialist and QAV Engineer.
- Quality Control: Quality control is product-oriented and focuses on testing samples throughout the manufacturing process to ensure the product is safe for distribution. Roles in this area of Quality include QC Technician and QC Analyst.
- Validation Engineer: This involves assessing and documenting equipment and process to ensure that production is compliant at all stages of drug manufacture. Examples of roles within validation include CQV Engineer, QA Validation Specialist and Document Controller
Find your next quality job with Quanta
Are you looking for your next Quality job in pharmaceuticals? Our Life Sciences team are expert recruiters in Quality Assurance and Compliance committed to making a difference to the healthcare industries and placing the highest quality candidates across the globe. Whether you are searching for your next Quality contract job or wish to discuss the limitless career opportunities with pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, reach out to Quanta today, or search for opportunities on our life sciences jobs page.