Pharmaceutical engineers work in a variety of disciplines in the pharmaceutical industry. These professionals are involved with the design of the drug development process, and the implementation and maintenance of pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated wages for several types of pharmaceutical engineers in May 2010.
Pharmaceutical engineers are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline such as chemical, biomedical or industrial engineering. Engineers interested in a career in the pharmaceutical industry can increase employment opportunities by obtaining the Certified Pharmaceutical Industry Professional administered by the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers.
Industrial engineers are pharmaceutical engineers who ensure manufacturing processes are running efficiently within organizational guidelines and federal regulations. Approximately 4,000 industrial engineers worked in the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S. in 2010. Median wages were $80,490 per year. The 25th percentile earned $62,740 per year, and the 75th percentile earned $98,530 per year.
Chemical engineers in the pharmaceutical industry focus their skills in one of two areas of pharmaceuticals: research and development or chemical processing. Those in research and development study the chemical compounds in drugs to develop dosages. Those in chemical processing develop ways combine ingredients for the manufacturing process of drugs. An estimated 1,670 chemical engineers were in the pharmaceutical industry in May 2010 earning annual median wages of $90,490. The 25th percentile earned $73,950 per year, and the 75th percentile earned $112,720 per year.
Pharmaceutical biomedical engineers apply biological and engineering principles to assist in one or all phases of drug development and manufacturing. Approximately 2,290 of these professionals were in the pharmaceutical industry in May 2010. Annual median wages were $80,490 for biomedical engineers. The 25th percentile earned $62,740 per year, and the 75th percentile earned $98,530 per year.