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Pharmaceutical Drug Trial Associate

The pharmaceutical industry develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceuticals  for use as medications.  Currently, the global pharmaceuticals market is worth US$300 billion a year, a figure expected to rise to US$400 billion within three years.

While many of the jobs in the pharmaceutical industry require a science degree, administrative and sales careers are excellent options for English majors, as is the management of clinical trials.

Alumna Elizabeth Bucknam (2011) is now a Senior Clinical Trial Associate at a pharmaceutical company and tells us about her work:

E Bucknam

What is your job?

Senior Clinical Trial Associate

What is the broader field of industry in which this work exists?

Pharmaceutical Industry / Drug Development

What, in general, do you do as part of this job? 

Run clinical drug trials, monitor patient safety

What are the pros and cons of this kind of job?

Pros are definitely the difference I am making in other people’s lives. I can’t say there are many cons, I think I am one of the few people who genuinely enjoy their job.

What skills did you learn as an English major that you use in this job? 

I use the skills I’ve learned as an English major to write study plans, review clinical data, pretty much everything I do in my day to day job. It is a such a useful major to have completed and although I do not use it directly, I use the skills I have learned through the major to be successful in my work every day.

How have you learned to do this job? 

I think I am a very good example that you learn everything you need to know on the job as long as you are willing and able to learn the information being thrown at you.

How did you get this job?

Through my step-dad. Although he helped me get my foot in the door, it was then up to me to prove myself. Because it is so difficult to get jobs these days, I think it helps to use any connections you can.

For current students interested in this line of work, do you have any recommendations on what they can do now to start directing their career path?

I would say start looking into the science field and start making connections. Take advantage of the Career Services; you never know where you might end up!