4 Careers In Medical Affairs PhDs Should Consider (#3 Surprisingly Popular)

Whether you’re a recent PhD or have been pursuing a career in academia, you’ve spent several years, your hard-earned money, and valuable resources working for your advanced degree.

It’s paid off. You have a PhD!

…Now what?

Like the 187,000 Americans expected to earn a PhD in the 2020-2021 school year calendar alone, you’re not just broadening your horizons and expanding your knowledge. You’re also solidifying a wider range of future job opportunities with higher pay.

In most university programs, a PhD is the highest possible degree one can achieve.

That means you’re viewed as having reached the height of formal training in your field. 

But now that you have all that training, what can you do with it? Stay in academia or enter industry? 

Luckily for you, a postdoctoral degree covers a lot of ground. 

After all, there are numerous disciplines in which a PhD can apply. 

From the arts and humanities to earth and life sciences, a doctoral degree opens the doors to a variety of top industry careers. 

You’re not pigeonholed in the world of academia.

A doctoral program sharpens your expertise in a field specialty. 

This positions you to seek top-tier jobs in industry. 

Maybe you’re a current PhD student, an unemployed PhD, or working in a postdoctoral position (with a postdoc salary) and are ready for a career change.

Either way, it may be time to consider the many options available to you in medical affairs. 

What Exactly Is Medical Affairs?

I know, medical affairs sounds awfully generic.

But that’s because it encompasses a lot of areas of emphasis.

Medical affairs is a far-reaching term for the team within a medical company that helps connect the organization to the medical community. 

They streamline communication channels and decipher complex clinical trials and research results for healthcare professionals. 

Medical affairs also works alongside marketing, ensuring organization publications are current, accurate, and meet industry standards.

As a medical affairs worker, you serve as the face of the company.

It’s your mission to develop solid relationships with physicians and communities. 

Medical affairs people are well-versed in confidential company data and published literature. This coupled with their clinical and scientific expertise makes them a truly valuable resource. 

To qualify for a medical affairs for PhDs position, you not only need solid communication skills and the ability to interpret complex data for the general public. 

You must have a high-level degree and demonstrate expertise in a field of research. 

If you have a PhD resume, a career in medical affairs may be the path for you.

Top 4 Medical Affairs Career Paths for PhDs

Because Medical Affairs is such a broad category, there are lots of careers a PhD could pursue in this field. 

1. Medical Science Liaison 

A medical science liaison (MSL) is a great introduction into the field of medical affairs for PhDs. 

This role is field-based and requires lots of regional travel. An MSL will also meet with physicians and other key opinion leaders (KOL) to explain scientific findings surrounding drugs and treatments they’ve been researching.

MSLs require expert knowledge and strong presentation skills to deliver important information and develop relationships with important leaders in the medical community. 

2. Medical Communications Specialist 

Like an MSL, this role calls for field expertise and exceptional communication skills. 

It will be your job to develop relationships with important players in the medical community. 

The medical communications specialist handles research, customer service, and documenting patient reactions. 

You’ll deliver scientific and technical information and will work side by side with marketing, sales, and medical teams within the organization.

3. Medical Advisor 

MSLs and senior medical communications specialists often advance into the role of medical advisor. 

Unlike MSLs and communications specialists, the medical advisor is more of an administrative role. 

It’s an office-based position and revolves more around strategizing than presenting information to an audience.

In addition to an advanced degree and field expertise, medical advisors must be critical thinkers. 

Much of this role is helping marketing and sales teams develop medical strategies that will help advance the organization and generate revenue.

4. Medical Director 

The crowning achievement in medical affairs for PhDs is a medical director position. 

This role oversees a team of healthcare professionals and makes sure their knowledge of the company’s medical products and procedures is current and in line with the organization’s brand. 

They’re also in charge of managing all aspects of medical affairs company-wide. 

Medical director responsibilities include assisting MSLs with KOL visits, making sure their work meets company standards and best practices.

Medical directors also deliver presentations to healthcare professionals, attend ongoing career development training, and visit educational conferences to stay current in industry developments. 

As a medical director, you’ll answer questions about products and studies your team and your company have been exploring. 

A PhD’s knowledge in their focus area and ability to communicate data make them a great fit for this role.

Medical directors not only bring valuable resources with their own pool of contacts. They must be able to network with KOLs and other medical authority figures to develop a reputation of authority on behalf of themselves and their organization. 

How to Accelerate your Medical Affairs Career

To secure a career in medical affairs, grow your skill set and obtain additional experience by:

  • Doing your research: Prepare for your new position by brushing up on industry best practices and policies.
  • Obtaining a final signatory certificate: PhDs who have been pharmacists or are registered physicians can earn this certificate. It grants you the authority to sign off on communication materials distributed by your company.
  • Seeking additional training: Continue professional development training programs to broaden your abilities. This will help you perform your job more efficiently and ensure you’re qualified for a position in an ever-evolving industry.

Get Hired into Top PhD Careers in Medical Affairs

Earning a postdoctoral degree is an investment of time and resources. 

If you’re not sure what to do with your degree, you may be asking yourself, “Is a PhD worth it?” 

Considering a PhD earns more than any other degree and offers a variety of career paths, we think so. 

The Cheeky Scientist Association is the world’s biggest job search training platform, created for PhDs by PhDs. 

We offer numerous programs to help PhDs like you overcome industry challenges. 

From networking with limited time to learning how to negotiate a job offer, Cheeky Scientist can get you hired into a meaningful career with high pay in industry.

Be the first to know when the Cheeky Scientist Association opens to new members. Join the waitlist today.

Join Cheeky Scientist Association
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD Chief Executive Officer at Cheeky Scientist

Isaiah Hankel holds a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. An expert in the biotechnology industry, he specializes in helping other PhDs transition into cutting-edge industry career tracks.

Isaiah believes--from personal experience--that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life, it’s a clear sign that you need to make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.

Isaiah is an internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, and author of the straight-talk bestsellers Black Hole Focus and The Science of Intelligent Achievement.

Similar Articles

If You Have A Rare PhD Background, You Must Know These 8 Facts To Get Hired Into R&D

If You Have A Rare PhD Background, You Must Know These 8 Facts To Get Hired Into R&D

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Most PhDs who join the Cheeky Scientist Association want to become R&D professionals or industry research scientists. There is nothing wrong about that.  After all, the best science and the best research is done in industry. So it’s only normal that PhDs who want to stay close to science are at least considering this career path.  However, after working with PhDs for years, I realized that most PhDs want to become research scientists because they think that they will get to do the same thing they do in academia, so they are more valuable in these positions. If this is…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 24th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 24th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

15 Project Management Concepts That Every PhD Should Understand

15 Project Management Concepts That Every PhD Should Understand

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

PhDs know how to get a project done.  They know how to juggle different projects, how to prioritize between different experiments, and how to achieve results while managing low budgets. This leads them to believe that they know everything there is to know about project management. But here’s the thing, project management in academia is very different from project management in industry. Not understanding this difference leads PhDs to stay unemployed because they don’t know how to react to project management-related questions during the interview process. If you are thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you are not…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 17th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 17th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

How To Use LinkedIn To Find The Best Data Scientist Jobs

How To Use LinkedIn To Find The Best Data Scientist Jobs

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

For the past four years, data scientist has been ranked among the best jobs in America by Glassdoor and it’s easy to see why: Data scientists command a median salary of $123,263 and they have one of the highest job satisfactions in the market.  That’s not a bad position to find yourself in! Right now, we’re in the age of big data. The problem is, there aren’t enough qualified data scientists to satisfy the need for their skillset. If you have a PhD in data analytics or data science, finding a job shouldn’t be hard. However, you don’t want to…

7 Resume Tips That Are Giving PhDs An Unfair Advantage Over Other Job Candidates

7 Resume Tips That Are Giving PhDs An Unfair Advantage Over Other Job Candidates

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Resume is your marketing document. PhDs often think that their academic credentials and technical skills should be enough to get them hired in a top industry job.  They underestimate the importance of learning industry etiquette and focus on uploading resumes filled with scientific jargon and technical skills to every job posting that comes their way. As a consequence, they end up in a vicious circle of uploading resumes and never hearing back from employers. Most of these PhDs don’t even know that their resumes are getting rejected by Applicant Tracking System Software before they even reach the hands of a…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 10th 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 10th 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

The

The "From Scratch" Method Of Setting Up A Successful Job Search Strategy (5 Steps You Can’t Miss)

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

I am working on my job search strategy.  Just last week, I sent over 10 CVs through job portals. I hear this from PhDs all the time. They don’t know what a PhD-level job search actually looks like, so they send a bunch of resumes or LinkedIn requests and expect to see results. The thing is, that strategy will take them nowhere.  It isn’t even a strategy. Recently one of our members noticed why uploading resumes online, not only is not a strategy, but is a waste of time.  “I have been following CSA strategies a lot, but today I…

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 3rd 2021

Best Of Transition: PhD Jobs & Job Search Strategies, July 3rd 2021

By: Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Every week, we at Cheeky Scientist scour the Internet for the best articles on topics that help in the search for the Best of Transition: PhD Job Search in the industry. Our two consultants independently search for the most informative articles in the categories of networking, CVs/resumes, interviews, transferable skills, academic blues, industry positions, and business acumen. Our consultants vote on a top article for each category and a top overall article for the week – if it’s a recent article that can help readers find and acquire PhD jobs, then we want to include it in this weekly digest.…

Top Industry Career eBooks

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Complete LinkedIn Guide For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel

The LinkedIn tips & strategies within have helped PhDs from every background get hired into top industry careers.

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

20 Most Popular Industry Career Tracks For PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD & Arunodoy Sur, PhD

Learn about the top 20 industry careers for PhDs (regardless of your academic background). In this eBook, you will gain insight into the most popular, highest-paying jobs for PhDs – all of which will allow you to do meaningful work AND get paid well for it.

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Industry Resume Guide for PhDs

Isaiah Hankel, PhD

Learn how to craft the perfect industry resume to attract employers. In this eBook for PhDs, you will get access to proven resume templates, learn how to structure your bullet points, and discover which keywords industry employers want to see most on PhD resumes.