When building a career in regulatory affairs at a medical device company, professionals need to consider what is their end goal for their RA career. If they want to go on a people management path versus a hands on staff role, the type of company and type of position they start in can affect how easily it is to achieve their end goal. Let’s take a look at how the career path is different for RA generalists and specialists.
GENERALIST CAREER PATH
Typically regulatory affairs professionals will be generalists if they are working in a small medical device company as they might be involved in more aspects of the business such as both regulatory affairs and quality assurance. Therefore, very specific knowledge of a particular area is not always needed. Additionally, since there are less staff in a small organization, there is a higher chance to be promoted to manager as there is less competition. They will gain experience working with more of a general big picture view which in turn allows them to transfer easily into a people management role in the future.
SPECIALIST CAREER PATH
Alternatively, working in a big corporation would typically involve more specialized work. This can make the regulatory affairs career path more focused on a particular area, making skills more transferable and changing jobs can be easier as many companies want to hire specialists. However, because of the specialization and lack of people management experience, professionals in this career path can find it harder to work up into a Head or Director role though this is not always the case.
While these are the common features of a specialist and a generalist role in regulatory affairs, there are other factors that can affect the regulatory affairs career path. Company size, culture, and product, are all other factors that come into play. To get more information and advice on recommended career paths in regulatory affairs, speak to a specialized regulatory affairs recruitment consultant.
Typically at a small company
Typically at a bigger corporation
General knowledge of RA
More detailed and area specific knowledge
Involved in multiple aspects of RA and sometimes QA
Specific knowledge is high in demand so changing jobs in the future can be easier
More likely to turn into a people management role
Can be harder to work up to a people management role