Technicians and Operators
Within pharmaceutical manufacturing, technical staff ensure the smooth running of operations in a range of roles.
Working as a technician/operator within manufacturing
Different companies will often use different job titles and have different departments within manufacturing, some of the most common and important technician/operator roles are described below.
Manufacturing technicians and assistants work within strict environmentally controlled areas. They are responsible for the operational set-up, operation, control, monitoring and cleaning of various manufacturing process equipment to produce pharmaceutical products. This could be for solids, liquids, creams, etc. following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The precise day-to-day requirements depend on a range of factors, from the type of organisation to type of product being manufactured, but an example of some of the responsibilities of the role are:
- Operating process equipment, following the approved procedures and practices
- Performing cleaning procedures on process equipment
- Being part of the team responsible for the smooth-running of the every-day production duties within the manufacturing environment.
Instrument technicians support and report to plant/maintenance engineers in pharmaceutical manufacturing. They are required in all capacities – such as the production of bulk pharmaceuticals, intermediates and other chemical products – to ensure maintenance tasks are executed in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Key responsibilities include:
- Installation, maintenance and calibration of instrumentation
- Maintaining safety equipment
- Working closely with engineers and the manufacturing department to ensure that all manufacturing demands are met.
Maintenance technicians, process operators, packaging line fitters and many more job titles apply to the manufacturing staff responsible for the day-to-day operations of pharmaceutical manufacture.
Required skills and qualifications
The roles discussed on this page represent opportunities for a range of potential employees from a variety of backgrounds. A degree may be useful, however, it is likely that for the majority of positions experience will be regarded as more important. Many roles will also be available to those with little experience, with companies offering in-house training as well as apprenticeships. Therefore, whether you left school at 18, left university with a bachelor's degree or already have experience working in the industry, it is likely that there is a job for you in pharmaceutical manufacture. What's most important is that you:
- Have good attention to detail
- Are mechanically minded
- Are flexible, well-organised and can work within guidelines
- Are numerate and computer literate.
In an industry which is constantly evolving and growing year after year, there are plenty of opportunities for career progression as a technician or operator within pharmaceutical manufacture. As you gain experience and skills, you have the ability to progress into different roles, and may even have the option to move into an area of the industry which is outside of manufacturing.
Salaries will vary, starting at around £15,000 for entry level roles and going up to £35,000+ for highly technical roles which require less supervision and more experience. The average salary for a mid-level manufacturing technician, without a degree but with some prior experience in a regulated environment and an understanding of health and safety as well as GMP, is £20,000 to £24,000.
Last modified: 20 September 2023
Last reviewed: 20 September 2023