Pharmaceutical Process Engineer

Build machines for manufacturing medicines.
picture of Pharmaceutical Process Engineer

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$57,000 – $140,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Pharmaceutical Process Engineers do?

A Pharmaceutical Process Engineer designs the equipment and processes that are used to manufacture pharmaceuticals, including ingestible, injectable, and topical medications. If you’ve ever purchased a piece of furniture labeled “some assembly required,” you know just how important it is to have all the right pieces, assembled with all the right tools in exactly the right order. One missing screw or one missed step usually spells disaster. Now, imagine that what you’re building isn’t a bookcase from Ikea, but rather a cure for cancer.

Assembling pharmaceuticals is an extremely complicated and incredibly delicate endeavor. Making sure it’s done right is therefore critical and requires the experience and expertise of a Pharmaceutical Process Engineer.

Whether they treat migraines, diabetes, or arthritis, the medications you help create when you’re a Pharmaceutical Process Engineer are really important to the patients who need them. Because of that, it’s your responsibility to devise the most efficient and effective system possible for making them.

In collaboration with other Engineers, including Pharmaceutical Engineers and Chemical Engineers, you accomplish that by studying, testing, and applying scientific principles in order to extract, develop, mix, crush, transform, heat, distill, and dry medicinal ingredients. In the process, you make decisions about manufacturing equipment — including its layout and configuration — and address variables such as temperature, density, gravity, and pressure. Your goal is to simultaneously lower costs, enhance safety, and maintain quality.

At the end of the day, your job as a Pharmaceutical Process Engineer isn’t inventing the medicine. It is, however, inventing the steps it takes to make it!


Should I be a Pharmaceutical Process Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Process Control Engineer, Process Development Engineer, Refinery Process Engineer

    How to Become a
    Pharmaceutical Process Engineer

    Most Pharmaceutical Process Engineers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9md&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2880%25%29|master%27s+%2816%25%29|doctorate+%284%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,80
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