Regulatory Affairs Specialists
Regulatory affairs specialists work in many different industries, including aerospace and defense, biotechnology, business services, construction, education, government, energy and utilities, financial services, health care, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing durable and nondurable, pharmaceuticals, retail and wholesale, software, telecom, and transportation. Some specialists work as consultants for legal, research, or marketing firms. There are approximately 317,600 compliance officers, including regulatory affairs specialists, employed in the United States, according to the Department of Labor.
Regulatory affairs specialists may start in this career as regulatory affairs associate or through an internship. They receive on-the-job training that may last several months or up to one year or longer. Ask your school's career services office for help with the job search. You may also find job postings on professional associations' Web sites, such as the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (https://www.raps.org/careers), and on employment Web sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired.
Regulatory affairs specialists with several years of experience may advance to become regulatory managers. They oversee the work of regulatory project teams and make sure project schedules are followed and deadlines are met. They may advance to become associate regulatory directors, regulatory directors, vice presidents, and head of regulatory affairs. Specialists may also advance by leaving full-time positions to start their own consulting businesses. They may get certification and go back to school for an advanced degree. Advancement also comes in the form of increasing involvement in professional associations by teaching workshops, lecturing at conferences, and mentoring students and those new to the regulatory affairs field.
Tips for Entry
Get an internship or part-time job in a regulatory affairs department of a company. Find job listings at https://www.raps.org/careers, and also ask your school's career services office for help with the job search.
Read publications related to the industry in which you plan to work, to learn about news and trends. Some examples include such magazines as Food Safety Magazine (https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com) and Today's Medical Developments magazine (https://www.todaysmedicaldevelopments.com/magazine).
Enhance your knowledge and skills by joining a professional association such as the National Society of Compliance Professionals or the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society.
Find information about the Office of Regulatory Affairs by visiting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Web site at https://www.fda.gov/about-fda/fda-organization/office-regulatory-affairs.