Durham Tech program helps students find new career paths in life sciences PlatoAiStream Data Intelligence. Vertical Search. Ai.

Durham Tech program helps students find new career paths in life sciences

This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech

With the growth in life sciences job opportunities in North Carolina, more people are exploring what it would take to pivot to this growing sector.

The good news is there are many examples of people who have made that jump, like Anette Layman.

Layman is from India and earned her Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 2009. She worked for a pharmaceutical company after finishing her schooling before moving to the United States in 2015.

After spending a few years out of the workforce to focus on her family, she discovered the Durham Clinical Trials Research Associate program at Durham Tech Community College that eventually helped her pivot back into the workforce.

The Durham Tech Clinical Trials Research Associate program offers courses in clinical research with an internship component, which provides exposure to practical career application and connections to professionals in the field.

“Through an internship, I gained experience in clinical trials and data management,” she said.

Layman was placed into FHI Clinical, a mid-size Contract Research Organization (CRO) based in Durham that works in infectious disease clinical trial management.

“After three months, I was offered a full-time position with the company as a record management associate, a role that works on the documentation we collect in a clinical trial,” Layman said.

She was promoted within six months. In fact, she has been promoted twice at the company.

“I’m fascinated about the work that I get to do because this company has 50 years of experience in research and clinical trials,” she said.

The Durham Tech Community College program is designed to assist people transitioning careers, regardless of their current work or life situation. The courses are online allowing students to learn at their own pace. Additionally, there is a supportive community that ensures the success of their students.

“You know about all the procedures and regulations to follow in clinical trials, all phases and more,” she said. “My background plus the new theoretical knowledge that I gained from [Durham Tech] was very helpful.”

Advice from a local recruiter

Jessica Lyon, a senior recruiter with Frankel Staffing, a local firm that specializes in the life sciences industry, said she meets candidates regularly who are ready to make the jump into life sciences.

“I just spoke with someone the other day who’s a dietitian and she’s looking to transition into clinical research,” Lyon said. “She doesn’t want to do patient care anymore.”

During her discussion with that candidate, Lyon learned what that person enjoyed in a job, what she was looking for in her next position, and what would create satisfaction for her at work.

“I want to make sure that the job is going to be exciting and not boring for the candidate,” she said.

Lyon, who has a background in science, earned her undergraduate degree in health science and a master’s degree in gerontology. After school, she worked in hospice care and then became a sales representative for a drug company. Eventually, she landed at Frankel Staffing where she has been able to apply her science background towards helping the industry find qualified candidates.

Lyon said she will often tell a candidate to go to a job board and look at different positions to identify their interests.

Often companies will say you need to have a bachelor’s degree or a certification. But they also may want someone who’s an independent thinker and intellectually curious, she said.

“It may be the type of people they have and the type of people they’re looking for,” she said. “I think it’s very important to look at that. You also want to show that you are engaged in the process and that you’re interested.”

Resumes are still important, Layman said, and she suggested having more than one resume.

“You need to make sure that it doesn’t say you’re looking for a scientist role when you’re applying for a coordinator position,” she said. “Maybe you have one resume that’s kind of a generic resume, but then you have something that’s more tailored to each position.”

When it comes to a cover letter, Lyon said it needs to be “short and sweet.”

“Make sure it’s formatted well,” she said. “Many times I see resumes where the font is off or the bullets aren’t aligned up. If [my] client is looking for someone who has attention to detail, you’ve already shown me that you don’t have that.”

But overall, Lyon said candidates shouldn’t be afraid to consider a move to a new career in the life sciences because so many, like Layman, have shown how that pivot can be done successfully.

“Experts like those at Durham Tech Community College know everything to help guide you to choose the right path,”Layman said. “So my suggestion, don’t hesitate to pick the courses or to choose the career you want.”

Learn more about Durham Tech’s Clinical Research Programs at durhamtech.edu.
This article was written for our sponsor, NCBiotech

Time Stamp:

More from WRAL Techwire