FDA Job Descriptions

FDA Medical Officer Career

FDA medical officers perform the key functions of the FDA. They investigate to make sure that drugs manufactured for interstate sale are safe for human use and that their labels correctly explain benefits and risks.

They make sure that vaccines, blood products and medical equipment are safe, and sometimes they inspect food and drug manufacturing plants.

In order to be an FDA medical officer, one must be a medical doctor. Medical officers usually work in the GS-14 and -15 grade level. This job is available in both the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the FDA and in locations throughout the field.

FDA Pharmacist Career

FDA pharmacists perform many of the same job functions as the pharmacists at your local drug store. They fill prescriptions, manage and store different types of drugs and offer expert advice. In addition, FDA pharmacists research new drugs coming on to the market and think of the best ways to store, organize and dispense new drugs coming onto the market. Some FDA pharmacists work with drug companies to evaluate new drugs. Most of these jobs are located in the Washington, D.C. area.

These positions are typically in the range of GS-9 through 13.

FDA pharmacists must have completed at a minimum, bachelor’s degree or higher in Pharmacy. Research-related positions require at least a Master’s in Pharmacy. The higher grade range for this job requires a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.

FDA Microbiologist Career

FDA microbiologists evaluate the data submitted along with new drug applications. They work with new antibiotics before they are released onto the market.

FDA microbiologists also research ways to make food safer by studying food borne illnesses in an effort to understand how they grow and multiply, and how to kill them. FDA microbiologists write reports about their findings so that others can learn from their research.

There is a large range in pay for these positions, from GS-9 through 15. Microbiologists work both in the Headquarters office in the Washington, DC area and in the field, but the highest-level jobs, of course, are located in the nation’s capital.

To work as an FDA microbiologist, you must have a degree in Microbiology or Biology, Chemistry, or basic medical science. During school, your study must have focused on Microbiology and related subjects, and you must also have a good background in Biochemistry, Physics and college math. Higher level positions require more specialized experience and targeted education (for example, a Master’s degree or higher focused on your specific area of expertise).

FDA Consumer Safety Officer Career

FDA consumer safety officers are the people who go out and investigate complaints from the public about injury, illness or death resulting from a product regulated by the FDA. For example, if several different people call the FDA to complain that they developed a horrible rash as a result of using a particular brand of lip gloss, then consumer safety officers would begin investigating the complaints. They would talk to the people making the complaints, and if necessary, they would initiate actions against the violators. Consumer safety officers also work with industry, state and local officials and consumers to make sure people understand enforcement policies and regulations.

There is a large pay range in this job, all the way from a GS-5 through an 11 (field workers) or 13 at headquarters. Consumer safety officers can work either in the field or at the headquarters office.

The job of consumer safety officer requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with a focus on life sciences like biology, chemistry, pharmacy, physics, nutrition or food technology.

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