Graduate Training Capacity for Regulatory Professionals at US Universities: Are We Facing a Talent Crisis?

Abstract

Background:

Talent acquisition in regulatory affairs has been a continuing challenge now exaggerated by demographic shifts and expansion of regulatory requirements nationally and globally.

Methods:

Survey and interview methods were used to provide information on graduation rates, graduate characteristics, and enrollment trends in the 17 US regulatory programs that could be identified to offer graduate degrees in regulatory affairs or regulatory science.

Results:

US programs graduated approximately 522 MS and 4 doctoral students in 2018. About 70% of students attended programs in the Northeast; the remaining students were evenly split between programs in the Northwest and Southeast/Southwest. About half of the programs provided content by distance only. About 127 students were new entrants to the workforce; enrollments for this group most commonly leveled or decreased over the last 3 years. The primary challenge identified by most programs was the high tuition that discouraged participation by qualified candidates for the programs. Challenges were also reported when attracting international students because of tightening visa restrictions and consequent reluctance of industry to hire students with a temporary visa status.

Conclusions:

The small number of graduating regulatory professionals from US universities is alarming because it falls far short of needs estimates for positions in regulatory departments. The particularly low number of entry-level professionals seems unlikely to be adequate as unemployment rates tighten and experienced professionals become harder to attract. These shortfalls may be particularly hurtful to small companies unable to compete for experienced professionals.

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Correspondence to Frances J. Richmond PhD.

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Richmond, F.J., Church, T.D. Graduate Training Capacity for Regulatory Professionals at US Universities: Are We Facing a Talent Crisis?. Ther Innov Regul Sci 54, 947–952 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43441-020-00111-9

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Keywords

  • skills
  • drugs
  • medical devices
  • master's degrees
  • recruitment