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In-demand Jobs Spotlight – Cleanroom Technicians

Two workers in a cleanroom wear white coveralls, gloves, facemasks and clear safety glasses as they review information on a tablet.

It’s not just a matter of assembling more at-home COVID-19 tests. Cleanroom technicians and operators are also playing a major role in how manufacturers are responding to changes in consumer habits. The pandemic disrupted how patients traditionally worked with medical professionals. Thanks to easing restrictions and the emergence of telehealth, testing and other medical procedures are increasing. The companies that manufacture the essential products and tools needed for these services are aggressively hiring cleanroom workers.

Cleanroom jobs aren’t for everyone. However, those that thrive working in a highly regulated environment and have excellent attention to detail skills should consider cleanroom career opportunities.

We recently spoke with Strategic Account Executive Jessica Fong about the growing demand for cleanroom technicians. Jessica has over 18 years of recruiting experience and she currently works with some of the largest manufacturers in the life sciences space to fill their cleanroom openings.

She explained what it’s like starting a career as a cleanroom technician and why the demand for these skills should remain strong for the foreseeable future.

An exciting opportunity with caveats

There are several benefits to working in a cleanroom. Primarily, you get to work in an industry that literally saves lives. Often, you’ll be assembling or packing the products and tools used in medical testing and procedures.

Cleanroom technician or operator positions are often entry level and a great way to get your foot in the door of an expanding industry. Many companies offer competitive wages since the work can be more complicated than jobs with similar hiring requirements.

These jobs can lead to other opportunities as you gain experience. Along with achieving a leadership or supervisory position, Jessica has seen workers branch out to roles in quality assurance and engineering.

Before you begin hunting for cleanroom jobs, understand there are some restrictions that come with working in a sterile field.

“I describe it like working in an operating room, but instead you’re in a manufacturing space. Similar to how a nurse or doctor has to “scrub in”, cleanroom workers also have to wear the appropriate gowning equipment and wash their hands in a sterile environment,” says Fong.

Cleanrooms are a contaminant-free zone. Phones must be left outside the work area and workers cannot wear makeup, nail polish, colognes or perfumes.

You can learn more details about working in a cleanroom by reading our previous article – “Attention Assembly Workers. Have You Heard About Cleanroom Jobs?”

Why more cleanroom workers are needed

Some of the current demand for cleanroom workers can be attributed to COVID-19 testing. However, there are additional reasons why companies in the medical device, diagnostic and biopharmaceutical industries are hiring for positions in the cleanroom.

“It’s a perfect storm of a lot of things coming together. As a country we’ve increased our investment in COVID testing, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Supply chain concerns are easing, hospitals aren’t as overwhelmed and elective surgeries are resuming,” says Fong.

An increase in preventive health screenings and the return of elective surgeries means manufacturers now have more orders to fill and they need workers who can meticulously assemble and pack medical products and tools.

Why the demand will last

Fong points out that the need to innovate and respond to changing consumer preferences will keep the demand for cleanroom technicians high. At-home testing is becoming a familiar practice and new testing methods for food allergies, cholesterol and other health concerns are gaining in popularity.

“Diagnostics as an industry is experiencing tremendous growth with the transition to telemedicine and being able to figure things out from afar,” says Fong. “I believe cleanroom skills are going to remain strong in the future, it’s not going to slow down especially as more customers come into existence over the next couple of years.”

Another reason the future looks bright for cleanroom workers is the amount of new lab space being built. Investments in the life sciences are at record highs and companies will need to keep hiring to fill new positions. Workers with cleanroom experience are in a great position to advance their careers as businesses aim to stay flexible and profitable.

Looking for your first or next cleanroom technician job? Search for opportunities in your area.