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Providing on-the-job training and related technical instruction to support the need for important, skilled quality science jobs for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

The Philadelphia region has emerged as a global life science leader and to support the region’s workforce needs, Wistar has created a brand-new Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship (QSPA) in collaboration with Pathway for Patient Health.

The Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship (QSPA) addresses challenges facing the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry workforces through innovative STEM work-based learning and training aimed at providing professional opportunities to traditionally underserved populations. The QSPA combines specialized instruction and hands-on training to address the critical need for a work-based, quality science apprenticeship that will provide an accelerated career pathway to sought-after biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry jobs in the region.

Quality science is an in-demand skill for the growing life science workforce, however opportunities to learn quality science have been limited to on-the-job training. To address this education gap – as well as increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the life science workforce – Wistar works with industry experts and regional employers to offer this apprenticeship that certifies graduates as Quality Science Professionals.

  • Earn industry certification in Quality Science
  • Network with regional industry subject matter experts
  • Access the Pathway for Patient Health’s mentorship network and employer portal
  • Connect to employment opportunities with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies

We license the QSPA curriculum from our collaborator Pathway for Patient Health. The curriculum encompasses three online, industry developed courses taught by subject matter experts from Philadelphia’s leading life science companies.

  • Global Regulatory Requirements of Quality: This course is focused on “why” global regulations were adopted, and the evolution of the quality systems grounded in science.
  • Product Development and Validation: This course is divided into 3 parts: pharmaceutical validation, medical device design controls, and emerging technology (such as 3D printing, cell/gene therapy, and artificial intelligence).
  • Risk Failure Analysis: This course introduces students to the investigation processes and writing scientifically justified conclusions linked to true root cause.
  • Business Acumen: Students are required to take a semester-long business course. We will work with the students to determine if previously taken courses qualify, or to determine which courses will quality. This requirement may be waived for students who are already working in industry.
  • Microbiology and its Laboratory: Students are required to take a semester-long microbiology course through their school. However, if taking microbiology is not possible, we will work with students to identify other laboratory science courses that may qualify. Students who have taken microbiology or another biology laboratory course at some point in their student career will likely have fulfilled this requirement. This requirement may be waived for students who are already working in industry.

Each course will require 3-5 hours per week, including class-time and assignments, and will be offered as an online, synchronous class scheduled in the evening. Upon completion of the program, QSP apprentices receive certification as a Certified Quality Science Professional (CQSP).

During the program, Quality Science Pathway apprentices will have an opportunity to be paired with an industry member based on individual professional interests and will have access to the Pathway Hiring Portal to explore internship and employment opportunities.

After receiving their certification, Quality Science Pathway apprentices have the opportunity to be matched with participating companies for full-time employment and 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training.


Applicants must be current undergraduate students at 2- or 4-year institutions, non-current college students who have completed some college coursework but are not currently enrolled in classes, or recent graduates.

Depending on prior coursework, applicants may also be required to complete additional coursework covering business and laboratory science.


None! The program is free and includes opportunities for full-time employment and paid, on-the-job training.


Create an account and then start your application process using the “Add New Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship 2024-2025 Application” button.

A complete application includes:

  • Online application
  • A personal statement that explains why you are interested in this program and how participation will advance your educational and career goals. Statements should be single-spaced, 12-point font, and no more than 1 page.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts or list of classes taken with grades received

The selection process will include an interview of qualified candidates. Final decisions will be communicated in early August.

Interested students from underserved and/or underrepresented backgrounds, including ethnic or racial minorities, those with disabilities, first to attend college in their family, or from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Wistar Offers New Quality Science Apprenticeship to Bolster Philadelphia Life Science Workforce

Wistar’s associate dean of Biomedical Studies Dr. David Zuzga answers important questions about our new specially-designed Quality Science Pathway Apprenticeship.