Clinical Data Management Training Programs and Requirements

Clinical data managers categorize, arrange and track information that researchers collect during clinical trials of pharmaceuticals and other medical treatments. Typically, they must complete a bachelor's degree program followed by a post-baccalaureate certificate program.

Essential Information

Clinical data managers usually have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a health-related field, work experience and sometimes professional certification. Specific educational requirements vary by employer, although most prefer graduate-level education in the biological or life sciences. Such positions require extensive knowledge of clinical trials and associated regulations.

Post-baccalaureate certificates in clinical trials are the most frequently offered programs to prepare graduates for direct work in the field. Distance-learning and traditional classroom options are both available. Those currently working in a biomedical field or as clinical trials staff are generally eligible to enroll.

Clinical Trials Management Certificate

Clinical data management training heavily emphasizes ethics in research as well as the regulatory aspects of clinical data collection, data management, and drug development. Programs in clinical trials management usually last from 1-2 semesters and include courses on:

  • Clinical trial lifecycle
  • Clinical study design
  • Clinical research methodologies
  • Regulatory issues
  • Biostatistics

Popular Career Options

Prospective employers generally require job candidates to have 2-5 years of experience in assisting with clinical trials in order to obtain the appropriate experience necessary for the clinical data manager role. Specific skills include the development of electronic case report forms, data management plans, data review and reconciliation. The ability to work on a team and to provide leadership to support personnel is also important.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health service managers have a much faster than average projected job growth of 17%, from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, these managers earned a median annual salary of $94,500.

Continuing Education Information

Depending upon the size of the research study, staffing may include one or more clinical data management positions. Therefore, entry-level professionals may acquire additional experience under the supervision of others. Additional, clinical data managers may join the SCDM in order to obtain access to certification processes, educational opportunities and career assistance.

The Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM) offers a Certified Clinical Data Manager certificate. The criteria for certification include a combination of work experience and education totaling a minimum of four years. Following verification of experience, applicants must then pass an examination to earn the certification credentials.

While other programs focus upon the management of lab data and identification of data trends, webinars and workshops are available through SCDM that provide professional advancement opportunities or preparation for the certifying exam.

A clinical trials management certificate program educates healthcare professionals about the ethical and practical aspects of the field. Experience is generally required by employers, and there are options for voluntary further certification.

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