Online career education in clinical research administration can be found through universities and some professional organizations. Some relevant organizations offer distance learning programs in clinical research administration or coordination. The Society of Clinical Research Associates (www.socra.org) and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (www.acrpnet.org) are two industry associations through which prospective students can take online clinical research certification courses.
Online training in clinical research administration or coordination can also be found at some colleges and universities. These programs may lead to professional certification as well, and usually consist of about 100 hours of instruction. Classes normally are in the form of intensive workshops that cover topics such as the drug development process, clinical trial design and protocol and device development. These programs may involve on-site classes that are blended with online training materials and assessments. Students are typically clinical professionals and, in some cases, these programs are available specifically for existing staff members of a research institution.
Individuals interested in formal degrees can also enroll in fully online associate or master's programs in clinical research or health sciences. Master's programs usually require professional work experience.
Associate of Applied Science: Clinical Research Coordinator
Combining skill-based instruction with practical training, an online associate's degree program in clinical research usually provides individuals with an opportunity to simultaneously earn professional certification and a college degree. Students who complete these programs are normally prepared to collect clinical research data, interact directly with patients and families and ensure the accuracy of research documentation.
Master of Science in Health Sciences
Online master's degrees in health sciences can be earned with a clinical research administration concentration. Applicants to these programs must have a bachelor's degree and typically are required to have professional experience as healthcare practitioners or administrators. The clinical research coursework is designed for healthcare professionals who need to gain or enhance skills in this area for their careers.
Like those offered on campus, these programs give students a comprehensive understanding of the processes in which various medical products and treatments are developed. Regulatory requirements, ethical issues in the field, the business of clinical research and various scientific method processes are also covered.
Specific courses in an online clinical research administration master's degree program can include:
- Research methods for health professionals
- Issues and trends in the healthcare field
- Medical writing for clinical research
Schools offering online programs in clinical research administration typically use a variety of tools to facilitate learning and interaction with classmates. Students can expect to see lectures, videos, training documents and assignments available in a virtual classroom environment. Discussion boards, chat rooms and video conferencing may be utilized so that instructors and students can communicate.
Although there are several distance learning options in this field of study, some programs require on-campus attendance. Training programs for clinicians, which may lead to certification, may have in-class sessions while master's programs could require students to conduct in-depth research projects at their place of employment or at another approved clinical setting. Some graduate programs require a thesis which involves significant research and an oral defense.
An associate degree in clinical research coordination and a master's degree in health sciences are available online to prepare for a career in clinical research administration. These programs typically emphasize topics such as research methodology, healthcare current issues and medical writing for clinical research.