Clinical Research Coordinator Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options
Clinical Research Coordinator Video: Educational Requirements and Career Options Transcript
Are you a whiz when it comes to organization and planning? Consider a career as a clinical research coordinator. These professionals manage medical and scientific research projects that investigate new medicines, therapies and treatments. A bachelor's degree in a scientific field and professional certification are required for most positions. Armed with these credentials you can also pursue positions as a clinical data management professional or a clinical research assistant.
Clinical research studies have been responsible for groundbreaking advances like cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs and the polio vaccine. Organizing a clinical research study requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. Duties include recruiting test subjects, scheduling appointments, collecting data and more. A bachelor's degree in Chemistry, Biology or a related field is needed along with a professional certification.
Job Duties and Skills
Testing a new medical treatment or prescription drug requires the combined efforts of many health care professionals. Clinical research coordinators are the professionals who oversee this daunting task.
Clinical research coordinators begin by finding test subjects and securing a test site, usually in a hospital, clinic or lab. During testing, the coordinator must assist with the testing process, provide medications, and answer questions from testers and subjects. After completion of the study, the coordinator is responsible for working with data management professionals to organize the data for analysis and report.
Clinical research coordinators must be organized and able to focus on many small tasks without losing sight of the big picture. Attention to detail is essential, as even the slightest error can contaminate test results. Excellent communication skills are also needed to work with doctors, nurses, research scientists, and the other professionals involved with a clinical research study.
Employers look for candidates who have completed at least a bachelor's degree in a scientific field, such as biology, chemistry or biomedical engineering. These programs include coursework in mathematics and the sciences, as well as analytical research and laboratory skills. However, due to the administrative demands of the profession, employers also look for research and teaching experience. Many students gain these experiences in a master's degree program.
Professional certification is required for many positions. The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) and the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) both offer clinical research coordinator certifications. These certifications require periodic renewal through continuing education courses. Associate's and professional certificate programs exist to help scientific professionals prepare for the licensing examination. Such programs normally take six months to a year to complete and include coursework focusing on health care legislation, research guidelines and methodologies and medical terminology.
Clinical research coordinators are typically employed by research hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and other health care organizations. Many employers look to promote clinical research coordinators to management positions because of the unique blend of scientific, technical and administrative skills that they possess. However, most opportunities for advancement will require a master's degree and some employers may require a doctoral degree.
Clinical research coordinators do not necessarily need to work in medical research. Other opportunities exist in industrial, chemical and technological research companies as well. Depending on their scientific and technical backgrounds, clinical research coordinators may find positions managing research laboratories or coordinating the efforts of teams of research scientists in a variety of industries with far reaching applications.
With their strong scientific background, research coordinators may work as research assistants or research technicians. Due to growing interests in medical research and increased need for new medicines, positions in government regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also be available.
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