A bachelor's degree program in clinical research is designed to teach students to conduct laboratory tests and coordinate clinical trials. Students who choose to earn a vocational certificate may take up to 8-12 courses. They should receive the education necessary to sit for a certification examination. The Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) certification, awarded by the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, is the most common certification for individuals in this field. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is necessary for admission into a bachelor's program, whereas an undergraduate degree could be required for a certificate program. Both programs are commonly available online.
Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research
Students enrolled in a clinical research bachelor's degree program learn to perform clinical tests for new drugs and medical devices. They gain background in scientific methods and laboratory procedures, as well as learn to coordinate human clinical trials, properly record findings, start new research and follow safety regulations.
Bachelor's degree programs in clinical research are typically offered by 4-year universities. They require incoming students to complete general education courses in science, mathematics and humanities before they can declare a major. Students interested in completing the laboratory components of a clinical research degree program are often asked to submit to a drug screen and gain CPR certification.
Bachelor's degree programs in clinical research often consist of foundational science courses, managerial skills courses and advanced laboratory experiences. Some examples of these include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Biomedical ethics
- Psychology of health
- Leadership and organizational skills
Clinical Research Coordinator Certificate
Students enrolled in the vocational certificate program learn the basic skills behind managing and coordinating clinical drug and research trials. Students are expected to already have a foundational background in health science and laboratory science, and they are required to study the basics of clinical trial regulations, safety protocols and trial management.
A bachelor's degree is the most standard prerequisite for gaining admission into a clinical research coordinator certificate program. Different schools accept students with a variety of baccalaureate degrees, but students typically should have completed courses in human anatomy, physiology, biology and chemistry. Courses usually cover:
- Introductory clinical research
- Clinical research regulations
- Clinical research coordinator laboratory skills
- Clinical trials pharmacology
- Clinical trials coordination and management
- Data analysis
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report data relating specifically to the career of clinical research coordination. The BLS did state, however, that medical and clinical laboratory technologists held 162,950 jobs in the United States in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Jobs were predicted to grow 18% between 2014 and 2024. These professionals earned a mean annual salary of $61,860 in May 2015.
The Association of Clinical Research Professionals offers several different designations and certifications within the field of clinical research. The Clinical Research Coordinator designation is for those individuals who oversee and manage clinical trials. Individuals must complete at least one year of educational training in the field of clinical research or provide proof of at least two years professional experience in the field before they can sit for the computer-based examination.
A Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research prepares graduates to perform medicinal and health technology trials, while a Clinical Research Coordinator certificate focuses on trial coordination and management. Graduates can work as medical and clinical laboratory technologists.