Certified Clinical Research Professional: Job Description & Requirements

Sep 30, 2019

Clinical research is generally a program that teaches students about the protocols and practices of clinical trials and experiments. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Certified clinical research professionals include medical scientists, medical and clinical lab technicians, and medical and clinical lab technologists. Medical scientists perform experiments to test medications, lifestyle changes and health-related hypotheses. Medical and clinical lab technicians run tests on bodily fluids, while medical and clinical lab technologists are qualified to perform more advanced tests.

Essential Information

Certified clinical research professionals typically have degrees in business administration, statistics, nursing, medical technology, or clinical laboratory studies. There are specific programs geared towards clinical research at all levels, ranging from associate's degrees to graduate degrees. Certified clinical research professionals supervise and oversee clinical trials for medicines, other products, and technologies. Potential job titles for this profession include medical scientist, medical and clinical lab technician, and medical and clinical lab technologist. There are different certifications and licensure requirements for each specific career.

Career Titles Medical Scientist Medical and Clinical Lab Technician Medical and Clinical Lab Technologist
Education Requirements Medical degree and/or related Ph.D. Associate's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% 11% 11%
Median Salary (2018)* $84,810 $40,350 $40,350

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Medical Scientist

In order to improve the health of humans, medical scientists run clinical experiments to test out new medications, the effects of lifestyle changes, or other health-related hypotheses. Some scientists work at universities and supervise the students and technicians assisting with experiments. Other scientists may work for private organizations, the government, or the military. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of medical scientists have both degrees in medicine (e.g. M.D.s or O.D.s) and doctorates in other related fields. Licensure as a physician is required for medical scientists who conduct experiments that involve administering medicines or other treatments to humans.

Medical and Clinical Lab Technician

In general, technicians run tests on bodily fluids or other specimens. They prepare specimens in accordance with safety and legal protocols, they follow instructions concerning which tests to run, and they upload results into central databases. Technicians usually work under technologists or other laboratory administrative staff. Information from the BLS shows that most technicians hold associate's degrees in clinical laboratory studies or some other related field. Some schools may have related certificate programs. In states that require laboratories to be licensed, technicians may need to become certified as part of the laboratory licensure process. Technicians can become certified in particular fields, and the process usually involves meeting education and experience requirements as well as passing the necessary exams.

Medical and Clinical Lab Technologist

Like technicians, technologists also conduct tests on bodily fluid specimens and upload results, but technologists have the skills and training to run more advanced testing procedures. Furthermore, technologists are usually in a supervisory position over laboratory workers. While technologists have training in many general types of laboratory testing, it is not uncommon for them to specialize, especially if they work at larger facilities. To find employment, these professionals require bachelor's degrees in areas related to medical laboratory technology. Some states have licensing requirements for technologists, but those requirements vary. Certification may also be required, depending on state guidelines. Professionals can usually fulfill the licensure and certification requirements by passing exams and providing proof of educational training.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the employment of medical scientists is expected to grow by about 8% between 2018 and 2028. Predictions for the same decade show that laboratory technicians will experience an 11% increase in available job opportunities, whereas technologists will only experience a 11% increase. Statistics gathered by the BLS in 2018 indicated that the median annual salary for medical scientists was $84,810. During that same year, the median annual salary earned by technicians was $40,350, and technologists earned $52,330 , per the BLS

The educational requirements for certified clinical research professionals vary. Medical scientists are required to have a medical degree or PhD. Medical and clinical lab technicians need an associate's degree, while medical and clinical lab technologists must have a bachelor's degree. Certification requirements vary based on state guidelines.

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