Clinical Coordinator: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Learn what clinical coordinators do. See what kind of education is required. Get information about career prospects and earning potential in this field.

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Career Definition for a Clinical Coordinator

Clinical coordinators ensure that all necessary resources are in place when needed for a clinical trial or other clinical research project, such as guidelines, staff, and supplies. Some clinical coordinators work in research settings, concentrating on clinical trials of new medications or medical devices. Others work in health services or community health settings, facilitating client support or treatments and patient care. Depending on the setting, some evening or weekend work may be required. Regardless of the workplace setting, clinical coordinators are responsible for the management of projects and programs as a whole, while managing and delegating the smaller details as needed.

Education Bachelor's degree required, master's also available
Job Skills Time management, leadership, interpersonal skills, record keeping
Median Salary (2015) $94,500 for medical and health services managers*
$120,160 for clinical research coordinators**
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% for medical and health services managers*
2-4% for clinical research coordinators**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **ONET Online

Required Education

Clinical coordinators are required to have a bachelor's degree and often a master's degree. Clinical coordinators are likely to have a degree in life sciences or another subject relevant to the mission of the organization they work for, like nursing, social work or psychology. Some jobs in clinical coordination require additional professional licensing. In addition to the subject-specific courses needed for a bachelor's or master's degree, clinical coordinators may take classes in medical ethics, record keeping, and financial management.

Skills Required

Clinical coordinators need time management, leadership, and record keeping skills in order to balance the multiple factors involved in successful clinical studies or patient care programs. Clinical coordinators also need strong interpersonal skills because they may work directly with research program participants or health care service clients, colleagues, and program administrators.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects an increase in the number of outpatient settings for patient care, which would necessitate an increase in the number of clinical coordinators working for community and outpatient health care services. Future increases in health care research mean future job opportunities for clinical coordinators with clinical research organizations and related groups, as well. The median annual salary reported by the BLS for medical and health services managers in May 2015 was $94,500, and jobs were expected to increase by 17% in the field for 2014-2024. O*NET OnLine published a projected employment growth rate of 2%-4% for clinical research coordinators from 2014-2024. The same source estimated the median annual salary for a clinical research coordinator was $120,160 in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Consider these other career paths in management:

Clinical Data Manager

A clinical data manager is a kind of statistician responsible for taking data collected through clinical trials or research projects and analyzing it; they look for patterns, trends or other meaningful relationships. It is possible to get a job with only a bachelor's degree, but most statisticians have a master's degree in statistics or a related field; those working in healthcare-related fields often have completed relevant coursework in healthcare or natural sciences, too. The BLS reports that jobs for clinical data managers are expected to increase 34% from 2014-2024; it also reports that the median annual salary for this occupation was $80,110 in 2015.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

A regulatory affairs specialist ensures that a company or organization carries out tasks according to established applicable rules or regulations. Duties may include conducting audits or inspections; regulatory affairs specialists may also communicate regulatory standards to employees and write reports as needed. Regulatory affairs specialists may need at least a bachelor's degree to get a job. O*NET Online reports that employment for regulatory affairs specialist is expected to grow 2-4% from 2014-2024; the median annual salary was $65,640 in 2015, per the same source.

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