Clinical Research Administration Degree & Certificate Program Info

Graduate-level clinical research administration programs teach students about pharmaceutical and medical products and the methods and means of designing, developing and testing these products to ensure their safety.

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Essential Information

Individuals interested in the supervision of clinical research, mainly drug and product development projects, can earn a certificate or a master's degree in clinical research administration. Most certificate and master's programs include studies of ethical and legal issues, medical writing, clinical studies administration and biostatistics. Master's degree students also engage in advanced research. Certificate programs usually last two to three semesters.

Admissions into master's degree programs in clinical research administration may require a minimum GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a bachelor's degree.

Certificate in Clinical Research Administration

This certificate program is designed to prepare individuals for careers monitoring and overseeing clinical drug and product trials. The curriculum generally consists of 4-7 courses and courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the biomedical sciences along with product and drug protocol information and the ethical and legal issues involved with consumer safety.

These programs are offered as post-baccalaureate and graduate certificate programs. Admission requirements may differ depending on the type of program offered. The curriculum of these programs focuses specifically on the issues involved with monitoring clinical drug and medical product trials. There are generally no other elective requirements. Below are listed some sample core course topics:

  • Administering clinical studies
  • Drug development
  • Clinical research medical writing
  • Medical device regulation and development
  • International clinical research

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Master of Science in Clinical Research Administration

The purposes of these programs are to provide the classroom instruction needed to understand the drug and product development industries and to offer hands-on training in the field. Nearly all of these programs feature internships or practicums, in which degree candidates work at a medical research facility. This internship can often last several semesters, and it allows candidates to gain valuable experience with drug and product protocols as they relate to consumer safety.

Individuals applying to one of these programs must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Most programs do not restrict admission based on the major of the undergraduate degree. Degree candidates receive a certain amount of credit hours for thesis or research work. Below is a sampling of common core courses:

  • Responsible research
  • Research design and methodology
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Pathophysiology

Popular Career Options

A master's degree program in clinical research administration is designed to prepare individuals for senior leadership positions in an industry involved with new drug and medical product creation. These include healthcare, pharmaceutical manufacturing and academia. Below are listed some sample job titles:

  • Clinical research manager
  • Protocol officer
  • Regulatory executive

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for health services and medical managers are predicted to grow 17% for the decade 2014-2024. These workers earned median annual salaries of $94,500 in 2015.

Graduate certificate programs in clinical research administration prepare students for supervisory positions through courses in drug development, medical writing, and international clinical research. Courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, and pathophysiology as part of a master's degree program prepare students to become protocol officers or regulatory executives.

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