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Clinical Research Analyst: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a clinical research analyst. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and training to find out if this is the career for you.

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A clinical research analyst will have different responsibilities and roles depending on the employer, but they work within a team conducting medical studies, clinical trials, and research. An associate's or bachelor's degree is typically required, but other types of training may also prove useful.

Essential Information

Clinical research analysts serve as one of many key players in medical studies and clinical trials. They bring their science or medical education, analytical skills, knowledge of scientific research, and occasionally financial acumen to the job. An associate's degree is required to get a job as a clinical research analyst, and a bachelor's or master's degree is preferred for higher level positions. Work experience in a clinical research setting is also required.

Required Education Associate's degree for entry-level, bachelor's or master's degree for higher level positions
Other Requirements Work experience in a clinical research setting
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% (clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)*
Median Salary (2015) $60,520 (medical and clinical laboratory technologists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description of a Clinical Research Analyst

A clinical research analyst works on medical studies designed to measure the effectiveness of a drug, medical device, or process on the human body. Clinical research is often conducted in a hospital, medical facility, or laboratory, and research analysts work alongside professionals within the medical field.

The title of clinical research analyst is broad, and the role can vary from employer to employer. Generally, the job entails working with physicians or scientists who oversee the clinical research. Research analysts may also interact directly with patients by screening them as potential candidates or collecting data needed for the study. In some instances, clinical research analysts must also have knowledge of research accounting and budgeting, which can be learned in entry-level jobs in the field.

Analyst Duties in the Clinical Research Field

Work responsibilities can include coordinating a clinical research study by identifying patients, tracking inventory, interacting with patients, collecting data, and overseeing protocols. Clinical research analysts may also act as liaisons between supervising physicians and other medical staff such as nurses. Some employers also call upon analysts to act as the primary financial person on the clinical study.

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Requirements for a Clinical Research Analyst Career

Educational Requirements

To work as a clinical research analyst, individuals must have a degree in a health science or clinical field, such as physician's assistant or registered nurse. Generally, the more education one earns, the better the job prospects. For entry-level jobs, an associate's degree may be acceptable with at least five years of experience in a clinical research setting. Higher-level jobs will likely require a bachelor's or even a master's degree plus additional work experience.

Training Requirements

Most employers require clinical analysts to have previous work experience. Students may be able to gain valuable training through university research work. Training generally includes exposure to common procedural methods, introduction to clinical research protocols, and on-the-job work with patients and physician supervisors.

Clinical research is a highly regulated field. Training should include exposure to federal regulations, specifically those set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some colleges and professional organizations, such as the Society of Clinical Research Associates or the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, provide training in clinical research and a variety of related topics. Certification as a Certified Clinical Research Professional, or C.C.R.P, is available from SoCRA.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of clinical analysts working in January 2016 earned between $45,918-$89,781 a year. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to the field of clinical research analysis, the BLS did project that the employment of clinical laboratory technicians and technologists will likely grow by about 16% between 2014 and 2024, a rate higher than the average range predicted for all occupations.

Clinical research analysts may have a medical background, and/or experience working on research projects or in labs. A bachelor's degree in a health science related field is typically useful, because this role usually involves working on medical research or clinical trials. Clinical research analysts may work within a team, collect data, interact with patients, or help coordinate research.

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