Clinical Research Coordinator: Job Info and Career Requirements

Mar 24, 2019

Find out the job responsibilities of a clinical research coordinator. Learn about degree requirements in addition to skills needed, employment outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career choice.

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Career Definition for a Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators are important members of teams carrying out experiments, clinical research and medical studies. Clinical research coordinators work with investigators of projects to evaluate research protocols, prepare for clinical trials and experiments, seek approval from regulatory and ethics committees, implement experiments and trials, collect data, supervise analysts and analyze results. Clinical research coordinators typically work in public and private laboratories, medical establishments and research hospitals.

Education Bachelor's degree in medical technology, microbiology or public health required; some positions may require a master's degree
Job Skills Management, communications, interpersonal skills, multitasking
Median Salary (2017)* $118,970 (all natural sciences managers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 10% (all natural sciences managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Generally, to become a clinical research coordinator, you'll need at least a 4-year bachelor's degree in a field like medical technology, microbiology or public health administration; some positions or places of employment call for a 2-year master's degree in one of these fields. Common courses that will prepare you for a career in clinical research include biochemistry, biostatistics, mathematics, epidemiology, anatomy and health care management. Depending on the job role and state requirements, you may have to pass a licensing exam or meet other licensing requirements to become a clinical research coordinator. Experience working as a lab technician or as a health care worker will help prepare you for this career.

Required Skills

Clinical research coordinators need very strong interpersonal, managerial and communications skills to foster a healthy and effective work environment. Being able to multitask and prioritize tasks will help you to succeed as a clinical research coordinator.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for clinical research coordinators, which falls under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) category of natural science managers, is expected to be faster than average. According to the BLS, a job growth of 10% is projected during the 2016-2026 decade. The median earnings for this field in May 2017 were $118,970.

Alternative Careers

You can also choose from these careers in medical technology:

Medical Laboratory Technologist

If a job performing tests and experiments in a medical lab instead of handling administration work is desired, then a career as a medical laboratory technologist should be considered. These lab techs study human substances, such as urine, blood and tissue, analyzing abnormalities and diagnosing illnesses. They also assist scientists with research into the origin and characteristics of diseases, research that could lead to the development of cures or new treatment protocols. To enter this profession, a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory technology is usually required and coursework should include topics such as statistics, chemistry, microbiology and math. Many states also require licensure of lab technologists. According to the BLS, medical and clinical laboratory technologists could see a 12% growth in job opportunities between 2016 and 2026. These lab professionals earned a median annual salary of $51,770, as reported by the BLS in May 2017.

Medical Scientist

For those who prefer to take charge of the research and tests performed in a medical lab, becoming a medical scientist is an available option. Medical scientists can specialize in fields that include cancer research, gerontology, pharmacology, neuroscience or medical informatics. They conduct disease studies, analyze drug effectiveness and team with physicians for clinical trial work. In order to work in the field, a doctorate degree in a science or medical area is required and many of these scientists are also licensed physicians. In May 2017, the BLS estimated that medical scientists, not including epidemiologists, received median yearly compensation of $82,090. During the 2016-2026 decade, employment growth of 13% has been projected by the BLS, resulting in almost 16,100 new positions for medical scientists.

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