Students in clinical trial coordinator certificate and associate's degree programs learn the basics of organizing and conducting clinical research studies, including how to choose and communicate with the human subjects involved. Courses cover site preparation, organization and records maintenance. Both types of programs call for extensive clinical experience. Associate's degree students also must complete general education requirements.
Admission to a certificate program for clinical trial coordinators requires only a high school diploma or GED at some schools. However, most programs are designed for applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree, and some are explicitly post-baccalaureate programs. Others require verified work experience as a healthcare professional.
Students seeking clinical trial coordinator training at the associate's degree level also need a high school diploma or GED. Some programs require applicants to have completed high school courses in biology and algebra and others require current CPR certification.
Clinical Trial Coordinator Certificate
A clinical trial coordinator certificate program trains students to organize and monitor clinical research studies that are ethical, respectful of the subjects' privacy and conducted by qualified research professionals. Subject screening and enrollment, site preparation, drug dispensation, supply maintenance and record keeping are among the topics covered in the program's courses. Internship courses give students real-world experience working as trial coordinators. These programs are aimed at nurses and other medical professionals. Certificate programs include courses in computer skills and information systems, analysis and communications. Some other common course topics include:
- Healthcare delivery fundamentals
- Clinical research introduction
- Clinical pharmacology
- Research design
- Research site management
- Healthcare statistics
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Associate's Degree in Clinical Trial Coordinating
A clinical trial coordinator associate's degree program covers much of the same material as a certificate program, but it's likely to devote more time to clinical internship experiences as part of a broader emphasis on developing technical skills and professional competency. Program content focuses on project management and research operations, clinical trial design, medical law and medical ethics. Schools sometimes refer to a clinical trial coordinator program as a clinical research coordinator program. General education courses in writing, public speaking, mathematics, the natural sciences and psychology are generally part of an associate's degree program. Core courses related to clinical trial management include:
- Medical terminology
- Human anatomy and physiology introduction
- Client care basics
- Research site budgeting
- Medical device evaluation
Popular Career Options
Besides working as a clinical trial coordinator, healthcare workers who supplement their education with an associate's degree can provide support services to medical researchers in other capacities. Possible job titles include:
- Institutional review board coordinator
- Research site manager
- Study monitor
- Regulatory affairs specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Earning a clinical trial coordinator certificate qualifies graduates to become clinical trial coordinators. Although specific figures for clinical trial coordinators aren't available, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 18% growth in employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians between 2014 and 2024. Growth will be driven by a need for medical research studies to gather new data and test the findings of previous research. PayScale.com reports that, as of July 2015, clinical research coordinators earned a median salary of $46,564.
Continuing Education Information
Many schools that offer certificate programs for clinical trial coordinators also offer associate's degree programs. In some cases, credits earned in the certificate program may be applied towards the associate's degree program.
Certification as a clinical trial coordinator is available to people who complete either a certificate or an associate's degree program. The Society for Clinical Research Professionals (SCRP) and the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) both offer certification exams. Candidates need one year of experience as a clinical research coordinator for SCRP certification and two years of experience for ACRP certification.
Clinical trial coordinator training can be found in the form of a certificate or associate's degree program. There are also professional certification options available to program graduates with sufficient work experience.