Clinical Trial Data Manager: Career Information and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a clinical trial data manager. Get a quick view of the schooling and job duties as well as career and licensing information to find out if this is the right choice for you.

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Clinical trial data managers typically have a bachelor's degree in a science, computer, or business related subject. They may work for clinical research or pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, research facilities, or other healthcare companies. At work they are responsible for managing clinical trial data, coordinating data capturing methods, collecting data, analyzing data, creating reports, reviewing responses, or identifying issues with data.

Essential Information

A clinical trial data manager is a healthcare research specialist who collects, analyzes and reports the results of medical trials. These specialists work for medical research firms, pharmaceutical companies or nonprofit research organizations. Postsecondary education is required for would-be data managers, and typically a bachelor's degree or higher in clinical research or a related scientific field is preferred.

Required Education Bachelor's degree or higher
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 18% (for medical and health services managers)*
Median Annual Salary (2019) $98,320 for clinical trial managers**

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Career Information for Clinical Trial Data Managers

A clinical trial data manager is an advanced data specialist who works on research trials for medical drugs or treatments. They collect data according to established guidelines, create computerized databases, present results and write project reports. PayScale.com maintains that clinical data managers are typically employed at clinical research or pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and research universities, among other healthcare and research-related firms.

The day-to-day duties of clinical trial data managers can include everything from establishing accurate data capturing methods, to analyzing data and drawing conclusions. According to job postings found in September 2014 on CareerBuilder.com, a clinical data manager may also be responsible for:

  • Reviewing data query responses
  • Identifying and reporting data discrepancies
  • Functioning as a lead data manager
  • Reviewing coding for consistency

Salary Information

PayScale.com reported that earnings for clinical trial managers varied depending on the work environment. For example, those who were employed by nonprofits or universities made less than those at hospitals or research companies, but the median annual salary overall was $98,320 as of 2019.

Education and Career Requirements

A bachelor's degree in life sciences, computer science, business management or a related field is often the minimum education requirement for clinical data manager positions, according to the 2014 job postings on CareerBuilder.com. Additionally, a specialized certificate or degree in clinical research could provide useful training. Such programs may include courses in medical terminology, clinical research databases, legal regulations and ethical issues.

Certification

Certification may be required for some advanced positions. Both the SoCRA and the Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM) offer certification exams. The Certified Clinical Data Manager credential offered by the SCDM requires the test-taker to have either an associate's or bachelor's degree and 2-4 years of data management experience. For the Certified Clinical Research Professional credential awarded by the SoCRA, the candidate must have 1-2 years of clinical research experience and a minimum of a certificate in clinical research or an associate's degree.

Clinical trial data managers are data specialists who typically work in the healthcare realm, coordinating, collecting, analyzing and reporting data for clinical trials. A bachelor's degree is typical for working in this field, although certification is available and may be required for some positions.

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