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How to Become a Clinical Data Analyst: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a clinical data analyst. Research the education requirements, training, licensure information and experience you will need to start a career in clinical data analysis. View article »

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  • 0:00 What is a Clinical…
  • 0:36 Career Requirements
  • 1:17 Steps for a Career…
  • 2:47 Tips for Success

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Video Transcript

What Is a Clinical Data Analyst?

Clinical data analysts are responsible for developing and managing databases used by healthcare professionals. These individuals ensure that information for clinical trials from databases is collected, compiled and analyzed accurately. They are employed by healthcare associations, hospitals, medical facilities and physicians. Responsibilities include compiling data, communicating with data users, creating reports, developing clinical applications and monitoring data usage.

Career Requirements

Clinical data analysts are expected to have a bachelor's degree, and some employers may prefer a master's degree. Both degrees should focus on life sciences, computer sciences or health-related fields. Clinical data analysts should have key skills in critical thinking, written and verbal communication, time management, problem solving and judgment, and the ability to use development environment, classification, analytical and other industry-specific software

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary in 2015 for all statisticians, which include clinical data analysts, was $80,110.

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Steps for a Career Data Analyst

You can follow these steps to become a career data analyst:

First, you want to complete your bachelor's degree. Elements of both healthcare and information technology are taught in a degree program in health information management, which usually provides courses in medicine, record management, health information systems and computer technology. Employers could also accept a bachelor's degree in computer science, health management or another clinical major.

Next, you should gain work experience. Upon graduation, prospective clinical data analysts may obtain employment with various health-related agencies, including hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies and clinical research facilities. Successful clinical data analysts will be able to compile, analyze and evaluate data and accurately apply that data to clinical issues. They will be able to use information technology to create statistical models and have project management skills. Data analysts must also be effective at communicating findings to other members of their clinical team.

For a third step, you should complete your master's degree. A survey of job postings in November 2012 indicated that some employers prefer job candidates who have completed a master's degree in either a healthcare discipline or computer science. Individuals who have completed a master's program may qualify for certain positions with less clinical experience than others who have not received the advanced degree.

Tips for Success

Let's take a look at a couple of tips for success as a clinical data analyst:

For one thing, students who wish to gain experience in the field may want to consider taking part in an internship program. Such opportunities are available for both bachelor's and master's degree candidates. Typical tasks assigned to interns may include data collection, data analysis and written or oral dissemination of data results to healthcare staff and customers.

Another tip for success is to pursue professional certification after you complete your education. Organizations like the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offer related certification. The Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential from AHIMA requires a combination of education and experience, as well as passing a qualifying exam.

Clinical data analysts are in a category of professionals who earn a median salary of $80,110. They have at least bachelor's degrees, or often, master's degrees. They work for healthcare associations, hospitals, medical facilities and physicians, compiling data, communicating with organization leaders, developing clinical applications and monitoring data usage.

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