Clinical research coordinators have a few options when it comes to getting the educational experience required for the job. Associate's and bachelor's degrees in clinical research can give college students a start in their career while certificate and diploma programs can help those who already have their undergraduate degree in a clinical field.
A clinical research coordinator is a supervisory role within the field of medical and clinical research. In addition to overseeing a group of researchers, they make sure that work adheres to legal and safety guidelines. Clinical research coordinators may work out of hospitals, private research labs or universities. The majority of these professionals possesses a bachelor's degree in their field; although some go on to earn their master's degree.
|Required Education||Undergraduate degree; a master's is helpful for advancement|
|Other Requirements||Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) certification is available|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||11% (for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)*|
|Median Salary (2019)||$62,140**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com
Career Overview for Clinical Research Coordinators
Clinical research coordinators are responsible for overseeing medical research and drug trials. These professionals can come from a variety of backgrounds, including nursing and medicine.
They recruit and screen patients for trials, ensure that the study adheres to safety and government regulations, monitor patients and report study results. Clinical research coordinators may also be responsible for obtaining grants to fund the study.
Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not keep records for clinical research coordinators, it did report that employment growth between 2018 and 2028 for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians was expected to be 11%. As of August 2019, Salary.com reported that the median annual salary for clinical research coordinators was $62,140.
Because of the medical nature of the job, clinical knowledge and experience is important for prospective clinical research coordinators. Individuals may choose from a variety of training or degree programs to enter the clinical research field. According to O*Net Online in 2019, 56% of clinical research coordinators held at least a bachelor's degree, while 12% had a master's and nine percent had an associate's degree (www.onetonline.org).
An undergraduate degree program in clinical research, such as the Associate in Applied Science in Clinical Research Coordination or Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research, can help individuals meet the requirements for an entry-level clinical research position. These degree programs typically provide coursework in biological science, clinical monitoring, ethics, medical terminology, case studies and pathophysiology. Master's degree programs, like the Master of Science in Clinical Research and Regulatory Administration, can help prepare for advanced positions through coursework in research conduct, leadership and clinical trial recruitment.
Individuals who already hold a degree in a clinical field, such as nursing, may want to pursue a certificate or diploma in clinical research. These programs typically focus on the specific duties required of clinical research coordinators. Students may be expected to have previous knowledge of clinical subjects, such as patient monitoring and medical terminology.
The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) provides voluntary Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) certification for individuals with at least two years of experience in clinical research or a closely related field (www.acrpnet.org). The educational requirements vary with the candidate's amount of work experience. Eligible candidates must submit proof of education and work experience, pay a fee and pass an exam in order to receive the CRC certification.
More than half of clinical research coordinators enter their careers with a bachelor's degree in clinical research, while some already have a master's degree and a small percentage are able to find work with an associate's degree. Becoming a clinical research coordinator takes a combination of education and experience in the field. After 2 years of experience, clinical researchers can pursue clinical research coordinator certification.