How to Become a Clinical Research Coordinator: Career Guide
If you are interested in clinical study, working with others and don’t mind having an irregular work schedule, then a career as a clinical research coordinator is likely well suited for you!
Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a clinical research coordinator. We've also included helpful information for a clinical research coordinator career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!
Education Needed to Become a Clinical Research Coordinator
Although educational requirements to become a clinical research coordinator vary by employer, aspiring clinical research coordinators typically need to have clinical knowledge and experience, due to the medical nature of the job.
Having a degree in a clinical field, such as nursing is a great way to break into work as a clinical research coordinator. Graduates with a Bachelor of Science (suited for entry-level jobs) or a Master of Science (suited for jobs with more responsibility) in areas such as biology, chemistry and biochemistry will also be well prepared intellectually for a career as a clinical research coordinator.
Graduates from any of the aforementioned fields may want to also pursue a certificate or diploma in clinical research, as these programs focus on providing students with skills in practical areas of clinical research.
Who Hires Clinical Research Coordinators?
Organizations that typically employ clinical research coordinators include:
• Federal government
• Pharmaceutical companies
• Private research firms
Clinical Research Coordinator Job Opportunities
Clinical Research Coordinator Jobs - Canada
Clinical Research Coordinator Jobs - United States
Certification Needed to Become a Clinical Research Coordinator
Although certification for clinical research coordinators is typically not required to get a job, it is available in the United States from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals, and in Canada from the Clinical Research Association of Canada.
Certification enables clinical research coordinators to demonstrate that they have met eligibility requirements and at least have a minimal level of job-related knowledge and skills.
Clinical Research Coordinator Job Description
Clinical research coordinators are responsible for supporting, facilitating and coordinating the daily trial activities of research studies. Clinical research coordinators must provide guidance on the administration of the study including compliance, financial, personnel and other related aspects.
Clinical Research Coordinator Job Duties
• Coordinate with the Principal Investigator and central administration of the organization conducting the research in order to help ensure that clinical research and related activities are performed in accordance with federal regulations and sponsoring agency policies and procedures
• Recruit and screen patients for trials
• Obtain grants for clinical research
• Report incidents of non-compliance to the appropriate agencies
• Ensure that all personnel involved in the research have the appropriate credentials
• Facilitate the coordination of daily research activities
• Assist the Principle Investigator in the development of materials and tools necessary to appropriately train individuals involved in the conduct of the study around issues related to protocol requirements, schedule of visits and execution of research plan
Clinical Research Coordinator Salary
The salary levels for clinical research coordinators can vary greatly, depending on factors such as where they work, their level of education and experience, and many other factors. According to the National Center for Biotechnical Information, clinical research coordinators typically earn in excess of $40,000 per year.
We also checked another source to obtain salary information for Clinical Research Coordinators, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). Although they do not have specific data on clinical research coordinators, they do have salary information for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, some of whose duties are similar to those of coordinators. Median annual earnings in 2011 were $40,510 for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and $27,540 for medical and clinical laboratory technicians.
Work Conditions for Clinical Research Coordinators
The typical work environment for a clinical research coordinator is in a laboratory setting. In this setting, the must interact with research subjects, the principal investigator and other laboratory staff.
The work schedule of a clinical research coordinator depends highly on the research activities being conducted. For example, if the clinical research coordinator is involved in a study relating to eating habits in the daytime versus the evening, the coordinator must be present at the lab with the subjects at corresponding times.
Careers Similar to Clinical Research Coordinator
Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Clinical Research Coordinator, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: Clinical Research Associate Career
Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Clinical Research Coordinator.
National Center for Biotechnical Information website: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Northwestern University Continuing Education website: www.scs.northwestern.edu
Society of Clinical Research Associates website: www.socra.org
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
Scholarships for Becoming a Clinical Research Associate
The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a Clinical Research Coordinator. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on the following pages:
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Clinical Research Coordinator: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a clinical research coordinator. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!