What Can You Do with a Degree in Clinical Research Administration?

sponsored


Imagine being an oncology nurse trained to give care and administer drug treatments to cancer patients and being told by a physician to reserve syringes used to administer investigational drugs to patients. Any medical professional given specific instructions for research-based treatment may wonder if they are unwittingly violating the part of the Hippocratic Oath that says: “I will not knowingly administer any harmful drug.” How can a medical professional follow orders given by their supervisors while staying informed and maintaining ethical standards? Enter clinical research administrators.

At the intersection of quality medical care, ethics, and investigative research, clinical research administrators (CRAs) play an essential role. Professionals in this field serve to represent the interests of patients, science, and the field of medicine in a variety of professional capacities. The general goal of clinical research work is to measure patient outcomes in clinical trials.

The two main areas of practice include the private sector and academic work done in professional and research laboratories. Biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies typically comprise the research done in the private sector while academic research is conducted by university laboratories.

The key job responsibilities for CRAs include analyzing data, making objective observations, and establishing conclusions from the research findings. CRAs must also write research protocols, create data collection surveys, and manage paperwork related to regulations and Institutional Review Boards (IRB). In order to effectively serve their industries, CRAs must consistently approach their work with extreme attention to detail. They must also demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills in order to interact with a variety of critical stakeholders in medical, scientific, patient, and regulatory roles.

Clinical research teams are led by individuals with diverse academic preparation, (doctorate, master’s, or bachelor’s degrees in life sciences or healthcare administration). CRAs are responsible for overseeing a wide variety of positions under the umbrella of clinical research associate which can include physicians and nurses, laboratory professionals with master’s or bachelor’s degrees in a scientific field, medical writers, trial coordinators, and regulatory affairs specialists.

Others enter this profession with degrees in healthcare management, nursing, public health administration, and business administration with an emphasis on healthcare. Some entry-level positions are ideal for recent graduates with relevant fields of study and minimal laboratory experience while other positions require advanced degrees and five years of professional experience in a research laboratory, medical, or project management settings. The Association of Clinical Research Professions (ACRP) offers certification exams and professional development to ensure that the ethical and scientific protocols required in this profession are upheld and supported.

Below is a list of ten careers that individuals with a clinical research administration or a related degree can pursue.

How to Become a Clinical Research Coordinator

Clinical research coordinators are responsible for overseeing the implementation and quality control of a scientific study while ensuring that completion deadlines for research studies are met in tandem under the supervision of a principal investigator.

Responsibilities and Skills

Ideal candidates for these jobs manage the details of research studies in an administrative and operational capacity while concurrently maintaining compliance regulations set forth by governing agencies. Other duties include interacting with patients and families, obtaining informed consent, supervising data collection, entering data into electronic databases, and mentoring members of the research team.

Education

Aspiring clinical research coordinators should pursue bachelor degrees in medical laboratory technology or a life science such as chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics.

Work Experience

Candidates with internship experience in research laboratory settings are highly sought after as their previous experience with research can shorten the learning curve when hired as a clinical research coordinator. Candidates may want to pursue certification through the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).

Salary

According to data from Payscale.com, the average salary for a clinical research coordinator is $43,863 per year.

How to Become a Senior Clinical Project Manager

Senior clinical project managers are responsible for the management of multiple clinical trial studies within an area of specific, science-related expertise.

Responsibilities and Skills

Candidates seeking to work in this role should be prepared for responsibilities in planning, implementing, overseeing, and managing projects conducted by a research organization or company.

Education

Those interested in pursuing this career should earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in healthcare administration, clinical research administration, health management, nursing, public health administration, or business administration with a healthcare focus. Advanced degrees are preferred over bachelor’s degrees by many organizations hiring for these types of positions.

Work Experience

Research teams hiring for these roles are looking for individuals with a minimum of five years of clinical study experience and five years of project management experience.

Salary

According to data reported on Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a clinical project manager is $90,405 per year.

How to Become an Oncology Specialty Pharmacist

Oncology specialty pharmacists ensure safety protocols in the compounding, preparation, and dispensing of chemotherapy. They ensure that drug waste is minimized, drug shortages avoided, and exposure to hazardous drugs limited.

Responsibilities and Skills

Specialists in this career are focused on finding cures for cancer through clinical drug trials on humans, including oral therapies, targeted therapies, and personalized medicine.

Education

Prospective pharmacists are required to have a doctorate of pharmacy degree. A list of accredited pharmacology programs can be found on the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) website.

Work Experience

To be considered for employment in oncology pharmaceutical positions, pharmacists must complete a one to two-year residency in oncology specialist programs.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for pharmacists is $126,120.

How to Become a Clinical Research Site Professional

Clinical research site professionals are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the progress of clinical study activities. Research site professionals specialize in regulatory reporting and ensuring that strict guidelines for clinical trials are followed with impeccable precision.

Responsibilities and Skills

Candidates for these positions must have exemplary attention to detail, a willingness to earn licensure if required for specific studies, excellent time-management and organization skills, and exceptional verbal and written communication skills.

Education

Master’s degrees in the sciences, public health, or nursing are preferred by organizations hiring for these positions. Certification is available through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

Work Experience

Most organizations are looking for applicants with three to five years of professional experience to fill these upper-level regulatory positions.

Salary

According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a clinical research site professional is $90,405 per year.

How to Become an Institutional Review Board (IRB) Administrator

Responsible for the oversight of clinical research studies with regards to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) activities, IRB administrators ensure that policies and procedures protecting human subjects are followed closely.

Responsibilities and Skills

Candidates for these positions should be familiar with the rules and regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the IRB rules specific to a professional or academic institution.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in biological science or a health-related field is required for applicants desiring to work in these positions.

Work Experience

Employers hiring for these positions typically seek candidates with three to five years of clinical management experience.

Salary

The average annual salary for this position according to Payscale.com is $78,424.

How to Become a Clinical Trial Specialist

Clinical trial specialists serve as a single point of contact for sponsors, investigators, and key members of study personnel in clinical research trials in the academic and private sectors.

Responsibilities and Skills

In addition to continuing reviews and event reporting, clinical trial specialists monitor IRB submissions, participate in site selection visits, and are responsible for all IRB correspondence as well as other duties related to research administration support.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in nursing, business administration, or a science-related field is most often required for these positions.

Work Experience

Hiring committees seek candidates with one to two years of previous experience in clinical trials to fill these positions.

Salary

According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for this position is $70,760.

How to Become an Associate Director – Clinical Translational Investigation Program Operations

Associate directors of clinical investigation program operations provide oversight for clinical research studies.

Responsibilities and Skills

Professionals in these positions ensure that requirements in quality management, regulatory compliances, and credentialing are met with the end goal of applying biological sciences to clinical outcomes. Associate directors are responsible for managing the work of clinical research managers and coordinators. Professionals in this role are also tasked with institutional strategic planning and expense oversight for the overall fiscal health of the organization.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is required for these positions; master’s degrees are preferred.

Work Experience

Research teams look for candidates with five to seven years of experience and a minimum of three years of direct management, supervisory, and budgetary experience.

Salary

The average annual salary for a clinical director is $74,660 per year according to Payscale.com.

How to Become a Clinical Research Associate

Clinical research associates are responsible for monitoring daily clinical trial activities, analyzing data, and writing research proposals.

Responsibilities and Skills

Primarily responsibilities include authoring research protocols, designing data collection forms, and managing regulatory paperwork.

Education

Candidates with bachelor’s degrees in biomedical-related fields such as medical technology or life sciences are preferred. Depending on the state of employment, licensing exams may also be required to work for certain organizations.

Work Experience

Ideal clinical research associate candidates should have a thorough understanding of clinical practice standards set forth by the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) and applicable local regulations.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for this position is $52,330 per year.

How to Become a Principal Investigator

Principal investigators lead clinical trials in both grant-funded and privately sponsored research laboratory settings.

Responsibilities and Skills

Ideal candidates for these positions will have extensive leadership and clinical experience and be licensed physicians with excellent project management and verbal and written communication skills.

Education

A master’s degree is the minimum educational requirement for most principal investigator positions; candidates with doctoral degrees are preferred.

Work Experience

Candidates with prior experience as principal investigators on clinical trials are preferred. Medical doctors with the ability to obtain unrestricted access to participation in federal programs are also strong candidates.

Salary

According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a medical principal investigator is $103,988 per year.

How to Become a Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator

Clinical research nurse coordinators work in collaboration with physicians to coordinate care for patients enrolled in clinical studies.

Responsibilities and Skills

Skills required for these positions include the ability to coordinate site visits with physicians, conduct subject visits in compliance with FDA guidelines, and document study procedures and travel to investigator meetings.

Education

Ideal candidates will have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a current registered nurse (RN) license.

Work Experience

Previous pharmaceutical clinical trial experience is required in addition to previous experience with treatment in specialized areas of medicine.

Salary

The average annual salary for clinical research nurse coordinators is $70,519 according to Payscale.com.

Related Posts

  • A Day in the Life of a Clinical Data Analyst

    18 September 2018

    Clinical data analysts help to make sense of the extensive data that is at their fingertips, creating stories that turn numbers into actionable intelligence to improve healthcare outcomes.

  • A Day in the Life of a Clinical Research Associate

    17 August 2018

    The clinical research associate acts as a liaison between the study’s sponsor (e.g., pharmaceutical company) and the clinics where the study takes place. Because results of a clinical trial must be kept entirely transparent and not influenced by the interests of the sponsor, this is a critical role.

  • Clinical Application Analyst – A Day in the Life

    29 November 2018

    Electronic health records (EHR) and other clinical software systems are the new industry standard in healthcare. However, plenty of clinics, hospitals, and private practices have yet to make the full migration. That’s where clinical application analysts come in.

  • Closing the Gap: Women Leading Healthcare

    20 February 2019

    Women drive healthcare. They are the industry’s biggest consumers and workers. They serve as caregivers in their homes and make most decisions for their family’s health. Why is it, then, that of the 40 Fortune 500 healthcare companies, not a single one is helmed by a woman?

  • Pharmaceutical Quality Director – A Day in the Life

    13 November 2019

    Consumers and corporations need to know that the drugs dispensed by pharmaceutical companies are manufactured safely and efficiently. Pharmaceutical quality directors ensure that quality control protocols are followed within the industry’s manufacturing, testing, and inspection procedures.