Clinical Research Coordinator Career Path

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Clinical Research Coordinator Career Path

The clinical research coordinator is a profession that has been in the medical field for decades. The position has evolved over time, but there are still many opportunities available to those who have an interest in this area. Continue reading to learn more about the clinical research coordinator job description and how to get started.

The clinical research coordinator is one of several professionals who are required in medical or pharmaceutical testing. The job can be gratifying, but you need to ensure that you understand the specifics before moving forward. This article will provide excellent advice to anyone interested in learning more about this possible career option.

1. What Is a Clinical Research Coordinator?

A Clinical Research Coordinator is a person who organizes and manages research studies. They are responsible for managing details such as the recruitment of participants, their screening to determine eligibility, and determining which treatments they will be assigned. They also monitor study progress on behalf of the sponsor (the company funding the research). The clinical trial coordinator ensures that people participating in trials have an understanding of what is being tested, why it might or might not help them, potential risks involved with taking part in the study, any compensation or other incentives provided by the sponsor for participation, etc. It’s important to note that this role does not involve direct patient care – though many coordinators do provide some counseling services to patients during their workday.

A clinical research coordinator may be employed directly by a sponsor or CRO (Contract Research Organization), but many work as independent contractors. They may also be able to work remotely, often from home, though this is less typical than it used to be, and there are fewer and fewer opportunities that allow for such flexibility.

2. Clinical Research Coordinator Job Description

A Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) is responsible for ensuring the operational integrity of a clinical trial. They assist in all aspects of research, including preparing and tracking inventory, scheduling sites & participants, providing education to patients and staff, data collection, maintaining paperwork, and more! The CRC’s job varies from trial to trial, but they are always involved in every step of the process because it is their duty to make sure that each assignment is carried out successfully by other members of the team.

3. What Kind of Work I Will Be Doing?

– Conducting observations or collecting data; performing tests or measurements; recording results; compiling statistical reports

– Monitoring adherence to timelines for drug development programs

– Working closely with clinical researchers, medical directors, site managers/research coordinators, and/or clients

– Following study protocol for the clinical trial process

– Maintaining data on records

– Developing and updating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

– Working with electronic files to gather, store and distribute information effectively

– Learning about trial research design, the product being tested, investigators’ responsibilities, regulatory issues, and other protocol elements.

4. Education Requirements for Clinical Research Coordinators

A Clinical Research Coordinator’s role is to manage all parts of clinical trials in order to give the best possible patient care.

In order to be successful, you need a strong work ethic and empathy for patients, as well as excellent communication skills. You also need a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field such as biology or chemistry and experience working with clinical trials. A master’s degree may help your chances of getting hired at some companies, but it is not required.

Having a nursing degree will make you more marketable, but because this is an entry-level position, many companies hire people who lack postgraduate degrees. However, if you aspire to move up the corporate ladder and become a medical science liaison or a medical director, a master’s degree or higher will be required.

In order to be qualified for the Clinical Research Coordinator position, you need an undergraduate degree in biology, chemistry, or mathematics with coursework that includes microbiology and cell biology. You also must have experience working with clinical trials either within the pharmaceutical industry or as an employee of a clinic or hospital. If you do not have this type of experience, you may want to consider volunteer work or working as a clinical research assistant. A Clinical Research Coordinator also needs to know how to use the programming language SQL (structured query language), which is used to create databases for storing information.

5. The Duties and Responsibilities of a Clinical Research Coordinator

A clinical research coordinator is a person who manages study recruitment and data collection. They are responsible for recruiting qualified participants, collecting data from them, analyzing the information collected, reporting any findings to investigators and sponsors of the trial, monitoring site activities for adherence to protocol requirements at each visit or phone contact with a participant (including checking for adverse events), communicating effectively with sites and other stakeholders within assigned territory during the course of a trial, managing budgets by ensuring that expenditures fall below budgeted amounts; maintaining supplies inventory levels; preparing reports; performing quality control checks on all communications including electronic correspondence (e-mail) between sponsor/investigator personnel.

The responsibilities of this position can be broken down into four main areas:

1) Recruitment and Retention: conducting site identification and selection, managing budget and timeline.

2) Data Collection: communicating with sites during protocol-specific activities, coaching staff on proper documentation practices, processing patient data into databases for analysis by the sponsor.

3) Quality (Data) Management: performing internal audits to ensure compliance with the study protocols and accuracy of data recorded in data systems.

4) Trial Management: preparation of reports for sponsors, maintaining supplies inventory, preparing requests for funding and expenses.

6. Salary of a Clinical Research Coordinator

The salary for clinical research coordinators varies depending on experience level, location, and type of employer, among other things. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2010, the average annual wage for all occupations was $45,230, while clinical research coordinators earned an average annual wage of $66,980 during that same time period. This means that the average CRC earns around $16 per hour or more than $33,000 per year. The highest-paid CRCCs make about $100,920 per year or around $48.3 per hour, while the lowest-paid CRCCs make an average of $15,560 annually or approximately $7.69 per hour.

The salary of a clinical research coordinator can also vary depending on the industry. For example, those employed with pharmaceutical companies typically make more than those with medical institutions, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In April 2011, clinical research coordinators working for professional, scientific, and technical service industries made an average of $67 per hour or almost $35,000 per year. Those employed with the federal government averaged about $49 per hour or $100,620 annually. Finally, clinical research coordinators working for state governments reported an average salary of $50 per hour or around $98,700 per year, while those employed with local government averaged about $56 per hour or $110,740 each year. Additionally, clinical research coordinators in the District of Columbia and Maryland averaged $62 per hour or almost $124,000 and $66 per hour or more than $132,420 annually.

7. Is Clinical Research a Good Career?

People often ask, “Is clinical research a good career?” The answer is yes because it can be fulfilling and rewarding. Clinical research professionals work with patients to conduct experiments on new drugs and treatments. They seek out answers for medical mysteries such as cures for diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. It takes patience, creativity, and perseverance to become a successful clinical researcher, but the rewards are well worth it.

People who become clinical research professionals know that it is a challenging field, but they also see it as extremely rewarding. It takes patience, creativity, and perseverance to be successful in this career, but these are qualities that many patients and their families appreciate when working with clinical researchers.

Clinical research is a promising career for people who are creative and analytical. Because one thought can transform the world, clinical researchers must be open to new ideas as well. They must also be able to communicate effectively with a variety of people, including doctors, nurses, patients, and their families.

8. The Job Outlook for a Clinical Research Coordinator

A career as a clinical research coordinator is an auspicious one. It is projected that there will be a 20 percent increase in jobs for clinical research coordinators in the next decade. This is because of the growth of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. It is also because of the increasing need for clinical research coordinators to help with clinical trials. These clinical trials test the effects of medications and other treatments on humans to determine their safety and efficacy. Clinical research coordinators might work in a number of different environments. This includes private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and government agencies that are involved with health care. The job outlook for clinical research coordinators is very positive as there will be a growing number of jobs available due to the growth in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Clinical research coordinators are expected to have excellent job opportunities throughout their careers.

9. Top Recruiting Companies for Clinical Research Coordinators

Clinical research coordinators are in high demand due to the large number of clinical trials being conducted around the world. The top recruiting companies for these professionals are:

  • 1. QuintilesIMS
  • 2. PPD
  • 3. Covance
  • 4. ICON
  • 5. CROI (Aspen
  • 6. Merck KGaA
  • 7. Merck & Co Inc
  • 8. GVK Biosciences Ltd
  • 9. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd
  • 10. Quintiles Transnational Corp

10. Best Colleges to Study Clinical Research Coordination

Clinical research coordinators plan, organize and manage clinical research studies. They work with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that studies are conducted safely and efficiently. Clinical research coordinators typically have a Bachelor’s degree in life sciences or a related field.

If you’re interested in becoming a clinical research coordinator, here are some of the best colleges to study clinical research coordination:

  • 1. University of Pennsylvania
  • 2. Duke University
  • 3. Johns Hopkins University
  • 4. Vanderbilt University
  • 5. Emory University
  • 6. University of Chicago
  • 7. George Washington University
  • 8. Northwestern University
  • 9. Columbia University in the City of New York (Columbia)
  • 10. Stanford University (Stanford)


For those who enjoy being at the forefront of new discoveries and want to help people, a clinical research coordinator career path may be just right for you. These professionals are responsible for helping create an environment where patients can feel safe while they undergo their treatment. If this sounds like something you’d love doing every day, take some time to explore our list of open positions on Indeed!

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