Clinical Research Coordinators are considered Enterprising careers according to the Strong Interest Inventory®. This inventory categorizes careers into six Theme Codes depending on the personal characteristics, workplace preferences, and vocational strengths of professionals who have been successful in those careers. The outcome of the Inventory is to identify enjoyable and fulfilling occupations. Enterprising careers center on managing or organizing people or resources. Individuals with a proclivity for these careers are confident, outgoing people who are highly organized, focused, and driven. They are not deterred by uncertainty, and are willing to take risks in order to achieve their goals.
A Clinical Research Coordinator is responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating clinical research initiatives, and directing the activities of all personnel involved with such projects. This career requires a high level of attention to detail, as maintaining careful records is tantamount to the success of any research initiative. These records may include drug dispensation records, subject enrollment and consent, and careful documentation of all study activities. Clinical Research Coordinators also oversee the structuring and implementation of research initiatives, including recruiting and screening subjects through interviews and medical reviews. They track the enrollment status, attrition rates, and changing contact information. They also oversee all patient scheduling. They communicate with patients or their caregivers about the purpose and outcomes of the study, and inform them about any positive or negative impact it may have on the individual participants.
Clinical Research Coordinators rarely develop the study protocols themselves, but are more often actively involved in streamlining administrative concerns, such as establishing a study location, hiring staff, coding and interpreting data. They assemble budgetary information and coordinate disbursements. They train research staff. They communicate with laboratories or other investigators to convey study findings, challenges, and shortcomings. They order materials such as drugs or supplies for the study itself. Clinical Research Coordinators are also responsible for ensuring that all study activities comply with local, federal, and state regulations concerning ethical research and safety. This assures that participants are informed of any side effects or negative impacts from their participation. It also facilitates any audits conducted by federal agencies, study sponsors, or special interest groups. In some cases, Clinical Research Coordinators may be responsible for writing grants to solicit funding. They may conduct literature reviews or participate in continuing education activities, such as conferences and seminars, or prepare presentations for conferences.
In order to be successful, a Clinical Research Coordinator should be comfortable with a wide range of organizational software, including accounting and budgeting software, analytical or scientific software (e.g., MATLAB), drug coding and scheduling software, and database software, including Microsoft Access and FileMaker Pro. Additionally, familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, standard email and web browser interfaces, and project management software are all helpful. Most clinical research coordinators hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree (52%), with 12% holding a Master’s or other graduate degree. The ability to make decisions and solve problems in social environments, as well as obtain and synthesize information from many different sources is essential for Clinical Research Coordinators. Furthermore, they need to set priorities and adhere to guidelines and deadlines, and encourage others to do the same. Strong written and oral communication skills are vital to the success of Clinical Research Coordinators.
The median nation-wide Clinical Research Coordinator salary is $120,160, with the best paid professionals earning nearly $200,000. The mid-Atlantic states of Delaware and New Jersey lead the nation in terms of salary, with median incomes over $175,000. The South and Mid-West, including Indiana, Arkansas, and South Carolina are last in terms of pay, with Indiana’s median at just $55,000 per year. The employment rates for Clinical Research Coordinators is expected to rise slowly across the nation, but the western states of Utah, Washington, and California are expected to grow over 20% before 2024. However, the total projected number of added jobs is still under 500, even in all of these states combined. Nonetheless, the national growth is slow but steady, with 1,800 jobs being added nation-wide, a growth rate of 3.3%.
Below are some employment trends for a Clinical Research Coordinator:
- Median Clinical Research Coordinators Salary: $55.77 hourly; $120.160 annually
- Employment: 55,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): slower than average (2% to 4%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 13,300
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org