Clinical Administrator: Job & Career Info

Learn what clinical administrators do and how you can become one. See what the job and earning prospects are, and get information about related careers.

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Career Definition

Clinical administrators typically manage all aspects of a clinical research program, where studies may be done on new drugs, biomedical devices or similar health care solutions. A clinical administrator's duties include design and implementation of clinical programs, financial and personnel management and networking with internal and external partners. Clinical administrators generally work for biomedical and pharmaceutical companies, college and university medical centers, clinics and related health care or research organizations.

Become a Clinical Administrator

Required Education

Most clinical administrators hold a master's degree, although in some instances, clinical administrators can find entry-level work with a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience. Most clinical administrators have a master's degree in one of the life sciences, but master's and graduate certificate programs in clinical research administration are becoming more common. Clinical administrators can earn additional certification through professional organizations. Academic programs in clinical administration cover business and legal topics related to clinical research, regulatory guidelines, ethics, research methods and clinical procedures.

Skills Required

Clinical administrators need to have organizational, budgeting, planning, analytical and interpersonal skills. Clinical administrators may find it helpful to have time management skills, supervisory skills, computer skills, leadership skills and records management skills.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that the broad field of medical and health service management, of which jobs as clinical administrators are a part, is expected to see a 23% increase in job growth from 2012-2022. This is due in part to increased demand for health care services and the development of new health care services and solutions to meet an aging population's needs. The BLS also published the average annual salary for medical and health services managers as $98,460 in May 2012. Medical managers, such as clinical administrators, working within the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing sub-industry earned an average annual salary of $142,210 in May 2012. O*NET OnLine reported that clinical research coordinators made an average of $115,730 per year in 2012.

Alternative Career Options

Social and Community Service Manager

Social and community service managers typically oversee the operations of a social or human service organization. Their responsibilities can include developing new programs, measuring and assessing program effectiveness, managing staff, budgeting and fundraising, although this can vary depending on the size of the organization. A bachelor's degree in social work, public administration or a related field is generally required for employment; in some cases, a master's degree is preferred. Relevant work experience is also usually required. The BLS estimates that the number of jobs for social and community service managers will grow 21% from 2012-2022; the median salary for this occupation was $59,970 in May 2012.

Regulatory Affairs Manager

A regulatory affairs manager oversees the actions of a company or organization to ensure that it follows applicable regulations or established procedures. They may prepare and submit applications or reports, stay up to date on relevant regulations, rules or procedures, keep other departments or employees in the loop as far as rules and regulations, and develop company or organizational policy as needed. This occupation may require at least a bachelor's degree. O*NET OnLine reports that jobs for regulatory affairs managers are expected to grow 3%-9% from 2010-2020, and that the median salary for this career was $100,890 in 2012.

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