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Clinical Coordinator: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Learn what clinical coordinators do. See what kind of education is required. Get information about career prospects and earning potential in this field.

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Career Definition

Clinical coordinators ensure that all necessary resources are in place when needed for a clinical trial or other clinical research project, such as guidelines, staff, and supplies. Some clinical coordinators work in research settings, concentrating on clinical trials of new medications or medical devices. Others work in health services or community health settings, facilitating client support or treatments and patient care. Depending on the setting, some evening or weekend work may be required. Regardless of the workplace setting, clinical coordinators are responsible for the management of projects and programs as a whole, while managing and delegating the smaller details as needed.

Become a Clinical Coordinator

Required Education

Clinical coordinators are required to have a bachelor's degree and often a master's degree. Clinical coordinators are likely to have a degree in life sciences or another subject relevant to the mission of the organization they work for, like nursing, social work or psychology. Some jobs in clinical coordination require additional professional licensing. In addition to the subject-specific courses needed for a bachelor's or master's degree, clinical coordinators may take classes in medical ethics, record keeping, and financial management.

Skills Required

Clinical coordinators need time management, leadership, and record keeping skills in order to balance the multiple factors involved in successful clinical studies or patient care programs. Clinical coordinators also need strong interpersonal skills because they may work directly with research program participants or health care service clients, colleagues, and program administrators.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) expects an increase in the number of outpatient settings for patient care, which would necessitate an increase in the number of clinical coordinators working for community and outpatient health care services. Future increases in health care research mean future job opportunities for clinical coordinators with clinical research organizations and related groups, as well. The mean annual salary reported by the BLS for medical and health services managers in May 2012 was $98,460. O*NET OnLine (www.onetonline.org) published a projected employment growth rate of 3%-9% for clinical research coordinators from 2010-2020. The same source estimated the average annual salary for a clinical research coordinator was $115,730 in 2012.

Alternate Career Options

Clinical Data Manager

A clinical data manager is a kind of statistician responsible for taking data collected through clinical trials or research projects and analyzing it; they look for patterns, trends or other meaningful relationships. It is possible to get a job with only a bachelor's degree, but most statisticians have a master's degree in statistics or a related field; those working in healthcare-related fields often have completed relevant coursework in healthcare or natural sciences, too. O*NET OnLine reports that jobs for clinical data managers are expected to increase 10%-19% from 2010-2020; it also reports that the mean annual salary for this occupation was $79,570 in 2012.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

A regulatory affairs specialist ensures that a company or organization carries out tasks according to established applicable rules or regulations. Duties may include conducting audits or inspections; regulatory affairs specialists may also communicate regulatory standards to employees and write reports as needed. Regulatory affairs specialists may need at least a bachelor's degree to get a job. O*NET OnLine reports that employment for regulatory affairs specialists is expected to grow 10%-19% from 2010-2020; the mean annual salary was $64,960 in 2012, per the BLS.

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