The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Clinical Research

Are you interested in a clinical research career? This is a great option for those who want to work in a medical setting and help patients, but who do not want to be a traditional nurse or doctor. Clinical researchers work in laboratories, deal with administrative tasks, test new products and techniques on patients, and more. This industry is both challenging and rewarding, no matter what specific career path you take.

Types of Clinical Research Jobs

Workers in the clinical research field develop and test new medications, diagnostic products and methods, medical equipment, treatment techniques, prevention methods, and other things relating to helping patients get or stay healthy. Most clinical researchers work doing creating new ways to help patients, but the work doesn’t end with a treatment or preventions – clinical researchers also work ensuring that the proper paperwork is submitted to the FDA, complete clinical trials with real-life patients and record/study the results, and use these results to prepare the product for use in the medical world. As a clinical researcher, you can specialize in a specific type of task, such as working with certain lab equipment, or you can work with a specific medical problem, such as cancer or diabetes.

Clinical Research Salary

The salary you can receive as a clinical researcher of course depends on a number of factors, such as location, years of experience, employer, and job title. According to reports on, you can expect to earn between $40,000 and $80,000 in most cases. You can earn more money by going back to school to get an advanced degree;  many employers in this industry actually only consider candidates who have at least a master’s degree and for some licenses (such as becoming a clinical nurse specialist), you need to graduate from a certified master’s degree program.

Daily Tasks as a Clinical Researcher

If you work at a smaller facility, your daily tasks could include a wide spectrum of activities, while at larger facilities, you may be assigned a specific role. Most of your tasks as a clinical researcher will involve recording results, whether that be through doing experiments in the lab or running trials with patients, so an attention to detail is important. Your daily tasks may also include a number of safety procedures, as you could be working with dangerous machines or even contagious diseases. Even in roles that aren’t specifically administrative, be prepared to complete administrative tasks such as filling out paperwork or data entry, as this is important to ensuring that you study results accurately.

Top Online Master's Degrees in Clinical Research & Related Subjects

Working in clinical research, you study the latest drug and pharmaceutical developments. A big sector of working in clinical research is working in drug safety. Before any drug hits the market, it must undergo many clinical tests to ensure its safety before making it available to the public. Clinical research covers medications, how often and when medications are the most effective and how useful medical products are for patients.

A masters in clinical research puts you in a position to obtain a top level lab position as a clinical researcher. There are many teams when working in labs for clinical research and that means upper level management positions that pay more and involve more responsibility. Studying for masters in clinical research will teach you communication skills, give you additional training in research, clinical science and how to work as a developer or manager on a team. There are several types of masters in clinical research degrees. Which you choose depends on the career you plan on having after obtaining your degree. Most masters in clinical research degrees are comprised of 32-36 hours.

The various masters in clinical research degrees offered usually focus on science or on the business aspect of clinical research. This gives you the option to work in the lab on an every day basis or to be in the office working in the corporate arena of clinical research. Usually those working in the corporate sector of clinical research have a few years of working in labs as a clinical researcher. Many pursuing a masters in clinical research also have a background in biotechnology.

MS in health science in clinical research administration

While the word ‘administration’ may bring to mind a secretarial position, rest assured that’s not what you’ll be doing with a masters of science in health science in clinical research administration. This masters degree teaches you leadership skills and how to manage a team when heading up a research project. Upper level lab positions will involve you planning a clinical trial, overseeing its execution and tracking results for a client. A masters in clinical research will help you prepare for developing medical products and tools for patients. It is a business-minded degree though it is a masters of science. This masters degree is also known as a MS in clinical research management and organization, and covers similar material.

What career can I have with a MS in clinical research?

The field of clinical research is booming and will continue to grow at a rapid rate. It is set to grow 20% through 2018. There are many different jobs you can have with a MS in clinical research, it all depends if you want to work in development or in labs running tests and conducting trials.

Drug development

In this career you’re working to develop new drugs for the public. You are employed by a private company in most cases. When working in testing and approving drug developments and whether they’re effective, you may be employed by a private company, the government or a university.

Contract research organization

Working in contract research organization, you’re able to take on contract jobs for companies and work in the development of medical products and tools. A company outsources this work to a third party CRO so they do not have to keep a staff on payroll while a product is created, tested and brought before the FDA.

Clinical data management

Clinical data management involves collecting data from any test, trial or treatment that is done. Clinical data is gathered for all of these things by computers, but clinical researchers go in and check from patterns. Further study is done on the clinical data for future studies and to support a drug or product seeking government approval.

Experimental medical treatments

Many new medical treatments are available for various diseases, both life threatening and non. These experimental treatments are usually conducted by private pharmaceutical companies, but may also be done by universities or private care facilities. A masters in clinical research will prepare you for a lead role in experimental medical treatments, managing the trial and presenting results after the treatment is over.

Complete List of Colleges Offering Masters in Clinical Research Degrees

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