Your Career as a Clinical Trial Manager

Clinical trial managers are responsible for managing the testing process of new drugs, medications and vaccines on human subjects, and they are responsible for clinical data management.

Education and Training

The preferred minimum level of education for a clinical trials manager is an undergraduate degree in science or in a health-related degree such as physiology or pharmacology. If you have majored in statistics or biostatistics and have some experience in research and managing statistical data, you are also a good candidate for a position as a clinical trials manager. Nurses and other health professionals may also be eligible for a position as a clinical trials manager.

Though there is no required certification standard, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals does offer three different levels of certification: CRA, CRC and CPI. CPI is usually for physicians, the CRC is for workers associated with clinical trials and the CRA is for clinical trial managers. To apply to these programs, you must fill out an application form and supply a CV that shows you have the required education and work experience. Once you have this credential, you can continue to take professional development courses from this organization, and you will be expected to re-certify.

This organization also offers memberships to students, so if you are currently in college completing your degree, it may be worthwhile to join this organization to take advantage of publications and networking benefits.

Tasks

As a clinical trial manager, you will work with patients/subjects, physicians, nurses and other health professionals at a clinical site, as well as work with other members of your employer, which is usually a pharmaceutical company. You are expected to work with health professionals in a professional and friendly manner, to provide presentations and instructions about the item under investigation. You will also be responsible for the recruitment of test sites or subjects. You will work with statistical information, health information and confidential client information. You will also be responsible for the budget for the project, and you will be expected to make presentations at appropriate milestones or to complete a project.

Most clinical trials managers will work regular office hours, nine-to-five, but they will be expected to deal with emergencies and email queries in a timely manner, so expect to be carrying your smartphone with you at all times.

According to Payscale.com, entry-level clinical trial managers, one to four years experience, make $50,000 per year. Clinical trial managers with more than ten years experience can make up to $100,000 per year.

Job Opportunities

The clinical trials manager position is usually the highest level position with the team, since most members will report to the manager. To get started in this area, you do need an undergraduate degree, in math/statistics, science or health sciences. While in school, you should look for opportunities to work on research, even if it is research with "mock" participants, get exposure to some of the most used statistical database tools, such as Oracle Clinical, or get some experience using clinical trial data to draw conclusions about the process. You should also take at least one course in health ethics, as well as research design. Since clinical trial managers are responsible for project management and budgeting, getting some experience in these areas will also be an asset when you look for work in this field.