One of the most important questions that you should ask yourself before pursuing a career is how much you’re likely to end up taking home for all your hard work.
While money may not be the most important driver of your future career, it definitely should factor into the decision.
In addition to digging into the financial possibilities of becoming a clinical research coordinator (CRC), we’re going to briefly discuss the job of a CRC and how to become one.
We’ll give you a little teaser, though; you won’t be living paycheck to paycheck if employed as a clinical research coordinator!
What Does a Clinical Research Coordinator Do?
With a title like clinical research coordinator, you’d think that this individual’s job is pretty important. In fact, CRCs hold some of the most pivotal positions in research studies, as they are the ones who coordinate all the processes that are sometimes happening all at once. CRCs have a lot of responsibility, as they are the ones that ensure that all of the study’s protocols and parameters are being set and conducted correctly.
Research studies have rules they have to abide by, and this is especially true for research studies involving humans. These rules and guidelines are set by international councils, including the experts in the United States, that are designed to protect the integrity and safety of research participants. Someone has to ensure that these and other rules are properly followed, which is one of a clinical research coordinator’s many tasks.
CRCs may also be responsible for finding and enrolling good participants for a research study. If specific equipment or a specific location is required for the successful completion of the study, then the CRC will also be responsible for these tasks.
In essence, CRCs plan, organize and coordinate various parts of a research study so that the research is conducted safely and the results are reliable.
How Much Does a Clinical Research Coordinator Make?
Now it’s time to discuss the question you’ve been waiting for: How much does a CRC make?
It turns out that all the hard work it will take to land a job as a CRC will pay off. According to O.Net, the median annual salary for a Clinical Research Coordinator is a whopping $129,100! This being a national average, some individuals employed in this career will earn significantly more per year, while others will make less.
You also won’t have to worry about there being enough jobs available once you graduate, as the job outlook is expected to grow at a rate faster than average (5%-7%) between 2019 and 2029.
How Do You Become a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator?
Becoming a CRC can be quite the journey, and some may feel more daunted than others depending on where they’re at in their educational journey.
Most start the process of becoming a CRC by getting into college, which will require students to have completed high school or its equivalent (GED). Once accepted into a college, there are a few paths that a person can take to lead them toward a career as a CRC.
The first path you may decide to take is to become a registered nurse (RN). Because clinical research involves humans and their safety, becoming an RN can give you the skills and knowledge necessary to be the best CRC, not to mention the leg up on you’re competition you may have when applying for jobs. While becoming an RN doesn’t necessarily require you to get a bachelor’s degree, you’ll likely need at least a bachelor’s degree to become a CRC.
The other path you may choose to follow is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in clinical research, public health, or health science. Choosing a degree in clinical research is the most straightforward non-nursing degree for those who are deadset on becoming CRCs. Most bachelor’s degree programs, whether it be in nursing or clinical research, take students around four years to complete.
After earning your degree, you’ll need to gain experience working in clinical research to obtain a CRC certification. Those who have a degree in clinical research from a Council for Higher Education Accredited (CHEA) school only need to get 1,500 hours, while those with another type of degree will need to obtain 3,000 hours.
Once you’ve obtained the necessary education credentials and clinical professional experience, you’re ready to sit for the certification exam to become a certified CRC. This certification exam is 125-multiple choice questions that cover six core subjects: Guideline for Good Clinical Practice; Definitions and Standards for Expedited Reporting; General Considerations for Clinical Trials; Statistical Principles for Clinical Trials; Clinical Trials in Pediatric Population; and The Declaration of Helsinki.
It may be a lot to take on, but it’s also a lot to take home!