Clinical coordinators are professionals who ensure that workers and supplies are available prior to the start of clinical research projects. Some of these initiatives — called clinical trials — aim to collect information that can lead to health solutions while maintaining the safety of the subjects who are involved. A person who wishes to become a clinical coordinator can enter the field with four years of college, but two years of graduate school make him or her even more attractive to employers.
If you seek to become a clinical coordinator, you have to earn at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in a healthcare field or in clinical research. To get into this type of bachelor’s degree program, you need to provide your high school diploma or proof of the equivalent certification. In addition, your school’s admissions team requires that you turn in your high school transcript, results from recently taken standardized exams, and a completed college enrollment form.
Undergraduate training in clinical research will introduce you to various aspects of the medical field. For example, you should study pharmacology, which deals with how drugs work and are absorbed by the body. This is valuable if you want to become a clinical coordinator because clinical trials often involve the testing of drugs’ effects on humans. Classes also go over medical terminology, which will help you to understand the language of the medical community and enhance your communication skills when working as a clinical coordinator. Courses on clinical trials and clinical research additionally cover environments in which clinical trials are conducted along with regulations for these trials. You can also take courses in specific areas of interest such as psychology, social work, or nursing depending on the industry in which you would like to work as a clinical coordinator.
A person who is interested in entering the clinical research field should complete a hands-on internship in this industry. An internship will give you experience with collecting information about clinical subjects’ medical histories and monitoring medical drug therapies. You should additionally learn how to analyze clinical trial results and assess the safety of trials on subjects. During your field experience, you must practice working effectively in a team environment if you want to become a clinical coordinator.
Although a four-year degree is sufficient to coordinate clinical trials, employers often prefer job candidates who have master’s degrees in the field, which generally take two years to earn. In addition to completing advanced courses on effective processes for completing clinical trials, you will be required to complete an original research thesis project before you can graduate and become a clinical coordinator. Financial management and medical ethics are also a part of this type of degree program so that you will know how to manage monetary resources during clinical research projects and follow moral codes.