How Do I Become a Clinical Director?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A clinical director manages the operation of a medical facility or health or research program. To become a clinical director, you usually have to complete a degree program that provides you with advanced knowledge of medical, health or science topics. A program that includes clinical administration courses might be particularly helpful. A bachelor’s degree provides a start when you are hoping to pursue this career, but most employers prefer graduate degrees. Additionally, to become a clinical director, you usually will need strong leadership skills, analytical ability and a flair for developing new programs.

Woman posing
Woman posing

A bachelor’s degree typically is among the requirements to become a clinical director. This is the minimum level of education you can expect to need for this type of job. Clinical directors have a lot of responsibility and often need advanced knowledge of research or health matters, so many employers seek candidates who have graduate degrees for this job. As such, you might need a master’s degree or a doctoral degree to compete for this job. If you want the best chance at securing the job you want, however, earning a doctorate might be the optimal choice.

As far as the type of degree that you will need for this career, a science major is often a good choice. Clinical directors perform a range of tasks as they oversee research or health programs, and earning a science degree can prepare you well for these tasks. You might find, however, that some employers prefer applicants who have medical-oriented degrees. For example, a company might advertise for candidates who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in nursing as well as registered nurse licensing. On a graduate study level, you might even find some degree programs in clinical administration that offer good preparation for this career.

Besides education, there are many qualities that employers seek when they are hoping to hire a clinical director. Leadership skills typically are at the top of this list, because a clinical director needs to know how to direct other staff members. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills usually are required for dealing with personnel, patients or research subjects. An employer might also want you to possess the ability to motivate yourself and others, create and modify a budget and ensure that the facility or program in which you work complies with applicable regulations.

Creativity, problem-solving skills and an analytical mind are also important if you want to become a clinical director. You might need to use both your creativity and your analytical mind to develop and implement new programs. Your problem-solving skills, on the other hand, might come in handy when you are looking for ways to make a program better or solve a staff issue.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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