Clinical statisticians are professionals who use math and science concepts to gather, organize, and interpret data. Their goal is to help their organizations to develop or improve products such as drugs. A person who wishes to become a clinical statistician needs to complete a two-year master’s degree or a four- to five-year doctoral degree in math or statistics to be eligible for employment opportunities in this complex industry. These types of workers must be extremely analytical and good at working on multiple projects at the same time.
A chief duty of a clinical statistician is to plan studies that lead to the information that an organization can use to reach its business goals. This type of professional designs case report forms that provide questions that patients participating in clinical trials must answer to help the statistician to obtain particular data. The clinical statistician also creates computer programs to track trial results and evaluates the information that he or she draws from the study.
Presenting information derived from research to the appropriate parties constitutes another responsibility in this career area. A clinical statistician should be prepared to draft reports on the results of clinical trials as well as prepare oral presentations for company leaders who use the information to make business decisions. In addition, these types of professionals might present their data to government authorities or industry associations upon request. Clinical statisticians also often publish their work in field journals. For this reason, strong verbal and written communication skills are mandatory in this job position.
Solid leadership and networking skills additionally are valuable in the industry. Statisticians often have to coach and supervise other employees, which includes assigning computer programmers and other statisticians with various tasks as part of larger research projects. This type of individual also develops relationships with colleagues in the field, thus giving him or her the opportunity to serve as a consultant who shares his or her specialized expert knowledge with others.
People in the field are responsible for keeping their expertise up-to-date. This is possible by attending college and university continuing education courses. A clinical statistician also should attend conferences hosted by professional organizations in the industry to find out about innovative statistical methods and then determine if he or she can use them to meet his or her company’s particular needs. The individual needs to stay abreast on clinical trial standards and other related medical legislation in the field as well.