Clinical Research Careers - How to Qualify for Clinical Research Careers

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Clinical research careers involve supervising or overseeing clinical trials for medicines as well as other products and technologies. They make sure that the process abides by all laws and regulations.

The work includes writing and maintaining reports and documents and reviewing work files. It involves tracking all equipment used, making sure everything is correctly placed and going as planned, and tracking the response or outcomes of patients participating in these clinical trials. The results of the clinical trials bring the latest pharmaceuticals and therapies from the laboratories to the health centers where they will be administered to the patients who are in need of them. The primary work environment of clinical researchers is in the laboratories of hospitals and universities where they use many kinds of equipment. Others work in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Of those who work in hospitals, some work directly with one patient or they may work with larger groups. They administer drugs and monitor the patients during clinical trials. Clinical researchers also work in clinics and hospitals. If they are working with toxic substances or dangerous organisms they must follow strict safety procedures to avoid accidental contamination.

In order to qualify for clinical research employment you must acquire a certification from organizations like the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) and Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). Clinical researchers come from various courses such as business administration, health information management, medical technology, nursing, and statistics at all levels from associate degree to graduate degree holders, they can either be PhD’s, MD’s or PhD/MD’s. One reason for the rise in PhD holders in clinical research over MD’s is because most physicians finish med school with a lot of debt which forces them to choose private practice over careers in research.

Another requirement before certification for clinical research careers is for applicants to have at least 2 years full time work experience in their respective fields. If the applicant has at least a clinical research associate degree than one year fulltime work experience is enough. They have to then pass the given examination. A good start o this career path would be enrolling in a bachelor’s degree course in biological science where they will also take up other useful subjects like computer, science, engineering, humanities, math, and physics. After completing a bachelor’s degree in biological science they can enroll in a PhD program which could take 6 years to complete and specialize in bioinformatics, genetics or pathology; or they can enroll in a joint PhD and MD program in a medical college which will take 7 to 8 years to complete. Here they will acquire both clinical skills, needed to be a physician and research skills, needed in being a scientist. An advantage of being an MD is that they are licensed to administer drugs and gene therapy to patients, to draw blood, excise tissue and perform other invasive operations.

Employment outlook for clinical research careers is excellent and is expected to grow faster than the average for all professions. Much growth is expected because of the growing amount of research needed for illnesses such as AIDS, avian flu, and cancer and treatment problems like disease resistance to antibiotics. When it comes to job prospects having both a medical and doctoral degree will give you the best chances. Employers are also looking for applicants who can communicate clearly but at the same time concise, both in oral and written communication. Advancement in clinical research takes the form of larger budgets or being assigned to university positions. Other clinical researchers move to managerial positions where they spend more time preparing schedules and budgets.

If you want to stand out when you apply for the clinical research job, you have to research the company to demonstrate in the interview that you tried to familiarize yourself with the company. Ask the people you know who must have previously worked in medical field that may be a good and honest reference of your behavior and past work history. Try to familiarize yourself with the terminologies used in clinical research to demonstrate your knowledge in this field.

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