Tips on Becoming a Clinical Research Coordinator

hello my name is Erica Johnson and I want to talk to you today about clinical trials it's a snowy day across the United States and it's also the beginning of 2018 and this is a time of year where a lot of people want to make changes or make they've made resolutions to really pursue their career or make a career change and so I want to take this opportunity to talk to you a little bit about clinical trials and how it might be an option for you I have a very unique background I was able to work in bench research I'm actually doing various kinds of experiments both in mostly in biology and I did that in high school and in in summer internships and also in college for my work-study jobs but I was pursuing a degree in clinical psychology so I got really into academic research and was able to when I graduated from college that was the career that I pursued working in in academic research working I was able to work at Mount Sinai I'm looking at addiction and precursors to addiction in minorities I was able to work at Yale for a while looking at precursors to homelessness looking at mental the the link between mental illness homelessness and and the ability to find good fit work models and so that was really interesting work and a really great opportunity but I also was given a chance to to pursue a career in clinical research and that was my passion and the thing that anybody in clinical research will tell you is that it's something that you either absolutely love or you absolutely don't like it and so I I absolutely loved it but I bring a unique perspective to the table because I did come from bench research and academic research and Clinton and then into clinical research and I have gained so much from working in all three of those areas and I think it's made me a better better clinical researcher I want to let you know that it is a really a wonderful feel to work in number one because you're helping identify new treatments and you're working with people in certain situations where this is their their last hope to better the quality of their life your so you're on the cutting edge of technology medical and medical research but you're also giving a form of compassionate care one of the things you'll notice if you're already in the medical field if you're a medical assistant or physicians are a nurse or a nursing assistant the things that the major difference that you'll immediately note in clinical research is that once you get a patient you get to see them more often you get to talk to them more often you get to know them more likely more than you do in your red regular clinic practices and so you're really getting to make an impact more so than just a momentary impact but a more long-term impact in the lives of people and in the lives of men and in medicine itself so that is one of the big benefits of it and you know you really want to have a career that speaks to what you're good at the parts of your personality that are a good fit and if you're a highly organized person if you're really good at time management clinical trials is definitely something that you should consider because it being very organized being very time oriented attention to detail if you're the kind of person who is adamant about rules and following rules and documenting rules if that's who you are then this is a perfect career for you I want to tell you that there's a lot of places you can start I started out and when I came into clinical research I started out as a clinical research coordinator on the site level there's all kinds of combinations out there you will find that there are organizations where you can come in and just do data entry and it gives you exposure to the terms to the model of clinical trials but there are also sites where as the coordinator you actually get to see the patients and do the data and you know kind of maintain the day to day task of the trial so I started out at as a coordinator on that level and eventually was site manager and eventually decided to go into monitoring which is working for the pharmaceutical company or the CRO and actually reviewing the data for its quality because ultimately this data gets submitted to the FDA and it's key to the approval of the drug by the FDA so what I what I want to leave you with in this message today is that there are so many opportunities in clinical research if you're a medical assistant if you're going to school to be a medical assistant you're at a perfect starting point you can have a very fulfilling career in clinical trials you do need some basic training to be a clinical research coordinator you do need to become familiar with GCP the FDA regulations standard operating procedures for running trials but you as a someone who's going to school or is a medical assistant you have the basic medical knowledge you just need to find the the discipline that the area that you're interested in working in and learn more about that area and the key diseases of that area so that that'll give you even more understanding but I want you to understand that starting at that level can grow into so much more there's so many opportunities you can work at the site level you can work there they're actually networks of clinical research sites you can work it in the network level you can actually branch out as you grow in your career and work for the pharmaceutical companies themselves or work for the clinical research organizations which are the organizations that are hired by pharmaceutical companies to to oversee the running of the clinical trial there's you know within those two situations there's a multitude of positions that you can have there's recruitment there are people who just do recruitment all day long they identify subjects they develop recruitment materials advertising materials there are people who just deal with safety on their safety monitors there are people whom and safety hotlines and fax lines and get into the process of reporting adverse events and things like that there's data entry there's all levels of data entry there's data entry on the site level then there's data data data query management on the sponsor level all the pharmaceutical side where you actually go into the systems and review what the site has entered and issue queries there's monitoring which is going out reviewing the sores against the the electronic data capture systems and making sure that the the subject monitoring that the subject safety your making sure that regulations are being met the monitor does a lot but on that level there's project managers who don't go to the site but they oversee the project I mean you could literally um have a flourishing career just coming in you could start out as a medical assistant who pursues clinical trials and you could grow into to a career that that you travel a lot that you have a lot of responsibilities and it begins to help develop protocols I mean that's what's so enriching about this career is that you can start at one place and very quickly move it'sit's that it's a career where advancement it doesn't take years and years and years if you're really good if you're really organized if you're focused if you have your goals in mind you can quickly move to the next level in your career and that's important and you have families you have goals you have financial goals you have things that you want to do in your life and so I want to encourage you if you're one of those people who are considering a career change certainly if you're a nurse if you're an RN absolutely this should be a pretty easy transition for you it's really just basically learning again just like the MA learning GCP learning FDA regulations and how to run this study and things like that so if you're graduating from college this year and you have a BS the bachelors in science certainly don't hesitate you know I came from a non clinical background I had a bench experience that my degree was something different and I still managed to break through and get into the clinical research field there's lots of opportunities if you have a bachelor's in science if you are like me you have that you have that BA in Psychology give it a shot there's plenty of trials out there that deal with questionnaires and more sociological things in addition to the medicine itself and so you can be very helpful in a trial so what I want you to do is if you want to make this transition think outside of the box look it up research it depending on where you are like I said if you're in high school or if you're still in college you have time to get internships or summer jobs so that you can experience it a little bit if you're an MA or an RN and you're you're working someplace where the doctor does clinical trials you can always you know kind of do over-the-shoulder tutoring Lou kind of finding out what you need to know what's it what's it like so I just want to encourage you today to think about clinical trials there's a lot of changes going on in the world there's a lot of jobs you know you go online and they're saying this job is going to disappear this job's not going to be there but one thing that it's pretty obvious is where they're always going to be new drugs being tested there's always going to be the need for pharmaceuticals on some level so you you know if you're someone who wants to get in on that and like I said in the beginning be part of helping people being on the cutting edge of not only you know medicine but also compassion and bringing forth treatments and things that really help improve the quality of people's lives and prolong their lives clinical trials is something that you can scan shoot you should consider so if you have any questions of please leave a comment for me and I'll reply and please give a thumbs up want to do a couple more videos to kind of give you some more details about clinical trials it's a great career I want to encourage you to look into it and consider it again please give a thumbs up if this was useful and if you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll be glad to get back to you okay thanks very much everyone have a a great day and stay warm


  1. Hi, your video was very encouraging. I’ve been a Medical Assistant for 20yrs. I started as a CRC Dec of 2016. In the beginning it all seemed foreign to me bc I had to literally self teach. Thank God I had some good CRA that helped as well…then after a few months it all started coming together. It still a lot of things I need to learn and sometimes I am so overwhelmed. My area doesn’t have any CRC that could mentor me. I’ve been looking for classes to take for CRC training in my area but most of everything requires a BS degree. I’ve also contacted Clinical Fast track, but since Im a little experienced there’s not much they could offer. My goal is to take the CRC certification once I find a class that would help me study for it. Do you have any suggestions for classes and a fresh CRC that does everything? My apologies for all long post.

  2. , thanks for this video I've been wanting to get into the research field but was not sure how to go about it and this video has been very useful

  3. Hi! I am so thrilled I stumbled across your video it was extremely informative and encouraging. I am currently an RVT (registered vet tech) looking to move over into clinical research in human medicine. I was lucky enough to shadow a coordinator a few days ago and I will likely apply for some of the open positions, but I just worry that I may not have enough experience or my experience doesn't translate well. You mentioned training in the video and I was just wondering if you could elaborate on what that consists of and what one can expect in that area. I have great medical knowledge from my tech degree and I'm great with people, but I just don't know much about research and trials themselves and all that goes into running one . Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for this video, very helpful and insightful ! I recently completed my masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Research. However, the only time I have been exposed to any research is during my undergraduate days doing my year long projects, participating in experiments, and picking my professors brains about their own past research. For the past 2 years, I've been a behavioral therapist working with individuals with autism so my professional experience is lacking as well. What are some tips that could help me stand out and catch the recruiters eyes when looking at my resume or previous experience?

  5. First of all, I would like to thank you for such a video, that information is way valuable. Therefore, I would like to ask you one questions. I have a BS in sports science but not experience in research. However, clinical research got my attention and I want to pursue this career, but even for coordinator (the button chain I believe) the majority of the recruiters are asking for previous experiences. So, how you did it, or what would you recommend me to do in order to get hired with not experience? Thanks!

  6. thank you so much for this video it ws very insighful,im a final year medical student in europe i want to move to the u.s im so interested in clinical research any pointers will be most helpful

  7. One of the most useful videos I’ve ever watched on YouTube in my 26 years of life. You speak very well and have a lot of insight on the topic of clinical research. I have my Bachelors in Public Health and have also done bench work during my minor in chemistry. I’m currently working at a Phase 1 CRO as a Medical Research Associate and interested in a transition to more patient care vs participant environment. I’m currently looking at a clinical research coordinator position at a university cancer center. I agree with you, this field is built for growth in any direction of the spectrum. It’s brilliant.

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