Research Coordinator Job Description
As their professional title suggests, research coordinators help researchers design, monitor, and collect accurate data from clinical trials. Research coordinators are hired by pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, private physician practices, and universities, and most are employed full-time. The role is perfect for anyone with a background in nursing or science who works well with others. Most research coordinators report to a department head or lead researcher.
Research Coordinator Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and tasks research coordinators are required to carry out will depend on their place of employment and a variety of other factors, such as the amount of experience they have. Despite these factors, the overwhelming majority of research coordinators can be expected to do the following on a regular basis:
Control Research Budgets
Scientific and medical studies can be expensive, and most of the time, they must be conducted on a budget. This budget is usually set forth by the company or school responsible for the study, and the research coordinator is in charge of ensuring the study does not exceed the budget.
Enter Study Data into a Database
As a study progresses, various individuals will collect important data from the test subjects. This data will usually be studied by scientists, doctors, or other important officials later on. It is the job of the research coordinator to enter this data into an electronic database.
Ensure State and Federal Compliance
Institutions and organizations must adhere to certain regulatory standards when conducting a study of any sort. These standards ensure the study remains ethical and those participating in the study remain safe. Research coordinators must know these regulations and make certain they are followed.
Recruit Study Subjects
Without the right study subjects, virtually any study will fail. Research coordinators ensure study subjects meet the criteria set forth by the organization they work for. They also address any concerns or problems the subjects might have prior to and during the study.
Communicate with Researchers
The research coordinator provides researchers with any important information or developments that occur during the study. They may communicate regularly with these researchers or convey the concerns of study subjects.
Research Coordinator Skills and Qualifications
Every company and organization will have different requirements in regards to the skills needed to become a research coordinator, but there are some skills that are needed to enter the field. Most research coordinators must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They should also possess the following skills and qualifications if they want to get hired:
- Clinical knowledge – a qualified research coordinator should have some knowledge of biology, biochemistry, research techniques, psychology, and other health and science disciplines
- Understanding of safety regulations – safety regulations are immensely important, and if a company or organization does not follow them, they could be fined or face other serious consequences. Research coordinators should be aware of these regulations and how they can impact the study
- Data entry – research coordinators should know how to enter large amounts of data into a database. They may even be tasked with using software to compile reports or graphs depicting the findings of the study
- Attention to detail – research coordinators should be capable of recognizing small details, especially since they can have a major impact on the outcome of a study. They should pay attention to any feedback provided by test subjects and any irregular findings
- Communication skills – strong written and verbal communication skills are needed to become a research coordinator. Research coordinators should also feel comfortable sending emails and interacting with other coordinators and researchers
Research Coordinator Education and Training
Prospective research coordinators will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Most companies and organizations prefer a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but at organizations, a degree in any science field may be acceptable. Obtaining a degree in nursing usually takes three to four years, during which students take courses such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and basic pharmacology. Bachelor’s degrees are usually offered by four-year colleges and universities, but they may also be obtained at some technical schools. On-the-job training may be required until a research coordinator is capable of working independently.
Research Coordinator Salary and Outlook
According to Glassdoor, the median annual income for a research coordinator is $57,596. Roughly 10 percent of research coordinators earned more than $98,000 yearly, while another 10 percent earned less than $40,000 annually. Research coordinators, especially those employed full-time, usually received employment benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, and sick leave.
O*NET Online estimates the employment rate of research coordinators to increase by two to four percent between 2014 and 2024. This is considerably below the national average of seven percent for all professions, and this stagnation is believed to be caused by a decrease in the need for research coordinators.
Do you have what it takes to become a research coordinator? The following list of career resources can help you learn more about the job.
The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) – founded in 1991, SOCRA is a non-profit organization striving to educate the public and anyone interested in the clinical research field. The society provides its members with a wealth of educational resources, and it even holds regular conferences. Its website also hosts a job board for those interested in working in the industry.
Conducting Clinical Research: A Practical Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Study Coordinators, and Investigators – written by Judy Stone, Conducting Clinical Research is a must-have for anyone thinking about becoming a research coordinator. The book, which was a Ben Franklin Award finalist in 2007, provides tips for finding the right study volunteers, understanding safety regulations, and arranging complex studies. Conducting Clinical Research is geared towards anyone in the medical field with an interest in research.
A Clinical Trials Manual From The Duke Clinical Research Institute – the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is one of the most respected clinical research organizations in the nation, and authors Margaret Lieu and Kate Davis provide readers with some of the DCRI’s most important findings and tips. The book helps readers understand the ins and outs of clinical trials and the investigative techniques used to collect data.
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