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Clinical Trial Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Clinical trial managers’ regular tasks depend on factors such as the size of their employer, the type of trial they are managing, and their position within the company. Despite these factors, most clinical trial managers usually perform the following tasks:

Manage Clinical Trials Managing clinical trials for private physicians, drug companies, government agencies, and academic institutions is a major part of a clinical trial manager’s job. They oversee trials, ensuring they are executed correctly and follow the correct protocol. They might report issues or problems to a physician or director in charge of the trial.

Recruit Participants (Study Subjects) Every clinical trial needs willing participants. Often, for scientific and research purposes, participants must meet certain criteria before they are selected. Clinical trial managers often help screen potential study subjects and provide them with information before the actual trial.

Monitor Trial Progress When conducting a study, it is important to keep track of every development. Clinical trial managers are usually responsible for monitoring the progress of study subjects and the overall trial. They are often given certain diagnostic tools to ensure the trial is progressing as planned.

Contact Supervisors or Scientists Clinical trial managers often have close ties the scientists and physicians responsible for the trial. They are expected to update these individuals and provide them with important details regarding the trials. Clinical trial managers may have regular meetings with scientists, researchers, or physicians.

Collect Data Many clinical trials require interviews with study subjects. The questions asked during these interviews are highly important and can have a major impact on the outcome of the study. Clinical trial managers are often tasked with collecting data from study subjects and presenting it to the appropriate party.


Clinical Trial Manager Skills and Qualifications

Clinical trial managers should have a strong interest in science, pharmaceuticals, or medicine and at least a bachelor’s degree. The certifications and educational requirements to become a clinical trial manager vary from company to company. However, most companies and medical establishments look for the following traits in clinical trial managers:

  • Scientific or medical knowledge – clinical trial managers do not have to be actual doctors, pharmacists, or scientists, but they must possess basic knowledge in these fields. They should have a firm understanding of elementary science principles in biochemistry, pharmacology, and chemistry so they can make decisions without direct assistance from researchers
  • Research background – conducting clinical trials requires an in-depth knowledge of the research process. Clinical trial managers should know how to set up trials, collect and interpret the data
  • Managerial experience – clinical trial managers should be capable of handling large and complex trials, other clinical trial employees, multiple participants, and large amounts of data
  • Communication – to actively communicate the requirements and steps of the trial to the participants and the employees they manage
  • Analytical skills – to collect and interpret data, noting important patterns or outcomes that should be brought to the attention of those responsible for the trial

Clinical Trial Manager Education and Training

Most companies require clinical trial managers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a science, engineering, or a mathematical field. To obtain a bachelor’s, most individuals enroll in a four-year college or university and take courses in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, writing, and genetics. For some clinical trials, a master’s degree and a supervisory background are required. Clinical trial managers usually receive some on-the-job-training from more experienced employees.


Clinical Trial Manager Salary and Outlook

The salaries of clinical trial managers largely depend on their place of employment and years of experience. However, in the United States, clinical trial managers earn an annual median salary of $97,870. Clinical trial managers in the top 10 percent earn more than $130,679 annually, while those in the 10th percentile earn less than $64,866 annually. Individuals in this profession typically have access to employment benefits such as health insurance, retirement, paid time-off, and bonuses based on longevity and performance. The employment rate for clinical trial managers is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2014 and 2024. This rate is much higher than the national average of 7 percent for all professionals, and the increase is attributed to the growth of the pharmaceutical, medical, and private research sectors.


Helpful Resources

Does the prospect of becoming a clinical trial manager sound enticing? Let the following resources help you land your dream job:

Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) – SOCRA is an organization dedicated to clinical research associates. It offers a variety of educational opportunities, such as certification courses, seminars, and speaking events. Those interested in the field can also apply for membership or look up a local chapter on the organization’s website.

Conducting Clinical Research: A Practical Guide for Physicians, Nurses, Study Coordinators, and Investigators – Anyone looking for a manual geared towards individuals looking to enter the clinical research field should take a look at this book. It provides tips for recruiting patients and coordinating studies, as well as an entire chapter dedicated solely to simplifying government and industry regulations. Written by leading medical researcher Judy Stone, MD, Conducting Clinical Research demystifies the role of a clinical trial manager.

Business Administration for Clinical Trials – As a manager, you will be responsible for handling a variety of administrative duties in addition to coordinating clinical trials. The product of a partnership between R. Jennifer Cavalieri and Mark E. Rupp MD, Business Administration for Clinical Trials explores the business and financial aspects of working in the clinical research industry.