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How Do I Become a Clinical Trial Specialist?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A clinical trials specialist conducts research on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, universities, medical firms or other entities. Someone wishing to become a clinical trial specialist must typically graduate from high school and complete a science related college degree. In many instances, clinical specialists are senior employees which means that people filling these roles must first gain experience in clinical assistant jobs or other junior roles.

Many clinical trials involve drugs in which case someone wishing to become a clinical trial specialist must complete a college degree in biological science, pharmacology, chemistry or a related topic. Additionally, many firms require job applicants to have completed postgraduate degrees or to have successfully graduated from medical school. Some research involves a particular brand of science such as psychiatry or psychology in which case a specialist may have to have completed a degree program in that topic.

Clinical specialists organize trials of new drugs and treatments which involves determining timelines for the study, deciding how the results will be measured and finding volunteers or paid workers who are willing to take part in the trials. Consequently, many employers require anyone who wishes to become a clinical trial specialist to have prior supervisory or management experience. Some firms even prefer to hire individuals with management or business administration degrees. In other instances, medical school graduates can work their way up from junior clinical roles into assistant specialist roles and eventually assume control of such projects. Aside from having general experience of clinical trials, an applicant for a specialist job must have taken part in trials that focus on similar kinds of research as the current project, such as the development of vaccinations or studying the side effects of certain drugs.

In many countries, those involved in clinical trials and other medical related professions have to obtain licenses or to have completed certification courses. Therefore, someone wishing to become a clinical trial specialist may have to attend a government administered training course and successfully pass a practical or written examination. Government agencies in many nations can take disciplinary measures against individuals who are guilty of any kind of misconduct and many employers refuse to hire specialists who have previously faced such disciplinary action.

Aside from medical training and experience, clinical specialists often have to work long hours and to travel frequently. Therefore, most firms require specialists to have valid drivers licenses. Additionally, firms require specialists to have good interpersonal and administrative skills since anyone conducting such trials has to have frequent contact with large numbers of people and have the ability to keep track of results.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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