Clinical Research Courses to Open Doors to Clinical Research Jobs
Clinical research courses and clinical research training
Whether you’re a student or recent graduate looking to get started in clinical research, or a clinical researcher seeking continued education and professional development, there are plenty of clinical research courses available, both online and in-person.
Courses and training programs focused on clinical research and clinical trials, either in a broad sense or focused on specific aspects such as regulatory compliance, can help expand your clinical research expertise and boost your professional development to open up a promising, long-term career in this field. In this article, we first discuss the outlook of jobs in clinical research and then point to some noteworthy courses and clinical research certifications that can help you along the way.
Is clinical research a good career choice?
A clinical research career is a highly challenging but deeply rewarding path. Clinical research is vastly important for healthcare as it is a key part of discovering novel medical interventions that can improve patient care and save lives, but the stakes are high. The industry tends to move quickly, involving high-paced environments and demanding yet satisfying positions.
If you are considering a clinical research career but are unsure of the job outlook, it is good to know that the clinical research industry is currently experiencing a boom, and is poised to grow from an estimated market value of $53–56 billion in 2022 to $85–96 billion by 2032.,
This growth translates to a similar increase in the demand for clinical research professionals and will encourage competitive salaries, which is good news for anyone interested in pursuing a clinical research career.,
A clinical research certification can help you land clinical research jobs
Clinical research certifications can be obtained upon completion of a clinical research course or by passing an exam offered by different institutes certifying different types of clinical research professionals. These formal certifications can provide evidence of your abilities to employers and regulatory bodies, and add to your professional reputation and credibility.
Additionally, enrolling in a clinical research course before beginning your career or even while in an entry-level position shows initiative that might help you stand out to employers looking for enthusiastic and dedicated additions to their teams
Overview of jobs in clinical research
Within the clinical research industry, there are several different organizations and institutions sponsoring and conducting trials, each with various teams and departments. These include, but are not limited to, pharmaceutical companies and drug developers, biotech companies, contract research organizations (CROs), and research hospitals. Departments include clinical operations (ClinOps), data management, medical coding and writing, statistics and data analysis, regulatory compliance, quality assurance, and specific positions span from trial nurses to research assistants and coordinators, monitors, and management positions in the various departments. Some examples of entry-level, senior, and managerial positions in clinical research are outlined below.
Clinical Research Job
- Clinical trial assistant (CTA): Assists in clinical trial operations under the guidance of senior team members.
- Data entry trainee: Enters research subject data into case report forms/databases to maintain subject records.
Intermediate – Senior Positions
- Principal investigator (PI): The person in charge of and responsible for a given clinical trial. Leads other staff in various trial processes. Often requires a medical degree.
- Medical monitor: Collaborates with research teams and answers medical questions from trial sites. Monitors often start as PIs and are often medical doctors or pharmacists.
- Clinical research coordinator (CRC): Oversees daily operations of the clinical trial site and may provide direct care to research subjects.
- Clinical research associate (CRA): Ensures clinical trial sites follow standards and guidelines set by regulatory boards.
- Medical writer: Helps communicate study objectives, protocols, and ensure clarity and regulatory compliance in study documentation.
- Clinical data manager (CDM): Coordinates with clinical trial teams to manage trial data and maintain quality control.
- Clinical project manager: Coordinates all aspects of a clinical research study, leveraging in-depth knowledge of project management techniques.
- Clinical operations manager: Oversees activities of clinical trial sites and coordinates with clinical project managers to ensure trials are on track. May lead a clinical operations (ClinOps) team.
5 Places to find clinical research courses to accelerate your clinical research career
1. NIH OCR training programs
The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Clinical Research (OCR) provides several clinical research courses and programs to promote clinical research in the U.S. Visit the OCR website for more information on specific courses, including the ones listed below.
- Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Clinical Research – An introductory course that provides an overview of all clinical research operations.
- Principles of Clinical Pharmacology – An online lecture series that covers the basics of pharmacology and rational drug development.
2. ACRP clinical research career guidance
The Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) has an impressive course catalog offering clinical research courses to educate professionals of all levels, provide career guidance, and facilitate clinical research job searches. Two examples are highlighted below:
- Introduction to Clinical Trials – A free online course for entry-level clinical researchers.
- Understanding Clinical Trial Protocols – A paid online course for clinical research professionals on designing and assessing the feasibility of clinical research protocols.
3. CCRPS clinical research courses
The Certified Clinical Research Professionals Society (CCRPS) offers a variety of clinical research courses, including specialized clinical research training tailored for specific roles, including: 
- Clinical research coordinator (CRC) certification
- Clinical research associate (CRA) certification
- Clinical research assistant training
- Principal Investigator (PI) training and certification
- Medical monitor training
Other clinical research training programs include:
- ICH Good Clinical Practice (GCP) certification
- Pharmacovigilance training and certification
The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) offers various online courses for clinical research training and continued education. Their mission is to provide affordable and convenient access to quality education programs to promote the quality of clinical research. Some of the clinical research courses offered include:
- Part I and Part II Informed Consent for Research - Brief webinars covering the topics of informed consent and HIPAA authorization requirements
- A Primer on Clinical Research - Presentation covering the essentials of clinical research and its role in proving medical products are safe and effective
- Sponsor Responsibilities - Provides an overview of the various responsibilities of the sponsor in clinical research, including regulatory considerations, site selection, and monitoring
With over 720 clinical research courses available, Coursera has become a valuable resource for finding both free and paid, in-person or online programs, degrees, and certifications from international universities and educational institutions. Some highly rated courses include:
- Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials - A paid course from John Hopkins University covering elements of designing randomized clinical trials and reporting results
- Introduction to Clinical Data – a paid course from Stanford University that is part of the “AI in Healthcare” specialization, focused on successful and ethical data mining
- Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics – a free course from the University of Cape Town designed to help people from various backgrounds understand the statistical terminology used in clinical research to improve their health literacy and make it easier to interpret trial findings
- Data Management for Clinical Research – a free course from Vanderbilt University covering all aspects of data management in clinical trials, from planning and collecting through to analysis
With so many clinical research courses currently available, many of them offered completely remotely and even for free, it’s easier than ever before to find a course to help you advance professionally or deepen your understanding of various aspects of clinical research. So, whether you are a newcomer looking to update your qualifications for entry-level positions or an experienced clinical research professional seeking to stay up to date with trends or obtain a professional certification, have a look through the resources we’ve listed here; we’re sure you’ll be able to find a clinical research training program that can help you reach the next level.