It’s a great time to be a clinical research coordinator (CRC). There’s high demand for people to run clinical trials and no lack of job opportunities. What should active CRCs be doing to further their careers?
We asked two Aerotek veterans who would know: Michael Mazza, a division practice lead, and Lacy Preddie, an account recruiting manager. Both specializing in placing Clinical Research Coordinators in this red-hot job market.
What kinds of medical research offer the most opportunities?
The fight to cure cancer is the driving force behind much of the growth for CRC jobs.
“The huge push is in oncology [cancer treatment],” Preddie said. “But there’s also neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, orthopedics, gene therapy and more…”
Mazza added that a growing number of hospitals are running clinical trials in “CAR T-cell therapy,” a new type of cancer treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells.
“Whatever drug compound or product a pharmaceutical company or medical device company is coming up with, there has to be research conducted with it,” Mazza said.
If I’m a CRC, which certifications I should earn?
You could become a CCRC, a certified clinical research coordinator, by passing an exam and demonstrating proficiency and specific knowledge of CRC job skills.
Who sets those standards? That’s the ACRP, the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. The ACRP and SOCRA, the Society of Clinical Research Associates, are nationally recognized organizations that offer certifications for clinical research pros.
If you make the right moves as a research coordinator, you can work with the most innovative, cutting-edge technology out there. You can also use your job as a launching pad for an even more rewarding career in the health industry.
Should clinical research coordinators consider contract work?
Contract positions can help you round out your resume and get hired by top organizations — fast.
Mazza offers the example of a major university research hospital with a dozen different medical departments, all of them supported by the same overburdened human resources office.
“They may need to post a job and it may take three months to get a job approved and get it on the website. And then another three months for HR to generate an applicant pool,” said Mazza. By that time, everyone has moved on. There’s less level of risk for companies hiring contract employees, which often lead to permanent roles.
What are some interview mistakes CRCs should avoid?
“For the most part, coordinators represent themselves pretty well in interviews,” Preddie said. “But we just had a situation where two coordinators who had 10-plus years of experience just did not represent themselves very well, even with some coaching.” Make sure to highlight all of your previous responsibilities that you accomplished each day on the job. It’s important to give hiring managers an in-depth understanding of your role within clinical trials. Any data management, subject interaction and regulatory experience is worth bringing up in an interview.
It was a reminder that communication skills are always key.
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