Clinical Research Director

Entering the medical field is something that holds a lot of opportunity for anyone. Great salaries, excellent benefits, and personal satisfaction are all among the key reasons that this field remains one of the most common for anyone to enter. However, not everyone is cut out for hands on, patient to doctor medical treatment. In these instances, entering a position as a clinical research director may be a better option.

The job will still allow you to enter the field and enjoy a variety of benefits including better salary, good job stability, and numerous professional career benefits. But it won’t’ require you to deliver hands on care to patients. If you still want to make a difference in the lives of others, the clinical research director role is an option worth considering.

What Is a Clinical Research Director?

A clinical research director works to provide leadership in clinical research settings. They help to oversee the overall evaluation and development of drugs or healthcare solutions, oversee programs designed to prevent or treat infectious disease, and more. In short, they are responsible for the management of the research side of a healthcare organization. Job duties that these professionals may be responsible for include the following:

  •                    Develop operating procedures and ensure that the entire research team follows those procedures.
  •                    Create good overall guidelines for clinical research and ensure that the guidelines are followed.
  •                    Assist in procuring specimens and samples for research needs
  •                    Help balance budgets and oversee the management of the clinical research team.
  •                    Ensure that all federal and state regulations are followed completely.
  •                    Handle HR roles including overseeing the hiring process and the employee management process.
  •                    Present progress reports and strategies to upper level management.
  •                    Serve as a director over the work of those employees who work underneath you.

In essence, the job is the same as any management level position except that it focuses on directing, organization, and administrating a clinical research facility and handling all of the tasks that this may involve. It is a role that requires a number of skills and capabilities, but one that offers numerous rewards to those who can excel in the position.

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There are plenty of abilities that will only be mastered through education, but having strengths in the following personal areas will have a big impact on your ability to excel in the job as well.

  •                    Strong Communication Skills – As a director you’ll end up having to discuss options with your employees as well as your superiors. Good communication is vital.
  •                    Confidence – You’ll also need to have confidence in your own abilities in order to complete your duties without hesitation or worry.
  •                    Strong Leadership Skills – In general, you’ll need good leadership skills in order to thrive in the role.

Nature of the Work

The work will take you from the lab to the office to the board room. As a clinical research director you’ll divide your time between overseeing the activities going on in a facility, managing information and reports in your office, and meeting with policy makers and upper management. In some instances you may have to visit conferences and other public functions in order to further hone your skills or to make the connections needed to move your research facility into the future.

Education and Training

In some cases, holding a bachelor’s of science in the field of clinical research or an associated degree in a related field will be enough to gain entry into the field. However, most employers will prefer that you hold a graduate level degree – at least a master’s degree – and that you have accumulated some professional experience in the field in order to enter director roles. In many cases as much as 10 years’ experience will be required. The specific training requirements will vary, but to ensure the best chances of gaining employment it is in your best interests to take the time to earn a master’s and complete field work or accumulate job experience.

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Average salaries in the field vary, but are around $132,000 according to While the low end of the salary range is roughly $87,000, it is still well above the national salary average for other jobs. In short, the position is one that can offer incredible pay and plenty of other benefits as well. 

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