How do I get in to clinical operations?

It maybe that you think that clinical operations could be the career for you, but how can you get in to this sector? Here are answers to questions that are commonly asked about what to do to get a clinical operations job…

How do I work within Clinical Operations?

‘Clinical Operations’ is not technically a subject studied in academia and is usually only taught in the form of ‘clinical research’ as part of some life science subjects.  Because of this, most people wanting to enter into a career within clinical operations don’t have any relevant experience in the field and this can be quite a daunting prospect for a newly graduated candidate.

So what should I do?

One option is to gain some experience in a more QC or laboratory based position, thus gaining an insight into how a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company works.  This helps when apply for entry-level roles within clinical research as you will be more aware of how a pharmaceutical, biotechnology or medical devices company operates.

What entry-level roles are available in Clinical Operations?

The most common route into clinical operations is to work as a Clinical Trial Assistant or CTA.  CTA’s are responsible for the day to day coordination of trials and work alongside Clinical Research Associates (CRA’s) and Clinical Study/Project Manager (CSM/CPM’s).  CTA’s are responsible for keeping Trial Master File (TMF) documents in order in accordance with the legislation that governs the country where the trial is operating.  They also ensure company Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) are kept in order to ensure operations staff are working to the guidelines and governance set for the trial.

So how do I apply for these CTA roles?

It goes without saying that a life sciences degree or equivalent is the starting point in entering the clinical research network, but this aside the best advice when applying for CTA roles is to be FLEXIBLE.  Being flexible on location, salary, contract duration and scope of work will help make you the most attractive candidate to a prospective employer.  Once you are in the door then your chance to get further experience will then help you climb further up the clinical operations ladder.

Read our guide to clinical operations

Read the CRA job profile

Posted in: News
man staring into microscope in lab