What kind of experience or background is needed for entry-level clinical research roles?

Most often, people will need at least an associate degree or completion of a certificate program in order to qualify for an entry-level role. Since clinical research is a vast field, the degree or certificate you get will likely depend on the role you’d like to pursue, whether that’s early research/pre-clinical, clinical trial management, diagnostic testing, or production/development.

What advice would you give to someone who has the education and transferable skills to be a clinical research associate but lacks experience?

There are plenty of certificate courses available that can help you gain experience or further credentials to improve job prospects. One of these is a Certificate of Apprenticeship, which allows on-the-job experience and a foot in the door. Additionally, attending networking events organized by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and its partners can help you identify job opportunities.

What do I need to put on my resume to land a role in contract research or diagnostic testing?

The experience and skills you put on your resume will depend on the specific role you’re looking for. It’s best to keep your resume short and emphasize both soft and technical skills, as well as professional experience. Try to incorporate keywords in the job description for the role you are pursuing, including “data analysis,” “patient management,” and “knowledge of Good Lab Practices.”

Where can I get training? How long will it take?

There are a number of universities, colleges, and educational institutions across North Carolina that offer relevant contract research and diagnostic testing programs . The time it takes to complete the training will depend on which program or certificate course you choose, with some taking days or weeks and other taking months or years. Check out our training map to narrow down options in your area and concentration.

Will clinical research require travel?

Travel is a necessary part of many clinical research roles, but remote monitoring tools and other technologies help to reduce the amount of travel needed.

Are there any mentoring opportunities available?

Many North Carolina community colleges have career centers that help their students with resume writing, interviewing skills and how to best utilize job posting websites, such as LinkedIn, to obtain employment. NCWorks and NCBiotech’s Jobs Board are other resources for finding clinical research jobs and programs.

How do pay ranges vary based on education level?

Even entry-level clinical research roles offer competitive salaries, with positions like research associates and safety assistants making $47K to $60K. Those with advanced degrees or bachelor’s degrees can expect to make anywhere from $65K to over $100K.

What networking opportunities are available?

For networking opportunities, look for professional groups near you on NCBiotech’s Find Your Community webpage or Jobs Network.

Header image photo credit: ZenBio