Clinical Data Manager Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a clinical data manager. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to determine if this is the career for you. Schools offering Health Informatics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Clinical Data Manager?

A clinical data manager is a statistician who works in the healthcare field, sometimes referred to as a biostatistician or biometrician (www.bls.gov). They collect and compile clinical data, such as how well a drug works or how many people have contracted an infectious disease, using diagnostic tests, surveys, opinion polls and experiments. From there, they run statistical tests on the information in order to generate results that can help the healthcare industry meet goals like improving patient outcomes and lowering costs. They also troubleshoot software issues, solve data management problems, develop methods to ensure data accuracy, and prepare reports.

The table below summarizes key information about statisticians and clinical data managers.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree required for entry-level positions; master's degree common
Education Field of Study Statistics or mathematics
Key Skills Critical thinking, problem solving, and math skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 34% for all statisticians*
Median Salary (2015) $80,110 for all statisticians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Clinical Data Manager Do?

O*Net Online indicates clinical data managers are statisticians who utilize healthcare and database management systems to perform a variety of tasks (www.onetonline.org). You may, for example, design, test, and implement programs. Other activities typically include writing instruction manuals, creating data-tracking forms, and overseeing quality control audits. Additional responsibilities might include supervising staff, monitoring productivity, and working with end users to ensure system efficiency.

As a clinical data manager, you may also develop studies and participate in clinical trials. This might include creating tools to measure data on new drugs, such as medications for children and teens suffering from migraines or placebo-controlled studies for women who suffer from postpartum depression. Another area of focus might be the analysis of disease trends and outbreaks.

You might find positions with the government, public health agencies, medical facilities, or pharmaceutical companies. Other positions may be available with scientific research and development companies and insurance carriers. You may also find positions with doctor's offices, hospitals, nursing care facilities, and cancer registries.

What Experience Might I Need?

An August 2012 Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com search for clinical data management jobs indicates that you'll probably need a bachelor's degree and approximately five years of clinical data management experience. You may also need a few years' experience working with industry-specific software, such as Medidata and Rave.

Other experience you may need, according to the Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com search, includes knowledge of clinical database design, remote data entry technology, standard coding dictionaries, database methodology, and Microsoft Windows and Office. Some positions, such as senior clinical data manager, may only require 2-3 years of experience when combined with a bachelor's degree.

What Degrees Should I Explore?

The BLS states a bachelor's degree in statistics may be enough to qualify you for an entry-level position. Other relevant degrees include biology, chemistry, computer science, and math. You may want to pursue a master's degree in math, statistics, or a related field to increase your options.

Some opportunities for advancement may require you to have a Ph.D., according to the BLS. These include research-oriented and academic positions. A Ph.D. may also be needed if you'd like to become a consultant.

Will I Need to Be Certified?

Certification is a way to demonstrate professional dedication and potentially increase your employment options. The Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM) offers a program for Certified Clinical Data Manager (www.scdm.org). In order to qualify and apply for this certification, you'll need a combination of education and/or experience.

Once you've obtained certification, you'll need to renew it every three years, according to the SCDM. Part of the renewal process includes completing at least 1.8 continuing education units (CEUs), 60 percent of which need to consist of CDM training. The other CEUs may be earned by taking courses that address core competencies.

What Salary Might I Expect?

According to the BLS' May 2015 wage report, statisticians as a group earned a median salary of $38.51 per hour, or about $80,110 per year. Salary.com indicated that clinical data managers earned a median salary of $103,663 per year in 2017.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in information management, you might also want to consider a career as a database administrator. These professionals possess at least a bachelor's degree and can work in any field, not just medicine, to maintain and secure critical data. If you would rather stay in the medical field, you could think about becoming a health information technician. Rather than analyzing the information, technicians are responsible for collecting patients' medical records and inputting it into databases. They must also implement security strategies to make sure that the sensitive data remains confidential. Usually, an associate's degree is needed to get an entry-level technician job.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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