How Can I Become a Clinical Data Analyst?

Research what it takes to become a clinical data analyst. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median salary and job outlook to find out 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 Analyst?

According to O*Net Online and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical data analysts fall under the broader category of statisticians. Clinical data analysts provide information from clinical trials, as well as from internal and outsourced personnel, to healthcare facilities and other companies within the medical industry. See the table below for a quick overview of the information presented in the article as well as salary and job growth statistics.

Degree Required Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Health sciences or health information management
Key Skills Abilities with word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, some familiarity with structured query language (SQL) and relational database systems, understanding of health care and clinical research operations
Job Growth (2012-2022)* 27% (for all statisticians)
Median Salary (2013)* $79,290 (for all statisticians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Clinical Data Analyst?

Clinical data analysts provide accurate and efficient information to management within a health analytics company, insurance company, hospital or clinic. You may do this by obtaining information from internal and outsourced personnel as well as clinical research studies. You may also use information technology to create a data management plan, which ensures that research outcomes are presented as verifiable scientific data.

What Education Do I Need?

According to February 2011 job postings on the American Medical Informatics Association's (AMIA) website, many employers require applicants to have at least a bachelor's degree in health sciences, health information management or a related field (www.amia.org). These baccalaureate programs may be offered online as well as on campus.

In a health sciences bachelor's degree program you may study health services management, ethics for health professionals and medical terminology. Some programs include courses in pathophysiology, or ways the body is affected by disease. Bachelor's degree programs in health information management include coursework about health care software programs and data privacy standards.

What Skills Do I Need?

According to a February 2011 search of AMIA's job postings, to be a successful clinical data analyst you may need to be proficient in word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software applications. You may also need to be familiar with structured query language (SQL) and relational database systems, such as Oracle.

The job may require you to work by yourself or with other engineering and informatics personnel. Communication skills are a must. You may also need to understand how health care and clinical research operations work, according to February 2011 job postings on CareerBuilder.com.

Will I Need Experience?

If you're seeking employment as a clinical data analyst, you may need 2-4 years of experience working in the health care field. You may also need to have spent up to two years working with clinical data. Some employers prefer applicants with financial data experience.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

If research is your passion, look into operations or market research jobs. As an operations research analyst, you'd use your expert mathematical and logic thinking skills to help businesses look for streamlined ways with decision making and problem solving. Market research analysts focus more on forecasting the marketability and demand for specific services or products. However, if your main goal is working with data in the medical industry, another option would be to work as a medical records and health information technician. You'd use your soft skills in dealing with and helping patients on the administration side, like scheduling appointments, and your organizational skills to manage patient records, like insurance, billing and personal medical files.

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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