How Do I Become a Certified Clinical Research Coordinator?

A clinical research coordinator works under the direction of a principal investigator to manage the personnel, finance, and regulation aspects of medical research trials. Read on to find out how to become certified and get more information on passing one of several certification exams.. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a clinical research coordinator (CRC), you'll help administer clinical research trials by collecting data from study participants, monitoring clinical trial procedures, maintaining research logs, and ensuring proper research guidelines are followed. You will also be responsible for all documentation related to the trial and for ensuring the safety and general well-being of the participants. An education in clinical research and some clinical experience are required to work as a CRC. Professional certification is available through The Society of Clinical Research Associates and The Association for Clinical Research Professionals.

Important Facts About Clinical Research Coordinators

Median Salary (July 2019) $48,863
Required Education High school diploma
Work Environment Large hospitals, independent laboratories
Similar Occupations Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians


Education and Training

Training in clinical research is offered at many colleges via certificate, associate's, and bachelor degree programs. These programs prepare you for entry-level positions in the field and for certification. Other jobs may require a master's degree. Associate's degree programs in clinical research include general education courses along with specialized clinical research classes and they may also include an internship.

If you are a registered nurse, or if you have some medical experience or related education, a certificate program may suffice. If you have never taken any medical courses, both an associate's degree program and a certificate program will cover basic courses in medical and research terminology and intro-level coursework in clinical research. Some typical courses in a CRC educational program include:

  • Clinical research management
  • Drug safety
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Clinical statistics
  • Pharmacology for clinical trials
  • Research ethics


The Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA) offers the Clinical Research Professional certification (CRP). To become certified, you must be a member of the association and provide evidence of full-time employment in the field. The amount of experience you are required to have is dependent upon the level of education you have completed. The CRP is available for clinical research coordinators, principal investigators, researchers, and others working in clinical research.

The Association for Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP) offers a clinical research coordinator certification. To qualify for the ACRP certification, you must provide evidence of an associate or bachelor's degree or be a registered nurse (RN) and have a minimum of 3.500 hours of work experience. A high school diploma or experience as an LVN, LPN, medical assistant, or lab technician together with 4,500 hours of related work experience will also suffice. The ACRP also offers other certifications, such as Clinical Research Associate (CRA) and Clinical Physician Investigator (CPI). Each certification requires that you meet eligibility qualifications and pass an examination.

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