How Do I Become a Data Manager?

Explore the career requirements for data management. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, professional licensure and the employment outlook to determine if this is the right field for you. Schools offering Database Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Clinical Data Manager Do?

Clinical data managers are trained to manage and collect data from clinical trials. They may perform duties that include compiling statistical outcomes from research studies, maintaining records, and keeping records accessible for future research projects. Clinical data managers can work at universities, pharmaceutical companies or government agencies. The table below outlines the general requirements for this career.

Education Required Associate's degree, professional certificate
Key Responsibilities Maintain accurate and complete databases
Assist researchers in clinical trial startup
Track patients' biographical data
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 15% (for all medical records and health information technicians)/ 34% (for all statisticians)*
Average Salary (2017) $69,356 (for all clinical data managers)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

What Clinical Data Manager Programs are Available?

As of February 2011, U.S. schools did not appear to be conferring degrees in data management. However, programs in health information technology (HIT) or health information management (HIM) can also prepare you for a career as a data manager. HIT programs are available at the associate's degree and post-baccalaureate certificate level. HIM programs are available at the associate's degree level from a few schools, but most schools offer bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in the subject.

Whether leading to an associate's or a bachelor's degree, both types of health information programs cover a lot of the same ground. Their coursework addresses medical and computer technology, record keeping, information systems and disease classification. Some programs may provide you with the opportunity to work in a medical records internship. HIM master's degree programs add more elements of business management to the existing emphasis on information management.

Where Could I Work?

Private physicians' offices, nursing homes, government agencies and hospitals are your potential employers as a data manager. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have figures for data managers, but does have data for the closely related category medical records and health information technicians (www.bls.gov).

Approximately 188,600 medical records technicians held jobs in 2014, about 38% of them in hospitals. The BLS predicted that employment in this category will grow by 15% from 2014-2024 due to increased demand for medical services. However, growth in employment of data managers is more likely to depend on the volume of medical research.

What Will My Job Duties?

Primarily, you will record statistical results from clinical research accurately and completely, maintain the integrity of records and make records accessible to researchers for future analysis. The information you're responsible for may include biographical profiles of patients (age, weight, gender and medical history), type and dosage of medication, a medication's effects and the outcome of medical interventions such as surgery or rehabilitation therapy. You may also have to find and correct errors in the data if it's discordant or unlikely results are found.

What Salary Could I Earn?

As of January 2017, your annual salary as a clinical data manager is likely to fall into the middle range of $44,170-$108,907 according to PayScale.com. Entry-level clinical data managers earned about $58,000 and those with 5-10 years' experience earned a median salary of $78,000.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are multiple careers available related to data management, which also only need an associate's degree. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks maintain and keep financial records for companies. They must possess good mathematical skills to check financial records for accuracy, record transactions, and keep statements updated. They often work in an office setting. However, on occasion, they must travel off site to meet with clients.

Information clerks perform a variety of recording and clerical duties that may include collecting data, keeping records in order or offering information to clients. The job often entails full-time employment in various settings, such as hotels, hospitals or government organizations.

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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