Fancy a career in clinical operations?

Are you looking to embark on a new career or maybe you are exploring the idea of a career change? If you have a background in life sciences or even chemicals and are looking for a rewarding career then the clinical operations sector could be perfect for you.

Working within the clinical operations sector of the pharmaceutical and life science industry can lead to a very exciting career.  Clinical operations is a highly important part of the drug development process and encompasses the whole clinical trial process from phases I-IV.  Enticingly most people working in clinical operations are usually paid excellent remunerations due to the importance of their role and the responsibility it carries.

Clinical trials require operational management and thus require key individuals to coordinate the project or particular phase of the drug development process.  These positions range from:

  • Administrative roles or Clinical Trial Administrators who support the day to day activities for the trial
  • Field-based monitors or Clinical Research Associates who travel to different Clinical Research Units to ensure the trial is running correctly.
  • Clinical Study/Project Managers who manage the teams or running of the trial (usually on a region or global level)
  • Directorship roles where the person will have the sole responsibility for a trial.

Operational roles tend to focus on the smooth running of the clinical trial in accordance with trial protocol, GCP and ICH guidelines and the people tasked with these roles are measured based on whether the trial is on schedule and patient recruitment numbers are at required levels.  Operational jobs require individuals to be able to converse and liaise with key opinion leaders in the drug development process and thus require incumbents to have strong communication and influencing skills.

The clinical operations part of the drug development process requires expertise, accuracy and speed, as it is essential for a drug to get to market as soon as possible in order for the pharmaceutical company to receive a return on their initial investment.

A mentioned above those that work in clinical operations are usually paid very good rate or salary due to the importance of their role and the responsibility it carries.  The jobs they work in, tend to be contractual due to the nature of the work, but there are permanent positions available also as companies will transfer their workforce from one project to another.

Interestingly research we undertook shows that 35% of new entrants to the pharmaceutical and life science industry enter into the clinical operations sector and then some move on to other areas of the industry. Also 30% of workers in the drug discovery industry work in clinical operations sector. Interestingly the same research showed 48% of workers in this industry earn between 60-120K with 21% earning over 90-120K plus a year however most of the workers at this salary rate work on a contract basis. Find out more about this research here.

If you are interested in a career in this sector or would like to find out more, take a look at the following articles below:

  1. How do I get into clinical operations?
  2. A day in the life of a CRA
  3. Where can this career take me?
  4. The demand for CRA’s continues to grow

If you would like more information about working in this area please contact our clinical operations team here.