Clinical trials are a key phase in the development of drugs and other health products and the ensuing race to market by pharmaceutical companies. Clinical research technicians have an important role to play with respect to the investigator, who manages and controls the conduct of the study.
Clinical research technician job description
Clinical research technicians assist investigators throughout the process, from the set-up to the completion of clinical trials, using in vivo research techniques. They help recruit patients and ensure coordination between them and the various clinical departments. Whether they work for a university hospital centre or a private company, clinical research technicians are always responsible for the quality, reliability and authenticity of the data collected.
Main duties of the clinical research technician
- Attend protocol implementation meetings
- Identify and select patients eligible to participate in the clinical trials
- Organize patient visits as per the schedule in the protocol
- Take in vivo measurements
- Prepare biological samples for analysis
- Ensure the proper storage of samples (labels, ordering) in accordance with good clinical practices
- As required, send samples to testing labs
- Enter patient data in trial documents and format the results
- Follow up with patients (adverse effects, organization of next visits)
- Act as a liaison between all the research players (e.g. clinicians, pharmacy, biologists, testing labs)
- Maintain equipment and keep the schedule for use up to date
- Stay current with new techniques
Clinical research technicians are required to have a college diploma (DEC in Quebec) in biology, medical technology or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in science is a definite asset.
- Solid background in biology
- Proficiency in in vivo research techniques
- Familiarity with technical and result presentation software
- Proficiency with Office software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook
- Basic legal knowledge of the clinical research field
- Practicality and ability to see the big picture
- Sense of responsibility
- Thoroughness, organization and independence
- Good teamwork skills
- Ability to dialogue, diplomacy
Clinical research technician salaries depend on their education, experience, province in which they work and finally on the type of employer (private or public).
Career path of the clinical research technician
After several years of experience, clinical research technicians can work in other disciplines such as quality management or pharmacoeconomic studies, or change fields entirely and go into management or training.