Earning a Master's in Clinical Research Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Clinical Research Online?

The medical industry needs clinical research professionals to increasingly lead product testing and development in hospitals, laboratories, clinics, universities, and medical research institutions. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects occupations in this industry to increase by 13% from 2016-2026, making now a great time to pursue or advance your career in this field.

A master's in clinical research online allows students the flexibility to complete not only the degree, but also any required clinical or practicum hours. Students earning this degree are passionate about overseeing and running medical research projects in either the defense, biomedical, medical, pharmaceutical, or diagnostic industry.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Clinical Research Graduates

Master's in Clinical Research Salary

The following tables outline industries that employ graduates with an online master's in clinical research. The first table details annual median salaries; the second table considers average salaries at various career stages. Keep in mind that location and experience level may significantly affect these figures.

Salaries for Medical Scientists by Industry

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing $118,380
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences $94,390
Offices of physicians $82,360
Hospitals; state, local, and private $79,810
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $58,360

Master's in Clinical Research Careers

Earning your clinical research master's degree online prepares you for a future in defense, pharmaceutical research, biomedics, or diagnostics. Professionals with this degree can find work in industries that require cutting-edge medical studies and solutions. The positions below represent those commonly held by graduates with a clinical research master's degree.

Clinical Research Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $48,298

These coordinators run clinical trials and practice rules of good clinical practices, which are internationally regulated and upheld in clinical trials. CRCs work in laboratories and answer to principal investigative professionals. They also complete feasibility questionnaires from potential sponsors to determine if given clinical trials are possible.

Clinical Research Associate

Annual Median Salary: $63,333

Hired by clinical research sponsors or employed as independent contractors, CRAs supervise clinical trials. They collaborate with other administrators to manage progress and ensure that all quality standards, such as safety and ethics, are upheld throughout a trial.

Clinical Project Manager

Annual Median Salary: $89,473

Clinical project managers oversee all parts of a clinical trial. These managers aim to create and run a successful trial to determine the effectiveness and safety of medical devices, medications, and diagnostic techniques.

Clinical Research Manager

Annual Median Salary: $77,476

These managers plan and oversee trials as well as analyze results and determine whether or not a product or treatment accomplishes what it was created to do. CRMs also manage the entire team responsible for conducting given clinical trials.

Clinical Operations Manager

Annual Median Salary: $80,460

These professionals oversee a team of employees and determine work tasks that need to be completed on schedule. COMs work in clinical trials with other project managers, accounting representatives, engineers, and administrative staff.

Source: PayScale

What Can I Expect from an Online Master's in Clinical Research Program?

Accredited online master's in clinical research degrees vary in coursework by school. Additionally, many schools require different internship or practicum requirements, whether online or on campus. That said, common courses exist throughout the country, such as the ones summarized below.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Clinical Research


Any career in clinical research requires professionals to interpret statistical information, particularly as it pertains to biology. This class focuses on the application of biostatistics, including statistical inference, confidence intervals, and probability. Often, students are expected to learn computer software to analyze gathered data.

Introduction to Clinical Research

This foundational course offers a historical framework surrounding clinical research and provides an overview of breakthroughs that established modern medicine. Students become familiar with the objectives, classifications, and procedures in clinical testing while strengthening their written and verbal communication.


This class considers general health conditions and diseases. Students examine prior studies and learn how to improve future trials and experiments. Classwork includes lessons on outbreaks, investigations, and conducting randomized trials.

Practical Approaches to Clinical Health Research

Coursework focuses on the practical and ethical aspects of conducting clinical research all over the world. Students explore the processes of running human clinical trials and learn how to streamline these processes without impacting results.

Health Policy Modeling

This course explores the mathematical, economical, and statistical system models that relate to health policy. Lectures include the study of disease screening, treatment and prevention of disease, drug control, policies, bioterrorism, and analysis of new technologies.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Clinical Research Prepares for

  • Certified Clinical Research Associate: A CCRA license is awarded to clinical research associates who have met the minimum standards of eligibility, have proven skills and specific knowledge in their field, and have passed the Association of Clinical Research Professionals examination.
  • Certified Clinical Research Professional: This certification is awarded by the Society of Research Associates to clinical research professionals who have completed their master's in clinical and transitional research and have passed the CCRP examination. Professionals with their CCRP are prepared for more advanced leadership and managerial roles.

Professional Organizations and Resources


Particularly for professionals early in their career, professional organizations can be valuable for making connections, continuing education, and transitioning into the workforce. Professional organizations consist of like-minded people looking to advance their career and industry. They may be found at the local, national, and international level, and they often provide members with access to academic journals, seminars, and classes.

  • Association of Clinical Research Professionals: With chapters in more than 70 countries, the ACRP strives to improve the quality of research by impacting policies and professionals conducting experiments.

  • Society of Clinical Research Associates: The SOCRA intends to promote the practice of clinical research while protecting clinical research candidates. It is highly devoted to ethics in the practice of clinical research. Members have access to continuing education coursework and seminars.

  • Society for Clinical Trials: This educational, charitable, and scientific organization promotes advances in medication and healthcare through clinical trials. Members consist of clinical researchers, managers, and medical professionals all looking for ethical and efficient research and clinical trials. This group offers education seminars and access to cutting-edge research materials.

  • Association of Clinical Research Organizations: This association represents companies and foundations at the front lines of clinical research around the world. The ACRO has foundational principles in connection, engagement, advocacy, and collaboration. Members may access networking events and continued education seminars and journals.

  • IQVIA: This company invests in the future of human health and welfare. It devotes itself to teaching professionals and college students to utilize the latest technologies and analytics as they relate to healthcare and medicine.

  • Syneos Health: Syneos Health is one of the only clinical research company's that follows the "biopharmaceutical acceleration model." This model is devoted to collaboration between healthcare professionals, clinical researchers, and the experience of the customer. This organization is particularly beneficial to professionals and students most interested in a client-facing role post-graduation.

  • Covance: Invested in the drug development business, Covance combines unique perspectives based on years of clinical trials, scientific analysis, and data. This organization believes in the use of innovative technology to create new solutions to common medical issues.

  • Icon - Medical Development: Devoted to supporting researchers and clients through the process of drug development and clinical trials, ICON coordinates the goals and work of medical professionals, clients, and scientists.

  • Chiltern: This company focuses not only on clinical research and analysis, but also on the marketing of new drugs and technologies. Chiltern helps researchers and medical professionals improve their speed-to-market strategies and manage workloads for active researchers.

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