Look beyond the MBA – Build your career in Clinical Research (Part 2) | MMS University

Look beyond the MBA – Build your career in Clinical Research (Part 2)


This article is the second half of a 2 part series, where we take a look at how students in India would benefit by looking beyond the conventionally accepted career options in the country, by exploring the world of clinical research and the available career options on offer within this rapidly growing industry.

Excerpts from Part 1

In Part 1, we began by first analyzing the current education sector in India with the central theme that almost all of educational decisions in India are centered on jobs. This has led to a plethora of institutions offering generic courses such as MBA, BBA, etc. with the result the many of them offer substandard education which results in a scenario that a large number of qualified young people in India have fancy degrees but no job prospects.

We then looked at the field of Clinical Research as one of the fastest growing industries in India and the job opportunities available to talented and certified candidates in this field. In this article, we will take this conversation forward and discuss the subject of careers in Clinical Research industry in greater detail.

Everything to know about a career in Clinical Research

In many ways, the field of Clinical Research is unique from other industries. It is a highly specialized area which often directly impacts the global healthcare industry, and in turn, has a real impact on human lives.

In order to get initiated in the field of Clinical Research, some specialized skills have to be acquired by prospective candidates. There are several institutions and courses on offer in the market which can be taken up by interested students. Such courses are most relevant for individuals with a background in life sciences. In some cases, students having degrees in mathematical or computer science related subjects would also be well suited for advanced courses in functions that are relevant for the Clinical Research industry. In countries like India which have evolved into global IT outsourcing powerhouses, we are seeing that many IT companies have begun providing Clinical Data Programming Services to CROs and Pharmaceutical Companies and therefore, engineers employed by IT Companies also find an opportunity to work in close association with the Clinical Research Industry.

Careers in the field of Clinical Research also have a unique feature, that of being associated with the medical field. For those of us, who have not had the inclination or opportunity to be a part of the medical profession, opting for a career in the field of Clinical Research which is involved in developing life-saving drugs can provide an undisputable satiating experience of being able to serve humanity at large.

In addition, if we consider the monetary aspect, Clinical Research careers come out better. For example, the ‘Salary vs. Educational Expense’ ratio would be significantly advantageous for a career in this field, especially when compared to the exorbitant and unaffordable costs involved in pursuing a medical profession or acquiring an MBA degree. The amount of time required to be put in for acquiring specialized skills in order to enter the field of Clinical Research as a working professional is also very less as compared to other professional courses.

The courses offered by institutions in this field are varied in nature, starting from post graduation course of 2 years to diploma and certification courses ranging from 3 months to 1 year. What is more attractive is that these courses are disseminated both as class room and online courses.

Students can choose from the various options available, that which will be the most suitable to their requirements.

Career Pathway

For prospective candidates who wish to make their careers in the field of Clinical Research, it is important to develop an understanding of the different pathways by which an entry into this field may be possible.

There are two main options – Entry Level and Lateral/Higher level

Entry level positions can generally be understood to be the first level / first opportunity to enter the field of Clinical Research. In India, the job profiles in this level offer a minimum remuneration of Rs. 2.50 Lakhs to Rs.3.50 Lakhs per annum. Some of the job profiles in this level include:

– Clinical Research Associate

– Clinical Research Coordinator,

– Regulatory Affairs Associate

– Drug Safety Associate

– Medical Writer

– Clinical Data Programmer

– Clinical Data Coordinator

– Project Coordinator

– Data Entry Operator

– SAS Programmer

Higher (lateral) level positions may arise out of a shift from a diagnostic center in any other related field, or a transition from entry level positions in one organization to lateral or higher level positions in another organization.

The job profiles in these levels depend upon the positions held and salaries drawn at the time of shift. The estimated range of compensation that can be expected for jobs in this segment can be anywhere between Rs.3.00 Lakhs to Rs. 8.00 Lakhs per annum. Needless to say, individuals with more than a decade of experience in the field and especially those who constantly invest their time, effort and resources in up-gradation of their skills can command comfortably high double digit salaries as they move up higher into the middle to senior management roles.

Some of the job profiles available in these levels include:

– Project Manager- Data Management

– Subject Mater Expert

– Clinical Trial Manager

– Clinical team Leader

– Medical Director

– Principle Investigator

In conclusion, it is important to understand that conventional educational courses and run of the mill jobs in IT, sales and administration are no longer the only options available to students in India. For those who are interested in exploring alternative career options in the rapidly growing and evolving field of Clinical Research, real long term job opportunities exist, provided that sincere effort is put in by the prospective candidates in making themselves capable and being considered for open positions in the industry.


MMS University (www.mmsuniversity.com) is among the top ranked online universities in the world that provides the perfect launch pad for prospective Medical Writers and SAS Clinical Programmers who are interested in learning from industry experts. MMS University offers an exhaustive ‘Assessment based Certification’ course in Medical Writing and SAS Clinical Programming which may provide enhanced credibility to prospective Medical Writers and SAS Clinical Programmers in their search for freelance work or employment opportunities.

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