Clinical data management (CDM) is a very in-demand career. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers are expected to see 32 percent occupational growth by 2029, which is much faster than the average occupation.
If you want to get in on this and learn about clinical data management, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we have rounded up all of the best resources out there to help you become an expert in clinical data management.
What Is Clinical Data Management?
Clinical data management is both a career and a critical step in the clinical research process. Clinical data managers use the statistics generated from clinical research trials to come up with the crucial, reliable data needed to determine if the trials were effective or not.
In clinical data management, managers oversee the trial process to ensure data is collected securely, accurately, and reported clearly. This is crucial to the clinical research process, as it prevents results from being muddied or lost.
What Is Clinical Data Management Used For?
Generating data, overseeing studies, protecting the public, and even helping to ensure product quality are some of the most common uses for clinical data management.
- Generating Data from Clinical Trials. Many research organizations use clinical data management systems to help generate data from their clinical data trials. By using data analysis tools to determine data quality and data validation, clinical data managers are crucial in generating clinical trial data.
- Determining How Studies are Conducted and Managed. One of the many clinical data management activities is helping determine how studies are conducted and managed. Since clinical data managers study data and perform data entry, they also play a part in determining how data will be collected in the first place.
- Protecting Public Health. Clinical research trials play an important role in prescription drug development, which means clinical data management is important in protecting public health. By monitoring data and studies, clinical data managers are able to prevent poor quality products from being sold.
- Ensuring Quality Products. Since clinical research tests different types of treatments, it only makes sense to use clinical data management as a way to manage the quality of products. By using statistics and data from these studies, clinical data managers can help researchers determine if their product is of good or bad quality.
Clinical Data Management Skills
There are many clinical skills you need to work in clinical data management, as well as data management skills. However, these are the three top skills you will need to know in order to become a clinical data manager.
Data and Database Management
If you are just beginning to learn about this field, you are probably wondering what data analysis is. Taking some time to learn all about data and database management is a fantastic first step in learning all about this crucial aspect of clinical data management.
Since CDM is used for monitoring trials, gathering data, and presenting data, it is important to learn all about data and database management. These skills can be easily learned through a few courses or video tutorials.
CDM uses statistics from clinical research trials to gather data from the trials and determine product or treatment effectiveness and quality. Being able to understand statistics is quite important to this process, as the statistics are the data.
One of the easiest ways to learn statistics is to enroll in an online community college course. Almost any college you look at will offer a statistics course, but if you would prefer, there are also plenty of online courses available.
While you won’t exactly be conducting the clinical studies, clinical research managers do help in the process of determining how studies are run. This means you will need to have a least a bit of a handle on basic research skills.
There are many different ways you can learn research skills. You could try to learn through experience and conduct your own research, or you can enroll in a class or training session. Either way, these are skills that take little time to learn and pose great benefits to you.
Learning Clinical Data Management
Anyone who wants to learn CDM certainly can. While it may be a challenging field to go into, the payoff is well worth the effort spent studying. There are many different ways to learn, and while many opt for a college degree, there are different ways to learn for every learning type.
Whether you choose to pursue a college degree or not, these resources are sure to be helpful. From online courses to books to websites full of helpful tips and tricks, there are plenty of resources available to help you learn CDM.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Clinical Data Management?
In most cases, you will have to earn a bachelor’s degree to work as a clinical data manager. This takes most people around four years to complete, though many students choose to pursue a graduate degree and take six or more years to learn all they can about CDM.
For those who are choosing to learn CDM without earning a college degree, it can be learned in whatever time frame you set for yourself. This doesn’t mean you will become an expert in a week, but you can easily learn just as quickly as you could in a college degree program.
However, unless you know the job you are pursuing does not require a college degree, it would be smart to earn one to improve your employability.
How to Learn Clinical Data Management: Step-by-Step
Regardless of the path you end up taking to learn CDM, these five steps can be used as a guide to help you along the way. Whether you follow these steps exactly or modify them to better fit your goals, you will surely find some use in them.
- Take Related Classes in High School. Taking any classes you can in high school that are related to CDM is a huge first step. Not everyone is lucky enough to figure out what they want to do with their lives in high school, but if you are, we recommend taking medical, research, and statistics courses before graduating.
- Enroll in Classes or Degree Programs. Whether you choose to pursue a degree or not, you will need to enroll in some CDM classes. There are many options for classes, as we get into later, and there are also many degree programs you can enroll in.
- Read Books. Reading CDM books is especially useful for those who are trying to avoid going to college. These books often provide a college class experience without the crazy tuition cost and all the deadlines.
- Study on Your Own. Take some time to truly study everything you have learned before going any further in this career. Make flashcards on Quizlet, reread books, retake courses if possible- simply take some time to ensure you actually have become an expert in the field.
- Apply for Internships. Once you are completely confident in your skills as a clinical data manager, you can start applying for internships and jobs. We recommend finding an internship first, as it is a great way to gain hands-on experience before being thrust into the workforce, but if you are confident enough without it, start applying for your dream jobs.
The Best Clinical Data Management Courses and Training
There are hundreds of clinical data management courses available in in-person and online formats. Some of them are even totally free. While we don’t have every single course in the world listed here, we have rounded up all of our favorites for you to browse through.
Best In-Person Clinical Data Management Classes
For those who learn best when sticking to a strict schedule and instructed in more of a one-on-one environment, in-person classes may be best. These are a couple of our favorite in-person CDM courses.
- Provider: UCSC Silicon Valley Extension- Santa Clara, CA
- Time: ~1 month
- Prerequisites: None
The University of California Silicon Valley Extension offers a clinical data management course that takes around 1 month to complete. This course is offered as part of a certificate program, but can be taken on its own. While enrolled in this course, you will learn about all the basics of CDM, including electronic data capture (EDC) and FDA/ICH guidelines.
- Provider: Sulekha- various locations
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: Dependent upon location
Sulekha offers this Clinical Data Management Classroom Training at a variety of locations, making it easily accessible all over the United States and Canada. This course is offered both in-person and online with a live instructor and ends with an opportunity to earn a certificate of completion.
Best Online Clinical Data Management Courses
For those who want to learn at their own pace and on their own time, online courses can be an awesome resource. These are two of our favorite online CDM courses.
- Provider: Barnett International
- Time: March 10, 2021 – May 12, 2021 (10 weeks)
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $1,795
Barnett International offers a totally online Clinical Data Management On-Boarding Program for anyone interested in learning CDM. While this course is often paid for by companies to help their employees learn the basics, it can be taken by anyone. The course lasts 10 weeks and costs $1,795, though the price does increase to $1,995 if you do not enroll far enough in advance.
- Provider: Udemy
- Time: 2 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: $99.99
Udemy is a favorite amongst anyone who learns from home. Though Udemy offers dozens of CDM courses, this Clinical Data Management Online Course is our favorite, as it covers enough material to take you from a beginner to intermediate level in just two hours of on-demand video.
Best Free Clinical Data Management Courses
Who doesn’t love a good free course? We certainly do, and these two are our favorite free clinical data management courses available.
- Provider: Coursera
- Time: 17 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: Free
Coursera is arguably the best resource for finding free online courses, so it is no surprise to find this gem is on the website. This Data Management for Clinical Research course is offered by Vanderbilt University and takes approximately 17 hours to complete. Covering all of the basics of data management for clinical research, this is a course you won’t want to miss out on.
- Provider: Coursera
- Time: 12 hours
- Prerequisites: None
- Price: Free
While this Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials course isn’t technically a clinical data management course, it is extremely useful for anyone hoping to become a clinical data manager.
This course takes roughly 12 hours to complete and teaches you all about how to design and interpret clinical trials, which is important to know as a clinical data manager since you will have a say in how trials are run.
Best Clinical Data Management Books
So many of our learning resources anymore are offered totally online, which is fantastic, until your eyes start to hurt from staring at a computer screen all day. That’s why we have included these awesome clinical data management books in our guide for you to pick up when you can’t bear to look at the computer any longer.
Susanne Prokscha’s Practical Guide to Clinical Data Management is one of the most popular books on the subject. This book is over 14 years old and is regularly updated to match current information, making it truly an oldie but a goodie.
This book is often a required book for college courses about clinical data management, as Dr. S Fernandez is an expert in CDM and wrote this as a guide for anyone looking to advance their career in the field. With all of the information needed to learn about clinical information flow, data archiving, and so much more, The Fundamentals of Clinical Data Management is one book you will definitely want to read.
JoAnn Pfeiffer and Cris Wells out together an awesome informative guide, A Practical Guide to Managing Clinical Trials for those who learn best via step-by-step guides. Taking the reader through the individual steps needed to practice CDM, this book is the equivalent of taking a class.
Clinical Data Management Certifications
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Professional Certificate in Clinical Data Management
DNASYS offers this highly-credible Professional Certificate in Clinical Data Management for anyone looking to prove their skills to future employers. Through DNASYS, you can enroll in the training course needed to earn your certification, and pay for the certification exam at the same time.
This training course offers lifetime access to the learning materials, meaning you can always refer back to them if needed. After approximately 40 to 50 hours of studying, you will be ready to take the certification exam and earn your professional CDM certification.
For a more broad skill set, you should consider earning this Certificate in Clinical Research Management offered by Sollers College. Split into three sections, this is a surefire way to show potential employers that you are not only skilled in clinical data management, but also in clinical research management as a whole.
This certificate training covers clinical research, clinical data management, and oracle clinical trial education. By the end of the short training program, you will be able to earn a certificate stating you are qualified to work as a clinical research manager or a clinical data manager.
Best Online Clinical Data Management Resources
Can’t get enough CDM learning material? Neither can we- these are our favorite online resources. Great for both beginners and experts, you can never go wrong with a little extra learning.
You have likely heard of the Mayo Clinic before, especially if you are guilty of looking up your symptoms on the internet when you feel ill. Between WebMD and Mayo Clinic, we have all likely thought we were dying once or twice, but did you know Mayo Clinic offers a lot of useful information about CDM? On their website, you can find a plethora of articles, community engagement activities, and even education opportunities surrounding the world of clinical research.
Global Health Training Centre
The Global Health Training Centre is a great place to find clinical data management courses and related blog posts. Whether you want to take a quick course to help you learn or simply brush up on your knowledge, this is the place to go. With each available course lasting around 30 to 40 minutes and ending with a certificate of completion, you can’t go wrong with this resource.
Should You Study Clinical Data Management?
For anyone hoping to become a clinical data manager or work in any related field, we definitely think you should study clinical data management.
CDM is a field that is in extremely high-demand, making employment easy, and it is easier to learn than ever before. Whether you choose to go to college or study on your own, this is one subject that is definitely worth learning.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Read more