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Data Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $95,900
Job Outlook: Good

A data manager – or clinical data manager – typically works in a research environment and aids the research team in maintaining clinical research data. The manager often works with data from clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry, but may also work with data from biological or device research, as well. Data processing is a huge part of this job, but the clinical data manager will have several other responsibilities as well.

Many clinical data managers are required to work with a computerized record keeping system, checking for errors and ensuring that the system is correct and is backed up in case of emergency. They must categorize and organize information from clinical trials so that scientists can later analyze it to come to their conclusions. The data manager often has data entry and other administrative or clerical tasks, as well. The amount of responsibility in the hands of the clinical data manager depends on the company and the individual trial.

Education and Training Requirements

A data manager should have a bachelor’s degree in statistics, computer science, or information technology, though many also have degrees in physical and applied sciences. Some entry-level data managers who are essentially simply recording data into a system only have a high school degree.

Those with data entry experience or degrees can benefit from extra classes in science and medicine, as this gives them a keener ability to sift through clinical data and to sort it into logical groupings.

Getting the Job

Those without on-the-job training but with degrees in related fields will most likely be able to get positions with less responsibility for the integrity of data. They may help coordinate the entry of data and do some of the actual data entry. More advanced candidates may help set up and initiate trials, but this normally only happens after a few years of on-the-job training and experience.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Because of the growth of pharmaceutical companies and research facilities for these and other types of industries, clinical data manager positions are often open. However, as more and more students graduate with IT or science degrees, competition for these jobs can be keen. Students who have a well-rounded education focusing on both the science and the computer aspects of this job may have the best chance of getting a job as a clinical data manager.

Clinical data managers often advance to more senior positions within their own company, taking on more responsibility for clinical trials and data management. The advancement potential varies from company to company, and larger companies are likely to have more available upper level positions and a more set way of advancing employees. Data managers may go on to leave the research field and may enter into other fields, using their experience to be IT managers or to build data management systems, among other things.

Working Conditions and Environment

Typically, data managers work in an office environment, and they most often work directly for a pharmaceutical company. Some travel to the trial site may be required, however. This is not typically considered a stressful job, but extra hours may be required during the set-up and completion phases of a clinical trial, when the data manager may have more responsibility for double-checking data and ensuring that everything is entered into the program correctly.

Salary and Benefits

On average, a clinical data manager will make about $95,900 per year. Salaries can start around $79,800 and end up at over $115,000, depending on experience and the company one works for. These numbers are for actual management-level positions with a high level of responsibility, and entry level workers can expect to make much less, depending on their titles and job responsibilities.

These full time, salaried positions most often offer healthcare and vacation benefits, as well as sick days. In some instances, pharmaceutical companies and other employers may offer their data managers bonuses dependent on performance.

Where to Go for More Information
For more information about this and other data management professions, check out the following resources:

Data Management International
19239 N. Dale Mabry Hwy., 132
Lutz, FL 33548
(813) 778-5495

Society for Clinical Data Management
555 E. Wells St., Ste. 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 226-0362

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