Students can learn about jobs in clinical research

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Clinical research management training now available at Northwest Vista.

By Will Underhill

In a new program at Northwest Vista College, students learn how to manage research studies involving human subjects in the development of drugs, medical devices and human vaccines.

This program can prepare students for a career in a growing field of employment in San Antonio.

“San Antonio is one area of the country where a lot of clinical trials are going on,” Colleen Smith Arrey, the college’s director of alternative programs, said. “Over one-third of all trials have a base in San Antonio.”

This figure comes from Kelly Scientific Resources, a staffing firm for the clinical research industry. Currently the National Institute of Health lists 515 active clinical trials in San Antonio

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had approved this program in January; however, introductory courses for the degree were first offered last fall.

There is an annual demand for more than 100 new clinical research coordinators and site data managers in San Antonio, Arrey said.

In a news release, Renata Serafin, director of community and public relations at Northwest Vista, said that this program will address the strong annual demand for coordinators and managers in this growing industry.

Graduates of this program can work in private settings, hospitals, universities, medical practices, independent research facilities, clinics, biotechnology or medical device companies.

Major local employers include Genzyme, KCI, Mission Pharmacals, DPT Laboratories as well as clinical research organizations, university and military research.

The Texas Workforce Commission reports that clinical research coordinators with an associate degree earn $25,000-$50,000 annually based on education and experience.

For more information on what the program entails the course description for introductory clinical research reads “This introductory course provides students with an overview of the clinical research industry and how clinical trials are coordinated. 

“Topics include the nature of the work in private and educational clinical research settings, medical records management, working with human subjects, working with clinical investigators, and the legal and regulatory environment.”

The program is the first of its kind to be offered in Texas, states a Northwest Vista College press release. It was modeled after the clinical trial research program at Durham Technical Community College in North Carolina.


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