Mapping the Pathway to Take Control of Your Clinical Research Career

The Association of Clinical Research Professionals

Did you fall into the clinical research profession? This is a question we have often asked attendees at national clinical research conferences like those held annually by ACRP. Responses have mostly been a resounding “Yes”! Unfortunately, many people find out about clinical research and clinical research careers by accident or in a very roundabout manner, not even realizing that this field was an option prior to suddenly being part of it and maybe or maybe not seeing a clear path forward to making it a career.

Unfortunately for some, an understanding of the multitude of pathways one can take throughout their clinical research career may be lacking at first.{1} Moreover, students, mentees, and connections from LinkedIn may be aware of the field but find themselves stymied trying to enter it. They often ask us “How can I get my foot in the door?”

Although pathways into the profession may appear unclear due to a lack of consistency across the pertinent roles and institutions, clinical research careers are predicted to grow at a rate of 9% per year and national efforts have paved the way for transformational improvements.{1–3}

We aim to raise awareness by illustrating varied career pathways in clinical research; to “get the word out” for those who are exploring first-level careers (e.g., your first role pursuing a serious career), for anyone looking at second-level careers (e.g., have had a prior career, but desire a new type of career), and for seasoned clinical research professionals who are exploring new opportunities. Read more…