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Clinical Research Coordinator Resources

Whether you are interested in becoming a clinical research staff member, have been recently hired as staff or are already a member of the clinical staff community looking for resources and services to advance your career, this page for clinical research coordinators (CRCs) is designed to help.

Visit our Research Resources directory and sort by Clinical Research Staff for a list of related resources.

CRC Career Advice

A number of experienced coordinators and hiring managers provided input on the tips below for getting a job as a CRC. We hope the following tips are helpful to you and wish you well in your search for a position in this exciting and dynamic role. You can explore job opportunities at Northwestern on the university's careers page.

 Ensure that clinical research coordination is right for you

As you move through the steps below, you should be thinking about whether this job is right for you. Do you have the necessary skill set? Are you detail-oriented? Do you work well with people? Do you enjoy a fast-paced environment? Are you able to manage a lot of projects and responsibilities meeting all deadlines?

Review the Certified Clinical Research Coordinator Detailed Content Outline from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals to ensure you understand what is included in the CRC job description and what you would need to know. 

Consider carefully that most CRCs work on many projects at one time and think about if you can accomplish these tasks with many projects under your purview.

 

 Assess your level of experience

Individuals with previous experience in the workforce in another field may have different options available than students who are new graduates or in school and looking for part-time work to enhance their skillset.

 

 Start small

Target doctor’s offices, stand-alone clinics and community hospitals for first-time positions in clinical research. In general, large academic medical centers require clinical research coordinators with experience already in the field.

Consider research positions and experience in executing research protocols in the social sciences that would give you valuable experience in developing and executing protocols and recruiting research subjects and provide you with experience to move into clinical research coordination in other areas.

Search for research assistant positions at all potential employers. While these positions do not pay as well as the CRC role, if you have flexibility in your salary requirements they would allow you to get the experience needed to move into the clinical research coordinator role and network at the potential employer.

Northwestern University has a Temporary Staffing Center, and you may submit your resume to them for temporary positions in clinical research. Many people have good luck finding positions this way; most large universities and academic research centers will have a similar temporary staffing program.

 Participate in opportunities to advance your training and education

Volunteer at a doctor’s office, hospital or research center to get clinical experience.

Contact graduate programs to determine if they have a student you could work with on their research. Experience in social science research protocols and data collection is valuable to the CRC role.

You may also want to participate in the NUCATS Institute CRC Basic Training Course or consider a Master of Science in Regulatory Compliance.

 

 Network

Join LinkedIn. Add your profile to begin networking with other research professionals via social media.

Join the ACRP Chicagoland Chapter to attend valuable training and networking events in the field. You will begin to learn about employers and CRC positions and get mentorship and support on your career path.  

Attend the NUCATS Institute EQuaTR Conference to network with other professionals in the field and learn more about clinical research. This conference is held annually in May.

CRC New Hires

Each member of the Northwestern Medicine community is dedicated to furthering our mission of research excellence and improving human health. In your role as a clinical research staff member, you are a frontline ambassador for clinical research to the public, and research simply would not be possible without your essential contributions to study implementation, participant experience and research integrity.

 Prior to the first day (when requested and possible)

Discuss with your hiring manager or supervisor if your role will require access to Northwestern Medicine locations or systems (NM locations). If so, you will be required to go through the NMHC Access Program. View Northwestern University campus maps.

Each department, division or center has a liaison assigned to assist with the Access Program process. To learn who your NMHC Access Program Liaison is, please email Toddie Hays.

Individuals requiring access to NM locations or systems must clear NM Corporate Health. Questions regarding NM Corporate Health requirements and applicable testing forms can be directed to your unit’s NMHC Access Program Liaison.

Collect relevant past immunization records, if available, to bring them to NM Corporate Health appointments, if deemed appropriate by your unit.

 Checklist

Review the Northwestern University Office for Research training checklist.

 NMHC Access Program

Meet with your unit’s NMHC Access Program liaison and complete all required paperwork for NM Corporate Health requirements. Your NMHC Access Program liaison can obtain many of the forms and resources needed on the NMHC Access SharePoint Resource Page. Below is a sample of recommended access resources to review with your unit’s liaison as determined for your specific research role. Questions regarding the NMHC Access Program can be emailed to accesspr@nm.org.
  • Update your resume with current position listed
  • Documentation of immunizations may be needed
  • Identify NM applications you will utilize for assigned studies (if applicable) — determination can occur after NM credentials are issued
  • Identify NM shared drive locations you will need access to (if applicable)
  • Determine if Level 1, 2 or 3 NMHC Access is required for your determined role

NMHC Level 1 Access Options

  • NM ID Number used to access NMHC intranet, Northwestern Medicine Interactive (NMI)
  • NM.org email address
  • NMHC shared drive folders or documents 
  • NMHC ID badge 
  • Remote systems access 
    • NOTE: University and NM network access provides access to NMHC systems. Remote systems access only needs to be requested if user intends to access NMHC systems while not on a university or NM network.

NMHC Level 2 Access Options

  • NM ID Number: used to access NMHC intranet, Northwestern Medicine Interactive (NMI)
  • NM.org email address
  • NMHC shared drive folders or documents (optional)
  • NMHC ID badge (optional)
  • Remote systems access
  • Clinical systems access - includes EPIC

NMHC Level 3 Access Options

  • NM ID number: used to access NMHC intranet, Northwestern Medicine Interactive (NMI)
  • NM.org email address
  • NMHC shared drive folders or documents 
  • NMHC ID badge
  • Clinical privileges
  • Remote systems access
  • Clinical systems accenss - includes EPIC
  • Clinical privileges (for Staff expected to perform clinical tasks - Level 3 Access)
    • Attend NM Clinical Skill Training for your specific research role. Validated skill training is available for ECG, vital signs, venipuncture/specimen handling and anthropometrics (body measurement). Class registration is available through your NMHC Access Program Liaison.
    • Attend CPR Training for your specific research role. Validated Basic Life Support training is available through the American Red Cross via NUCATS. Class registration is available through your NMHC Access Program Liaison.

 CITI Training

Complete required CITI training modules (can be done as soon as NetID is issued). Log in through "Organization” and select "Northwestern University."

Modules include:

  • Biomedical Research
  • Good Clinical Practices (GCP)
  • HIPAA, Security and Privacy
  • Health Privacy Issues for Researchers (if applicable)

 Resources to Review

IRB

Review the Northwestern University IRB Study Support Resources and TemplatesThis page provides further information on study specific Enrollment, Delegation of Authority, Consent Process, Participant Eligibility and Documentation, Drug or Device, Regulatory Binder/Record, Protocol Adherence and Recruitment. Register with the Northwestern University Institutional Review Board (IRB) — need VPN connection to connect off campus.

Study Tracker

Study Tracker Access is provided after approval in the eIRB+ for the specific study you will be working on (please visit the Study Tracker page) 

CReWE

Visit the Clinical Research Workforce Excellence (CReWE) program's page. Complete the online CReWE staff module focused on the Northwestern University research environment. Register for one (or more) of the monthly professional development workshops (required to attend one per fiscal year). Then, view previously recorded presentations on the CReWE program page

Listserv

Join the Clinical Research Staff listserv by emailing listserv@listserv.it.northwestern.edu with the subject, "Request to join Clinical Research Staff listserv."

 Personnel Meetings

Meet with your manager, PI and/or clinical research staff colleague within your unit to:
  • Confirm which studies you will support and verify that you have been added to IRB-approved Authorized Personnel List
  • Arrange individual training with study sponsors, when required
  • Confirm tasks that you are delegated to on each assigned study

 Additional, Optional Steps

The following steps depend on relevancy to your role.

Contact Us

We are here to help.

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