Today, the field of clinical research is bridging the gap between the developmental aspects of healthcare and the public health impact of medical innovation. Working in this field can be incredibly rewarding, allowing you to make a difference in the lives of others with little to no patient contact.

Those interested in clinical research careers have numerous options available to them throughout the United States, but the Greater Boston area offers a wealth of opportunities as a major hub for both healthcare and the life sciences.

If you’re curious about the professional landscape in Boston, Massachusetts, here’s an overview of the clinical research landscape in the region, the top 10 high-paying careers you can expect, and the best places to work in clinical research in the Greater Boston area.

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Why Work in the Greater Boston Area?

While understanding the various career paths available to you in clinical research is essential to your long-term success in the field, it is equally important to determine the best location for you to work in.

For example, the Greater Boston area holds one of the largest concentrations of biotech startups and biopharma companies in the world. As a result, it attracts a great deal of incubator organizations and venture capital firms interested in supporting research and development projects across a variety of life science and healthcare businesses.

At the center of all this activity, there are also thriving research organizations, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions with renowned life science programs. As you would expect, this creates a direct pipeline of young talent for the biotech and biopharma companies in the area.

While there are plenty of job opportunities in Boston, the level of talent in the region has also led to more desirable salaries post-graduation. According to our analysis of job postings data, clinical research professionals in the Greater Boston area make an average salary of $90,000—increasing at an annual rate of 34.4 percent. This can attract even more aspiring clinical research professionals to the New England area.

Clinical Research Professionals Median Annual Salary
10 Clinical Research Jobs in the Greater Boston Area

Whether you're just starting out or trying to advance your career, Boston is a prime destination for anyone seeking a dynamic career in clinical research. According to our analysis of job postings data, here are the top clinical research jobs Boston has to offer:

  1. Laboratory managers: Oversee the day-to-day operations of clinical labs, including safety compliance, supply management, security protocols, and staffing
  2. Research laboratory managers: Lead research teams, coordinate projects, and ensure lab operations run smoothly
  3. Laboratory supervisors: Responsible for managing teams of lab technicians, directing daily activities, and implementing proper lab safety protocols
  4. Web operations managers: Oversee an organization’s online presence, including website management, data collection systems, and patient outreach
  5. Quality control laboratory supervisors: Ensure all aspects of lab operations, such as staff, processes, and equipment, are set up to maintain accuracy and compliance
  6. Laboratory operations managers: Handle the administrative and logistical aspects of research laboratories, from budgeting to safety compliance to resource allocation
  7. Clinical laboratory managers: Specialize in overseeing medical laboratories in healthcare institutions, ensuring timely and accurate test results
  8. Clinical laboratory supervisors: Oversee the work of lab technicians and technologists to ensure high standards of patient care
  9. Managers: Work at different levels of clinical research organizations, which often involves project management, team leadership, and strategic planning
  10. Field service supervisors: Manage clinical operations that involve researching, gathering resources, and communicating with patients in off-site locations

Top clinical research jobs in Boston area

While the top jobs in this field are for experienced clinical researchers, skilled professionals are in high demand at all levels. Therefore, landing an entry-level job is a crucial step toward a rewarding clinical research career.

For those just starting out in clinical research, here are the top entry-level positions you should consider applying to:

  • Clinical trial assistant: Aid in conducting trials, helping to perform interviews, collecting data and records, and performing routine lab duties
  • Clinical research coordinator: Supervise research trials and conduct screenings to find patients who are the right fit
  • Data coordinator: Manage the data collection processes for clinical research projects, ensuring accuracy and safe handling of patient information
  • Clinical research associate: Monitor the success of research trials, ensuring the right protocols are being implemented

If you’re serious about exploring clinical research careers, these entry-level positions can be incredibly beneficial in your pursuit of a higher level research role. To ensure you get the most out of these roles, remember to network with other professionals to better understand the types of industries and roles available to you.

With this knowledge and foundational industry experience you could even transition into the following roles after a few years, including:

  • Senior clinical research specialist: Part of the leadership team on research trials that monitor the clinical team, research participants, and quality assurance protocols
  • Senior data coordinator: Manage a team of data coordinators and work with other team leaders to develop data management policies that support the research studies
  • Research program leader: Responsible for developing and managing the goals and procedures of research studies, coordinating with team leads to carry out these goals
  • Clinical research lab/pharmacy director: Oversee the operation of clinical research laboratories or pharmacies within healthcare institutions

Where Can You Work in Clinical Research in the Greater Boston Area?

One of the greatest advantages of working in a clinical research industry hub like Boston is the variety of employers and projects available to you. If you want to build a diverse work history that demonstrates expertise and leadership skills, working in the Greater Boston area provides ample opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of teams and eventually progress to high-level roles.

Top Industries

Choosing the right industry is very important to your long-term success as a clinical research professional. While there is plenty of skills overlap between industries, making an industry shift mid-career can be stressful and overwhelming. Therefore it’s important to know all your options before choosing which industry to work in.

According to our analysis of job postings data, there are six industries that are hiring a large number of clinical research professionals in the Greater Boston Area, including:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: Academic institutions often conduct cutting-edge research, such as observational studies and clinical trials.
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: Healthcare institutions require clinical research expertise to drive advancements in patient care and treatment.
  • Employment Placement Agencies: Recruitment agencies connect clinical research professionals with job opportunities in various sectors.
  • Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences: R&D departments in life science industries, such as pharmaceutics, actively seek clinical research talent to lead product development teams.
  • Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners: Specialized healthcare practices often engage in clinical research activities to better understand public health trends and needs.
  • Research and Development in Biotechnology: R&D teams in biotech are often responsible for groundbreaking studies in medical technology.

Top industries hiring clinical research professionals
Top Companies Hiring

Once you know what industry you hope to work in, conducting some research on companies in that sector can ensure you feel fulfilled at work. According to our analysis of job postings data, the top companies hiring clinical research professionals in Boston include:

  • Mass General Brigham
  • Harvard University
  • Boston University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Top companies hiring clinical research professionals
Take the Next Step Toward a Clinical Research Career

Although the robust ecosystem of biotech companies, healthcare institutions, and research organizations makes the Greater Boston area an ideal place to grow your clinical research career, the competitive landscape also means it’s important to distinguish yourself in the job market.

An undergraduate degree in a relevant field is the minimum requirement for most entry-level jobs. However, aspiring professionals also have the option to pursue certificate programs or even a master’s degree to build specific skill sets in clinical research.

While this additional education might seem like an unnecessary additive, according to our analysis of job postings data, most employers expect entry-level researchers to have a developed skill set. In fact, approximately 29 percent require a master’s degree, rather than a bachelors, along with past industry experience.

To ensure you don’t get left behind in this thriving field, consider earning an MS in Regulatory and Clinical Research Management (RCRM) at Regis College. Through the specialized curriculum, exciting internship opportunities, and job placement resources for post-graduation, Regis can fully prepare you to take on any leadership role in clinical research.

To learn more about Regis’s graduate degree, contact an admission counselor to discover how the program can jumpstart your career.

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