How to Use ClinicalTrials.gov as a Job Hunting Resource

ClinicalTrials.gov_BTCR

I recently received a question on a blog post (thanks, Tay!) which prompted me to write this Quick Tip post!  Feel free to check out the comment section of the post for the full context, but in brief: I was asked to provide advice on applying to entry level positions as a CTA, CRC and Clinical Research Assistant.

Get Creative with Your Resources!

Yes, we all know how to use the various job boards, but another resource would be to go to the source of clinical trials! 

The FDA Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA) requires that the “Responsible Party” for certain clinical trials register with, and submit the results information of some trials to, the ClinicalTrials.gov databank (www.ClinicalTrials.gov).

So~ if ClinicalTrials.gov serves as a directory of all clinical trials, then I would also see it as a source of jobs in clinical trials!  

The website is a valuable resource for locating and understanding clinical trials, but here I'll focus on how it can also serve as a resource for your job hunt.

Reason's why it's a great job hunting resource:

  1. If they're recruiting subjects for a trial, chances are they're also recruiting help!
  2. Ability to search for clinical trials per a specific field/indication. 
  3. Ability to filter search results by location.
  4. Great resource for discovering new institutions conducting clinical trials.

Let me demo what I'm talking about...

Senario:  Let's say you are currently a bench researcher in an immunotherapy oncology lab and want to transition into a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) role in the same indication.  

Step 1: Perform a Search on ClinicalTrials.gov

Start by searching for keywords in your location: "immunotherapy oncology san francisco"; like in the screenshot below.  This will generate a list of all the clinical trials listed with the keywords in a specific location.  

ClinTrials.gov_Fig1_BTCR

Step 2: Filter Search Results by Active Trials

Use the "open studies" filter in the red box below to only display studies which are still actively enrolling subjects.  This may help to narrow your search since chances are if they’re still recruiting patients, they’re also recruiting help!  Browse the list and select trials that pique your interests.

ClinTrials.gov_Fig2_BTCR

Step 3: Select a Trial and View Locations

Once you've clicked into a trial, click the "Contacts and Locations" link to view the clinical sites (Not sure what a clinical site is? Check out the blog post.) running the study.  

ClinTrials.gov_Fig3_BTCR

Step 4: Identify Clinical Sites Conducting the Trial

The "Locations" section is your pot of gold!  It will list all of the clinical sites that are conducting the specific trial.  

ClinTrials.gov_Fig4_BTCR

The example above shows several clinical sites conducting the trial, organized by states.  Refer to the two sites in California - Stanford and UCSF.  Each site will be listed with the status on the right, indicated by the red arrows above.  "Recruiting" refers to sites which have the trial open and are actively recruiting patients.  Sites where the trial is not active may have statuses such as - Active, not recruiting, Completed, Terminated and Suspended.  

I would use the Locations section as a resource for learning of the various clinical sites which are conducting trials.  So I wouldn't focus too much on the status of the clinical sites, since even if they're listed with a non-active status for one trial, chances are they are a clinical site with many other active trials. 

You'll also notice that a contact person is listed for each location, which is a required field for the responsible party listing the trials.  I wouldn't recommend contacting this person since they will probably serve as more of a resource for patient education (intended for participants of the trial) and probably wouldn't have employment information.

Instead, I'd use this step for the purpose of creating a list and moving to the following step.  Try making a list of at least five clinical sites within your area.  

Step 5: Visit the Careers Page of each Clinical Site

Now that you've made a list of clinical sites, visit the careers page of each to find CRC roles! 

Continuing with the example above, let's visit the careers page for UCSF, even though they were listed with a "Suspended" status for the particular trial.

ClinTrials.gov_Fig5_BTCR

 

Remember, not every clinical site will use the exact title of "clinical research coordinator". So rather than searching in the "Job Title" field, search by "Keyword" to broaden your results. You'll be able to get a sense of their nomenclature after reading through a couple job postings. 

Some examples of clinical research coordinator titles: 

  1. Study Coordinator
  2. Clinical Study Coordinator
  3. Clinical Research Coordinator Associate
  4. Research Coordinator  
  5. Clinical Research Specialist 
  6. Nurse Coordinator (for those with a nursing degree) 
  7. Clinical Trial Coordinator  
  8. Clinical Trial Specialist

Give these a shot!

Step 6: Apply!

ClinTrials.gov_Fig6_BTCR

The example above shows all the open positions at UCSF using the keyword "clinical research coordinator" - there's 99 search results!  


Creativity is intelligence having fun.
— Albert Einstein

In this example we turned a resource for clinical trials into a job hunting resource!  Hope you found this helpful and use it to your advantage.  Remember, it's about working smarter, not harder!

If you do end up using this tip, I would love to hear about it!  Let's get some comments going!

Cheers~ 

Jenny