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MPH a Path to Research Coordinator?

mconnect26

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I have a BS in cognitive science and have experience working as a research assistants/coordinators, in the past. I'm feeling stuck in my career though. I would like to go back to school to get a higher-degree but don't feel that a PhD is the best fit for me. Would like to stay in research and am interested in healthcare so am considering pursuing a MPH degree. Would this be a good path to take to be more competitive for clinical research coordinator positions in the fields of clinical psychology/neuroscience/psychiatry? Or would I be better off going a different route?
 
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futureapppsy2

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I have a BS in cognitive science and have experience working as a research assistants/coordinators, in the past. I'm feeling stuck in my career though. I would like to go back to school to get a higher-degree but don't feel that a PhD is the best fit for me. Would like to stay in research and am interested in healthcare so am considering pursuing a MPH degree. Would this be a good path to take to be more competitive for clinical research coordinator positions in the fields of clinical psychology/neuroscience/psychiatry? Or would I be better off going a different route?
Why don't you think a PhD is a good fit?
 
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mconnect26

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Thanks @futureapppsy2 that's a good question, and one I need to examine further, as I'm not sure a) if my intuition is right that a PhD is not a good path for me, or b) if it's just fear holding me back.

I have worked in several research labs under PhDs and I haven't felt that I want their job. I've gotten the impression that the higher-up you go in the lab, the more removed you often are from getting to work directly with the people you're studying, but instead spend the bulk of your time writing grants, attending meetings, potentially teaching, mentoring others, or feeling pressure to publish. I like the combination of working directly with people and doing data analysis, but don't necessarily want to be the lead on projects and don't want the responsibility of having to fund a lab I run. I feel like I'm overqualified for many of the RA jobs, but that there's not much space for someone in the middle who wants to continue doing research at a higher-level without necessarily getting a PhD. That's why I'm considering the research coordinator route. Would value your opinions!
 
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mckenn75

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Do the CRC jobs you're interested in require more than a Bachelor's? I can only speak for my own experience, but I have a B.S. in psychology (graduating with MHA next spring) and was hired as a clinical research coordinator in psychiatry with about 9 month previous experience as a research assistant. I'm still working in clinical research, but have moved up and out from that role. In reviewing and interviewing for my replacement, individuals with Ph.D.s did apply, but were often considered over-qualified. At my institution, PhDs are more often in the lab/working behind the scenes (basically everything you mentioned in your 2nd post) while the scope of the CRC role is more focused on regulatory compliance, consenting patients, and following them for study participation (level of involvement varies by study).

If you feel like you're being overlooked for CRC positions it may just be there are people applying who have more specific experiences (protocol development, consenting/doing assessments with patients, study start up, etc)? You may already do that as an RA, but I'm not sure. My first PI had me do some of those tasks as an RA because (I found out later) she was hoping to hire me as a CRC. I moved to another state post-undergrad, but it was much appreciated work experience.

TL;DR: If you'd like to be a CRC then (to my knowledge) there are many positions that only require a Bachelor's. If you already think you're not interested in conducting your own research, going through a PhD program may not be a worthwhile investment. MPH could be helpful, but probably more for epidemiology vs your previous mention of psych/neuroscience. You could also look into a masters in clinical research and see if you think that would be helpful?

Source since this is literally my first post: 9 months RA in Neurology, 2 years CRC in Psychiatry/Psychology at major medical institution, 2 years research program coordinator in Neurosurgery/Pain Med at same institution with just my B.S. :)
 
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mconnect26

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Do the CRC jobs you're interested in require more than a Bachelor's? I can only speak for my own experience, but I have a B.S. in psychology (graduating with MHA next spring) and was hired as a clinical research coordinator in psychiatry with about 9 month previous experience as a research assistant. I'm still working in clinical research, but have moved up and out from that role. In reviewing and interviewing for my replacement, individuals with Ph.D.s did apply, but were often considered over-qualified. At my institution, PhDs are more often in the lab/working behind the scenes (basically everything you mentioned in your 2nd post) while the scope of the CRC role is more focused on regulatory compliance, consenting patients, and following them for study participation (level of involvement varies by study).

If you feel like you're being overlooked for CRC positions it may just be there are people applying who have more specific experiences (protocol development, consenting/doing assessments with patients, study start up, etc)? You may already do that as an RA, but I'm not sure. My first PI had me do some of those tasks as an RA because (I found out later) she was hoping to hire me as a CRC. I moved to another state post-undergrad, but it was much appreciated work experience.

TL;DR: If you'd like to be a CRC then (to my knowledge) there are many positions that only require a Bachelor's. If you already think you're not interested in conducting your own research, going through a PhD program may not be a worthwhile investment. MPH could be helpful, but probably more for epidemiology vs your previous mention of psych/neuroscience. You could also look into a masters in clinical research and see if you think that would be helpful?

Source since this is literally my first post: 9 months RA in Neurology, 2 years CRC in Psychiatry/Psychology at major medical institution, 2 years research program coordinator in Neurosurgery/Pain Med at same institution with just my B.S. :)
Thank you so much for your response @mckenn75 ! You have worked in a lot of areas I'm interested in (psychiatry, psychology, neuro, pain). If you don't mind me asking, what are your career ambitions, and what is your current position?
 
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zona2016

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Just need a Bachelors and some or any clinical research experience. Try looking in academic medical centers and not just in psych departments. In my case, there are some psych CRC position within the cancer center i work with because they have their own division.
 
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melaortiz23

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Just need a Bachelors and some or any clinical research experience. Try looking in academic medical centers and not just in psych departments. In my case, there are some psych CRC position within the cancer center i work with because they have their own division.
Hi, what do you do in the cancer center? How did you get it?
 
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