Could a clinical trial administrator (CTA) be the role for you?

October 15, 2021
By Marie-Therese Bultmann

Are you thinking of starting a career in clinical trials? Is the pharmaceutical industry something that piques your interest? If so, then you have landed in the right place.

This blog post will cover the role of a clinical trial administrator (CTA), which is a great start to a career in the pharmaceutical industry. It will also talk about the duties this job has, as well as provide information about salary and job progression.


  1. What is a clinical trial administrator?
  2. What does a clinical trial administrator do and why is it important?
  3. What salary can I expect as a clinical trial administrator?
  4. What is the job market like for this role?
  5. How can I become a clinical trial administrator?
  6. Conclusion

1. What is a clinical trial administrator?

If you have been considering the role of a CTA, it is important to know that you would be playing an essential role in the clinical trial process. As of September 16 2021, there are a total of 389,920 clinical studies registered globally. With the emergence of new diseases and viruses such as COVID-19, research and research professionals have never been more crucial.

As a CTA, you would mainly work on the administrative aspects of clinical trials,  at every stage of the clinical trials process. Your many responsibilities would include working with protocols (study plans), as well as preparing, distributing, tracking and filing clinical trial documents.

You would also have to manage notifications of suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions (which is when a harmful and undesired reaction happens in a clinical trial). Often, you would be hired by contract research organisations (a company that helps to manage clinical trials).

2. What does a clinical trial administrator do and why is it important?

CTAs are extremely important because medical treatment can save, and dramatically improve the quality of, people’s lives.

As a CTA you will:

  • work in offices and use computers to complete tasks
  • require computer skills
  • perform medical duties, such as taking blood or performing lab tests
  • prepare essential clinical trial documents
  • maintain the electronic trial master file
  • attend study meetings
  • arrange investigator meetings
  • track and process payments
  • ensure patient documents are translated
  • manage trial supplies
  • arrange team meetings and take minutes
  • archive documents
  • act as the first point of contact for patients, practice staff and other study staff
  • often work in large clinical trials teams, although you may also work with staff at investigator sites (which are the hospitals that carry out the trials)

3. What salary can I expect as A clinical trial administrator?

In general, the pharmaceutical industry pays well. CTA salaries range from £22,000 to £40,000 per year, depending on experience. The national average salary for clinical trial administrators is £31,225 per year in the United Kingdom.

Graduates can often demand higher salaries, and salaries vary from company to company. Additional benefits, such as a car allowance, bonus and pension, are sometimes offered.

4. What is the job market like for this role?

Working in clinical trials is a hugely rewarding, challenging and fascinating career.

There is great variety in this field and there are many opportunities for you to develop and progress in your career.

The demand for clinical research professionals exceeds the supply, and that is a trend that is likely to continue for years. Many CTAs progress to become senior CTAs or clinical research associates.

5. how can i become a clinical trial administrator?

In order to become a CTA, five GCSEs at grades A–C are required, and science A levels are also preferred. Many CTAs have a natural science degree, such as biology or chemistry, or a health science degree, such as pharmacy or nursing; however, this is not always required.

A route that is often taken is first becoming a clinical trials administrator assistant (CTAA) before moving into a CTA role. CTAAs support CTAs, performing tasks such as scanning, filing and laminating. A candidate for a CTA position will ideally have experience working in the pharmaceutical industry or in clinical research. This is often not required if you have previously worked as a CTAA.

The skills that are required to be a CTA include project management, attention to detail, organisation, computer literacy, team working, the ability to multi-task and good interpersonal skills.

6. conclusion

A clinical trial administrator plays a vital role in clinical trials, and carries a lot of responsibility. If you are a person who is very well organised and can manage your time well, this may be a career path for you.

Clinical research is changing lives every day and the industry has many in-demand roles just waiting for someone with relevant skills and experience. That person could be you.

If you want to take the first step to your progressive career as a clinical trial administrator, book a place on our next course now.

Eager to start your journey but still have questions? Then book a free chat with our friendly team and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH OUR courses and news

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong while submitting the form.